Imagine your cute, clean child skipping in from the yard after playing in the tire swing with the "Leave it to Beaver" song playing in the background. You can get that fantasy, but only after a few things are considered. Otherwise, that image will produce black-stained clothing and black-smudged hands and face from the tire. Cuts and scrapes on knees and elbows could result from tire wires. A tire swing could be dangerous without proper planning. But you can make a safe one, even without a tree.
Choose where to hang the tire. If you don't have a tree, swing sets make effective tire-swing bars. If you don't have a swing set available, these are often advertised for purchase second-hand from the newspaper or at garage sales. New swing sets are also available at stores. Just remove a couple of the swings and use that bar area for the tire swing. Purchasing the swing set is still less expensive and less time-consuming than buying a tree and waiting years for it to grow large enough for a tire swing.
Set the swing set in a place large enough for the tire to swing safely without the hitting any fences or bushes that may harm your child. Make sure the swing set is in an area that you can watch easily from your house, such as a kitchen window or a back porch.
Set the swing set into the ground, following the manufacturer's instructions so that it doesn't rock back and forth.
Measure from top of the swing set to the area where you feel you want the rope swing to hang. Add 10 feet to that distance to make sure that you have enough rope to tie appropriate knots. You can always cut some of the rope off or add a few extra knots for climbing if you feel the rope is too long. But getting a rope too short makes for unsafe knots.
Find the correct tire for your swing. Search the tire to make sure no wires are sticking out, if the tire is a more modern radial model. If the tire is an old model, one that wouldn't have wires, that would be a better option.
Take the tire to a car wash and power wash it to remove as much grime, dirt and grease as you can. Spraying a powerful degreaser for tires, along with the car wash power wash, is recommended.
Rinse the tire well, inside and out. Try to get as much of the black residue off as you can. Dry it off with an old towel, to remove some more of the black.
Drill a few drainage holes in the bottom of the tire to prevent water build-up from rains.
Choose a large, fat rope with a wide diameter. A rope this size will be more durable and safer. Purchase the amount of rope to match the measurements you collected previously.
Slide the rope through the rubber hose strip, placing the robber hose strip at the top of the swing set bar, to protect the rope from grinding against the bar when the tire swing is in action.
Loop the rope through itself and tie a tight, common double square knot at the base of the rubber hose at the bottom of the swing set rod. Make sure this knot is extremely tight.
Loop the rope through the top of the tire and tie a tight, common double square knot on top of the tire. Be sure that this knot is tight.
Test the tire swing rope by swinging on it yourself. If it supports you, then it is ready to go.
If you don't like the idea of using a real rubber tire, due to the mess, you can also purchase a rotomolded plastic tire swing from a playground supply store or online. These have the look of a real tire swing and are lighter in weight. However, keeping the tire clean does do the trick, as well as help recycle a used tire. Pony-shaped tire swings can be purchased online or at some handcrafted toys stores. They have already cleaned and treated the tire swings, attached chains and the pony tire swings come ready to attach to the swing set.