The Perfect Swing
Growing up I remember vividly this little picture of a girl propelled into the sky, head thrown back, smile spread over her face, legs stretched out in front of her, hands gripping the rope of a swing, cotton candy clouds sounding her and a grand castle in the distance. My mother had it hanging it in her room, it was a gift from her beloved grandmother and when she was a child and looked up into the blues and green of the Maxfield Parish print her grandmother would recite this poem;
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside—
Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown—
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!
This little ritual was passed on to my mom along with the print titled Dinky Bird and as I would lie on her bed gazing at the sheer joy and magic of this framed heirloom my mother would recite the poem from memory.
These moments molded me, shaping my belief in the magic of The Swing.
I strongly believe in swings and the memories that are made on them; the first day of spring- a girl in a cotton dress soaring to the clouds, a cool autumn night- bare feet and hot tea, wrapped in a blanket leaning against the rope while you sway; a warm summer night- fireflies sprinkle the grass with stars as you sail through the evening cooling off. The Swing is joy, it’s freedom, it’s childhood and lets face it, it’s simply adorable.
So it will come as no surprise to you that as soon as I saw the yard of our little vintage home, all I could think about was a bright red swing. It would hang, entreating to be sat on, hovering above the ground in a yard decorated with flowers lovingly buoyed by a tree over a hundred years old. I mean this tree practically begged to be swung from with its perfect branches and heaps of shade. My mind was made up: I must make a swing.
This is a simple and fun craft project that would be perfect to do with kids! They can help pick the color, paint the swing, learn the knots and most importantly be the first to test it out! But even without children around this project is perfect for a summer Saturday and will surely bring out the kid in everyone.
You will need
- A plank of sturdy hardwood
I bought a pre-cut plank of cedar ¾ inch by 2 inches by 7 inches. Cedar is one of the hardest woods so The Swing would stand the test of time.
- Exterior wood paint or a stain of your choosing
- Rope- you will need twice the swing’s height plus four yard (I used ¾ inch natural fiber manila rope.
- A drill and a ¾ inch spade drill bit
- Select a tree, it should have live growth and be at least ten years old.
o Pick a branch that is growing parallel to the ground and is more than 12 inches around. If you don’t have a branch that will work you could secure a plank of wood in between a crook of two branches to tie the rope to.
o Please weight test all knots before allowing swing to be used. Material quality and the strength of the tree will determine stability so please use caution.
- · Drill a hole on each side of the swing centered and about 1 inch from the edge
- · Sand down the wood plank till the edges are smooth
- · Paint the plank and allow time to dry completely
- · Cut your rope in half and tie a double bowline knot on one end of each half
- · Throw the knotted ends over the tree limb and thread the other end back through the loop left in the knot, pulling tight.
- · Measure between the center of the holes in the swing and place the knots the same distance apart
- · Thread the unknotted ends through each hole and tie with a self-tightening overhand knot at desired height
Marcella Rose is a baker, a maker, a cooking innovator, a cleaner, a dreamer and one mean entertainer! Her blog at Marcellaroses.com hopes to inspire and share cooking and crafting with the modern woman.