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Modern Ranch Reno: DIY Outdoor Swing

This DIY Outdoor Swing is easy to make and adds so much fun and personality to a space! We made 3 rope swings to create an outdoor swing set under our covered patio. I love the whimsical feel of a DIY outdoor swing!

This post is sponsored by National Hardware. All opinions and product selections are my own.

My little boy has been begging for an outdoor swing ever since we moved into our new house. At our old house we had a swing set and at our new house we had the idea of doing a rope swing set underneath our covered patio.  We wanted to do them under the patio so we could use them in the summer when it get’s really hot in Arizona. We ended up doing an Outdoor Swing set on the covered patio and these were very easy to build and inexpensive to build!

DIY Rope Swing Supplies

  • 2″x8″ Douglas fir studs – cut to 3o” long
  • Random orbital sander with 80 grit sand paper
  • 2- Swing Hook Kit
  • 8- 1/2 Wire Cable Clamps
  • Wood Stain
  • Staining and wiping cloths
  • 20′ of 1/2″ braided rope…we got ours here, we chose light grey.
  • Spray Paint
  • Impact Driver with 3/4″ deep impact socket, or a 3/8″ socket wrench with 3/4″ deep socket.
  • Drill with 5/32″ drill bit for pilot hole and 3/8″ drill bit for main hole.
  • Thread locker
  • Scissors
  • Clear packing tape

Swing Hook Set

How to make an outdoor swing

We used this amazing Swing Hook Kit from National Hardware. This outdoor swing kit is what inspired us to do swings in the first place because it made it so easy.

Outdoor Swings Hardware

As opposed to just tying knots and hoping for the best, these 1/2 Wire Cable Clamps  which are typically used for metal wire cable, offered a more secure, long lasting and decorative option to secure our rope.

Grey Rope Swing

Since it was so inexpensive, we ordered 100′ of rope in case we made any mistakes we would have plenty left over when we made the outdoor swing. There were tons of color options; we decided on light grey.

Outdoor Swing Set Hardware

Swing Hardware

The kids were so excited about the swings, we put them to work helping to take the stickers off of the hardware to prep them for paint.

Swing Hardware Parts

After all disassembling all the hardware, we laid them out on a piece of cardboard to paint them on.

Style tip: Paint your hardware
Gold Swing Hardware

This part required some patience. After spraying one side of the hardware, we had to wait long enough to let the paint dry in order to flip over al the hardware to paint the other side. If they don’t dry enough before flipping them over, the paint can stick to the cardboard and will ruin an otherwise beautiful paint job!

Outdoor Swing Seat

After a little thought of how we wanted the outdoor swing to look, and using a speed square to make accurate marks, we laid out our hole locations for the hardware. We decided we wanted our clamp to start 1″ from the end of each side of the seat and be 1-1/2″ from the front and back sides of the seat on the rope swing.

Swing Hardware

After we made the first hole mark we lined up the Cable Clamp to mark the other hole.

Drilling holes for swings

Using our drill and a 5/32″ drill bit we drilled a pilot hole at each mark.

Drill a pilot hole

Then using 3/8″ drill bit we drilled the holes.

Drill wood

Sanding Wood

After the holes were drilled, we sanded the boards with 80 grit sandpaper and prepared them for staining. We paid special attention to any knots or splinters in the wood being careful to remove and or sand them extra smooth to avoid any splinters when sitting on the swings.

Stained wood swings

Staining wood seat for the outdoor swing

We choose the Dark Walnut Stain. I used a staining pad to stain the seats them wiped them with a cloth.

Outdoor Space

We followed the directions on the outdoor swing hook kit, paying close attention to the pilot hole sizes required, then installed the outdoor swing hook kits. We found a metal rod was helpful for leverage when threading the outdoor swing hook kits into the pilot holes we drilled in the beam. We decided to space our swings 12″ apart and have a 28″ spacing between the hooks of each rope swing seat. This may vary based on the space available and size of seat you want to use.

Measure and Cut the rope

Measure Rope Swing

After the stain and hardware was dry, we cut the rope into 10 foot sections to give us enough extra rope to adjust them up and down as we decided what height we wanted the seats to be off of the ground. When cutting the rope, tape the area to be cut with a few wraps of tape to keep the rope from unraveling after it is cut.

TIP: When making the cut, be sure to cut down the center of the taped area to keep both ends of the rope in tact after the cut.

Attaching the outdoor swing hardware

We put the cable clamp inside the holes and slid the rope through the cable clamps. We pulled the rope  through the clamps until we had  14″ hanging through the end of the clamp. I will explain why in a bit.

DIY Outdoor Swing Set

DIY swing supplies

We then used a rubber mallet to gently tap the clamps down onto the rope and through the seat.

Easy outdoor swing

Once the clamps were through the seat, we added 3/8″ flat washers and some thread locker, and tightened the bolts down to the seat. It helps to tighten each bolt of the clamp a little at a time, alternating between the two bolts to make the clamp compress evenly as it is pulled through the holes and down onto the rope. The thread locker is used to prevent the bolts from loosening during use of the swing.

Outdoor Swing Hardware

This is where the 14″ excess through the clamp is utilized. On the longer side of the rope that is ran through the clamps of the seat, we placed another  clamp 10″ from the end of the clamp on the seat. We then took the 14″ long piece at the other end of the seat clamps, folded the end over onto itself, and added the other end of the clamp.

Rope Swing Hardware

We then added more thread locker and tightened the clamp. Again, it is best to tighten each bolt of the clamp a little at a time, alternating between the two bolts to make the clamp compress evenly onto the rope.

DIY Swing

Make sure to get the bolts nice and tight to keep the rope in place and secure.

DIY Rope Swings

DIY Rope Swing

We fed the rope through the eye of the assembled rope swing hook kit and adjusted each side of the rope to the height we wanted the seat to be and to where the seat was level to the ground. We mounted ours at 24″ off of the ground. This may vary depending on who is using the rope swing and how tall the outdoor swing needs to be for them to be able to get on the swing but still be able to swing without hitting their legs or feet on the ground. With the exception of the 10″ and 14″ lengths, we clamped the rope through the swing hook kit using the same method as in the previous step. The 10″ and 14″ measurements from the seat were only used to create the triangle with the rope where it attaches to the seat, as well where it clamps together to create a stable and secure connection. We then twisted and tied the excess rope to the clamp. This is not a requirement, we just liked the way it looked. Once the rope is clamped, you can cut off the excess if desired. Keep in mind that leaving a few inches extra will allow you to loosen the clamp and adjust the seat height if needed.

Rope Swing

I love the way that the gold hardware pops off of the dark wood stain and how the light grey of the rope compliments both the dark wood and rich gold color.

DIY Swing

Swing Set

I am obsessed with the way that the outdoor swing set turned out and how it transformed this otherwise useless area of our patio into a shaded escape for my kids and family during the blistering summer months here in AZ!

Outdoor Swings


DIY Outdoor Swings

My little boy, Ryder loves it too!!

DIY Outdoor Swings and Cheap wall decor

I will later be sharing how I used some greenery and wooden hoops to make this piece of art that hangs near the swings so check out the blog later for this easy and big impact decor.

For more outdoor projects, check out:


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