How to build a swing set

Children love to swing and swinging can keep them occupied for hours on those long summer days. Metal swing sets can rust and fall apart after one or two summers of use. However, a well built wooden swing set can last for years and complement your landscaping as well. They are also heavier and less likely to tip when larger children swing high into the air. This increases the years of use your children play on a swing set. How do you build a swing set?

Cut your 12-foot 1x6 treated lumber into half making two 6-foot pieces. These will provide stability between the upright legs of your swing set.

Drill eight holes in your main beam this is the 12-foot 4x4. These are where you will put the eyebolts to attach the swings. From each end, the first bolt should be about 17-inches in from the end. Each remaining bolt should be about 17-inches apart.

Drill two holes in each upright and in the side of the main beam where you will use the steal braces to attach the main beam to the upright leg. Use a permanent marker to indicate where you need to drill the holes by laying the steel braces on the wood.

Install the eight six-inch eyebolts into the main beam. The eye should be on the bottom to hang the swings. Put a washer on before you put the nut on to prevent the bolt from working its way through the beam. Tighten the nuts. It is easier to install these on the ground then it is up in the air.

Lay your upright legs, two 10-foot, 4x4s on the ground at approximately a 45-degree angle. Lay the steel trapezoid shaped brackets on the leg ends and adjust the angle so the bracket doesn't overhang. Use your 3-inch nails to attach the bracket to the upright legs. Flip the legs over and attach another bracket to the other side. Lay your six-foot 1x6 across the legs where it fits without much overhang. Use your 3-inch nails to attach the board to each leg. Repeat these steps for the other set of legs.

Bolt a steel brace to the main beam using two 6-inch bolts in the holes you drilled earlier. Secure the bolts with a washer and a nut. Repeat this step on the other end of the main beam. Flip the main beam over and repeat these steps to attach steel braces to the other side on both ends.

Bolt the other end of the steel brace to the legs that you attached together earlier. Use two six-inch bolts secured by washers and nuts. Repeat on both sides and both ends.

Tip the swing set upright onto the legs. Attach the "S" hook to the eye of the eight eyebolts you installed earlier. Hang your swings from the "S" hooks. Use your pliers to tighten the "S" hooks so the swings cannot unhook. Start swinging and have fun.


To weigh down your swing set so the legs don't jump off from the ground when someone swings high, bolt old tires to the ends. Several tires bolted together create a fun climbing place. Use a baby swing, rings, or trapeze bar instead of one of the swings if you want variety. Add on to your swing set as needed.


Remember to cut drainage holes in the bottoms of the tires, if you use them, so they don't create a mosquito breeding ground.

Things You'll Need

  • Four 10-foot 4x4s Treated lumber
  • One 12-foot 4x4 treated lumber
  • One 12-foot 1x6 treated lumber
  • Sixteen 6-inch bolts with nuts
  • Eight 6-inch eyebolts with nuts
  • Eight steel "S" hooks
  • Four trapezoid steel
  • Four steel braces
  • Four swings with chains attached
  • Drill
  • Socket that fits your bolts
  • Ratchet for your socket
  • Pliers
  • Forty-eight 3-inch nails
  • Hammer
  • Extra person
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About the Author

Julia Fuller began her professional writing career eight years ago covering special-needs adoption. She holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from Marywood College, is co-owner of GJF Rental Properties as well as a livestock and grain crop farm. She worked for the United States Postal Service and a national income tax service.