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Breathing New Life into an Old Swing Set

I started contemplating fixing up the dilapidated swing set over a year ago, and now I can finally (finally!) declare success! As a refresher, here’s the swing set the way it’s looked since we inherited it with the house:

Swing Set

And here’s how it looks now:

Finished Swing Set

Really just a fresh coat of spray paint in one of my favorite colors took the frame from ugly to awesome:

spray paint before and after

And I ordered the swings/chains, “rings”, and rope online. It was a bit of a gamble to get them all the same shade of yellow since I got them from different sources, but I think I got it pretty close! The painting and ordering actually happened months ago, and Dakota was loving it even before we got all the elements set up.

In progress

The reason why it took so long for me to declare victory was the slide.

Slide detail

I spray painted the plastic part of the slide a while back, and though the bright yellow started to chip off a little, (shoulda used primer!) it still looks pretty good. What took me forever was that I wanted to build the ladder out of steel pipe. After a few false starts I ordered the T connectors and custom length pieces of pipe (for the rungs, since I wanted to use the existing holes in the plastic slide) online. The shipping was a bit high, and I’m sure I could have found someone local to cut pipe for me if I had tried. But it’s hard to beat the ease of ordering exactly what you need from your computer, while wearing your PJs. 🙂

Once I had everything, it was pretty easy to connect all the pieces of pipe and slide them into the existing holes. And then I spray painted them to match and declared victory! The slide is pretty solid and doesn’t need support from the rest of the structure at all.

Swing Set Done

Sadly Dakota will probably be outgrowing this thing pretty soon. Since we aren’t cementing it into the ground or anything she can’t swing very high before the whole thing starts rocking. On the plus side we can always reuse all of the elements on a larger (wooden?) frame if we want to keep the DIY fun going.


Swing Set: Fix it or trash it?

When we bought this house, one of the selling points was a “play structure”. Turns out it was faded and rusty, and I declared that we would trash it ASAP. But we had plenty of yard space and it sat over in the side yard, gathering cobwebs and weeds. Since there isn’t a direct window looking out on it, it didn’t really impinge on my consciousness very often. Now that we actually have a kid and I spend a lot more time at home, attempting to fix it up actually sounds like a potentially fun challenge. But is it beyond salvaging? Here it is, and please ignore the crazy plant life around it as best you can…

Sing Set

So we have a metal frame with very rusty bolts and once-shiny paint in various stages of fading. From left to right there is a swing, a rope ladder, a “trapeze”, a glider, and a plastic slide.

swing and ladder

The swing chain definitely needs to be replaced at the minimum, and a quick internet search reveals that I can probably get a sling-style swing complete with vinyl-coated chain for possibly as low as $15. The rope ladder is pretty gross looking, and in fact doesn’t look to be original to the set, seeing how it’s attached:

rope ladder attachment

the trapeze and glider both look like they just need some cleaning and a good coat of paint. The slide seems a little unstable the way it’s currently attached… I’d probably have to replace the bolts at a minimum:


Poking around online it looks like I can get a similarly sized metal swing set for maybe as low as $100. I’m not sure how good the quality would be, but then I’m not sure how good the quality of this thing would be even after I fixed it up. When you add up a new swing and ladder, several cans of spray paint and possibly primer and sealer, and various replacement bolts and steel wool and who knows what else, this project might end up being more than $100 anyway. So I guess this comes down to a) whether I think it’s even possible to fix it up, and more importantly b) will I have fun attempting to do it? I guess at the bare minimum I can clean it off and see if the rusty bolts will even budge. I can pretty much scrap the whole project if I get tired of it anyway. 🙂