dad parent and child on computer tablet internet

Home DIY: make your own swing

We’re nearing the summer Equinox here in the UK, and as it suddenly, unexpectedly dawns on me (annually) that the days are about to start getting shorter again, I keep protesting to myself that I really must to something to ensure that I appreciate the lighter evenings while they’re still around. Something that even if it can’t get me away from a screen, then at least it would get me outside with a screen.

There’s not a huge amount of point in me buying some outdoor furniture, even if a lot of it is now stunning in design, and getting better at being built to last past one summer – I live in a ground floor flat and so I’m not entirely convinced that the furniture would still be there past the first sunny weekend that I’m away!

But at the same time, it would be nice to have somewhere to sit outside, with the laptop, or a book, to while away those warm evening, gin and tonic in hand.

My first thought was one of those giant bean bags; easy to move inside and out, comfy, and looks inviting enough for a snooze too. But then I’d need space inside to keep it on the wet days, and during the winter. So it’s a no to that one.

I then realised that the flat above me does have an overhanging balcony. Aside from drying a duvet on occasion, it does look like it was purpose built to provide me with a hammock or swing hanging spot. As we all know, hammocks are wonderful things once you’re in, have everything you need for the duration, and don’t intend to share it with anyone or move. At all.

So next up in the thought process was a swing seat, and rather than nipping down to my nearest garden centre, I remembered an idea that I’d seen popping around someone’s Pinterest page recently:

Create your own swing from a repurposed chair

  1. Search high and low for an unused chair. Mostly low I guess. Check the second-hand furniture stores, the jumble sales, and freecycle. You’re looking for a chair that looks strong enough to take your weight, plus that of a large glass of your favourite beverage. Splintering is bad, as is woodworm. Loose spindles can be fixed with some magic glue.
  2. Rope. I’d advise you go with a new purchase for this bit. This is the important bit that protects you against that persistent of rules – gravity. You can purchase rope from a chandlery, a DIY store, or most garden centres. You’re looking for rope that will take at least half your weight (it will be doubled up), but if it can take all of your weight, then this will also protect you against that moment when you drunkenly jump onto the swing and wonder why you’re suddenly sat on the floor with a headache before you’ve even stopped the consumption phase.
  3. Bits of wood. That’s a technical term. In reality, we mean 2 bits of wood that are wider than you and the chair, and strong enough to support you. We’re going to fix these to the bottom of the seat of the chair, in order to get the ropes tied onto those instead of the chair – this should give a greater distance between the ropes so you won’t feel hemmed in on all sides.
  4. Fix the 2 bits of wood to the underside of the chair, running from one side to the other, and positioned with one length of wood at the front  of the seat, and one length of wood at the back of the seat.
  5. Tie a piece of rope that is about as long as your are from the front piece of wood to the back piece of wood… On one side. Repeat for the other side.
  6. Now tie a piece of rope from the middle of one of the side ropes, up to your mounting point above. Repeat on the other side.
  7. Put ice in glass, add a slice of fresh lime. Add gin, leaving a small space for tonic. Repeat until the sun goes down