DIY Toddler Swing From Recycled Materials


I have an almost-2-year-old who LOVES to swing.  I have often thought of  how nice it would be to have a swing  for him in our yard but I’ve just never gotten around to getting one for him. Then I saw this post on Pinterest:

Click the picture to go to their great tutorial.

Click the picture to go to their great tutorial for this totally recycled swing.

And, just a day or two later I saw this commercially made swing that costs over $100:

Click the picture to go to the manufacturer's site.

Click the picture to go to the manufacturer’s site.

These two swings morphed inside my brain. I uttered the words that daily test my husband’s patience.   “I could make that!” I went rummaging for supplies. I knew I had an old pair of jeans with a poorly located tear that I’d been saving for just such a moment as this. I remembered the wooden ladder  in the garage.  Those rungs would be perfect! I could get a bit of rope at Dollar General for less than $3. I was off and running. Below is everything I learned. Be sure to read all the way through to the end BEFORE you start the actual construction process for yourself.  This is VERY IMPORTANT!

Step one:

Find an old wooden ladder.  If you have a saw, cut 4 rungs out of it.  If you don’t have a saw use the claw end of a hammer, a screw driver, a power drill and the heel of your shoe to break 4 rungs out.  Or just go buy a saw.  The other way can be difficult.  Not that I did it that way.  I’m just guessing.  *ahem* GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Step two:

Drill 2 holes in each rung.  Make sure that they line up to the width and length that you want them or else you’ll end up with 2 sticks that have extra holes in them.  Not that I did that either.  I’m just sayin’…. GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Step three:

Cut the legs off your old jeans.


Thread the front and back dowels through the belt loops of the jeans. GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Step five:

Lay your side dowels on top of the front and back dowels and thread your rope over, under, round and round the FRONT BAR ONLY.

Pay no attention to the extra hole.  Just... you know... measure twice, drill once.

Pay no attention to the extra hole. Just… you know… measure twice, drill once.

Fling your rope over a tree branch and repeat step five with the back holes of your dowels and VOILA!  You have a new swing for your little toddler that cost less than $3 and kept an old ladder and a pair of jeans out of the landfill.


Put the baby in and watch him fall in love with the new toy you hand-crafted with love. GE DIGITAL CAMERA Uhm. Wait. Aw, crap. He doesn’t look very happy at all.  Although, honestly, at this point I was laughing so hard I thought I might wet myself.  I can’t even imagine what my neighbors must have been thinking! OK… that didn’t work out. Back up.

Step seven:

Find smaller pants.

Step eight:

Take your swing down and repeat steps 4-6.  With the smaller pants I found I had to cut slits to fit the dowels through because the loops weren’t big enough.  Be strategic about this to be sure the remaining fabric/seams are strong enough to support your little one’s weight.


Chase your now VERY reluctant child through the yard, catch him and jam him, totally unwilling, into the new toy you have lovingly hand-crafted for him. Twice.

Step ten:

Wait for a moment until he realizes that things have improved. GE DIGITAL CAMERA GE DIGITAL CAMERA GE DIGITAL CAMERA Much better!  I wondered if sitting on the seam of the jeans would be uncomfortable for him but he didn’t seem to mind at all.  He wanted to swing for a very long time.  I did trim the rope and straighten it out after the trial run.  The pictures from “step eight” are actually the finished product. Enjoy!

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33 responses »

  1. Even though I will not be building my own toddler swing – this made me chuckle and smile! I love that your husband is serenading in the yard in the background of one of the pictures! Love your writing Liz! 🙂

  2. Too funny with the bigger jeans. This is a cute idea. My sister Linda made a horse out of an old tire that the kids can swing in and we use a plain old tire on the walnut tree that the kids swing in every year. They have hours of fun and all it cost us was a rope that Papa had hanging around.

      • Now you sound like Hungarian Work Horse. We plant trees every year and now I hate mowing the lawn and told him I want to get a goat!

      • Haha! I would love to have a little goat! She could feast on the dandelions and clover that have completely over-run any grass that was ever there. I always wonder what my neighbors with perfect yards think about me. I bake them cookies a few times a year so they won’t throw me off the block. 🙂

    • Thanks! This is pretty much the norm for how my DIY projects go. Well… no… this actually came out ok in the end so it was more successful than the norm. We have fun trying, though!

      • Ha! Good for you. I’m so not a “project person.” I make my husband do those sorts of things. So, I’m impressed that you always take the bull by the horns, so to speak.

  3. Okay, we all know that you ended up with an awesome product, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE put that first big photo up on pinterest fail or something like that. It is TOO FUNNY to not be a standalone picture or meme. I almost peed when I got to that part, because yeah, I’d have some too big-britches, too.

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  6. I found this over at OMG I can’t remember when I’ve laughed this hard. Tears streaming down my face. My kids keep asking me why I’m crying & I show them the picture & they don’t quite get it (why are his pants so big?)

    • If I had the video of his frightened little voice saying, “Stuck! All done! All done! I stuck!” you would have laughed even harder. My neighbors must have thought I was drunk! LOL. I’m glad I gave you a smile! 🙂

  7. Oh my goodness!!! This was hilarious!!! Absolutely *love* the picture in the bigger pants! Glad you got it right for him in the end (no pun intended)!

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