Build Your Own Zip Line in your Backyard

My husband is pretty adventurous when it comes to making things.  He’ll just get an idea in his head, this plan of something he wants to create, and he’ll see if he can find a way to do it.  This week he decided he wanted to make a Zip Line in our backyard for our kids!  And he did it for less than $10.

So, here it is: “How Does (S)He Build a Zip Line?”

First you’ll need something for a handle.  We had this dowel sitting around so we used it.  You could buy something similar for probably around $1-2.  Drill a hole in the middle of it.

Build Your Own Zip Line in your Backyard

Next, a pulley.  This one cost about $3.

Build Your Own Zip Line in your Backyard

And a rope.  We tried this with a nylon rope which we found to be a bit too stretchy (our zip line was gradually becoming lower to the ground each time it was used and we had to keep tightening it).  So, try to find a rope that is not too stretchy and is meant to handle the weight of your child!!

Build Your Own Zip Line in your Backyard

Pull a piece of the rope through the hole and tie a strong knot.  (I’m told this is a “granny” or “square” knot)

Build Your Own Zip Line in your Backyard

Secure the other end of the rope to the pulley.  (We decided to attach the pulley by rope rather than screwing it right to the handle, so that if the child made the handle twist, the pulley wouldn’t be pulled off of the rope)

You could also use cable management products to help secure the pulley.

Build Your Own Zip Line in your Backyard

Then use a longer piece of rope to run through the pulley, and attach to something up high,  on either side of your zip line.  We used a fence.  You could use a tree or whatever else is available in your yard.

Build Your Own Zip Line in your Backyard

Once it’s all assembled, you’ll have something like this:

Build Your Own Zip Line in your Backyard

We were making ours for little kids, so we didn’t make it very high off of the ground (the little one was never more than inches from the ground and the older one had to lift her legs up).  It was definitely a hit and thrilling enough for our little girls, though (and Daddy was always close by to hold the 3 year old and help her).

Build Your Own Zip Line in your Backyard

Oh, the fun that was had!  It really didn’t take very long to make and it was so fun & easy!

Build Your Own Zip Line in your Backyard

This is her, “let’s do it again!” face :)

Build Your Own Zip Line in your Backyard

Have you ever built something really fun for your yard?
Tell me about it in the comments, I’d love to hear your ideas!

Build Your Own Zip Line in your Backyard

Heather Lynne

P.S.  Come see what else we’re up to at Raising Memories Blog!

35 Comments
COMMENTS
  1. June 5th, 2012 at 6:03 am
    Gina says:
    So cool! This is now on my husband's list of things to do =)
  2. June 5th, 2012 at 7:19 am
    Hilary says:
    I can't believe he came up with that! I love the last picture of K's face! So cute and so fun!
  3. June 5th, 2012 at 10:09 am
    Missy says:
    So simple, yet so much fun! The best kind of projects. What a fun idea! Tell your husband thanks for sharing!
  4. June 5th, 2012 at 11:04 am
    Kim @ seven thirty three says:
    My brother built a zip line in his backyard a few years ago. The kids loved it... the adults loved it! Lots of fun. :) Do be careful though, my little sister lost her thumbnail when she accidentally per her hand in the wrong spot and the little roller thingy (technical term) ran over her thumb! OUCH. She survived and it didn't stop us from using it. HAHA.
    • June 6th, 2012 at 7:46 pm
      Heather Lynne says:
      Oh dear!! Good to know to watch for that!! yikes!
  5. June 5th, 2012 at 1:48 pm
    Kris says:
    I still cannot get the summer reading star free printable. The link is not working. I read several other comments of people who were having trouble too. Please help :) I would love, love, love to print these off. Thanks again for all the free printables.
    • June 6th, 2012 at 7:48 pm
      Heather Lynne says:
      I've passed this on- hopefully you've received an email that helps?
      Let us know if you're still having problems!
  6. June 5th, 2012 at 10:28 pm
    Noreen says:
    Fun way to keep kids occupied! Do you still have the iShare website? For the last several days I have received a "forbidden" message when I try to access it.
    • June 10th, 2012 at 4:40 am
      Heather Lynne says:
      Yes, it's still there. We had some server issues...still have some server issues. ishareprintables is good, but the crafts is struggling. It should be good and strong by monday.
  7. June 6th, 2012 at 10:41 pm
    Gayle215 says:
    Not to be grim, but these can be very dangerous. http://www.huliq.com/3257/georgia-woman-clings-life-after-zip-line accident.
    • June 9th, 2012 at 5:34 pm
      Heather Lynne says:
      Of course anyone who tries this should be very careful, you are right! The story you refer to was a high zip-line (the woman fell into a river and suffered a gash to her leg). The zip line we made was so close to the ground that my 6 year old could walk while holding it if she didn't lift her knees. We supervised very closely & held the younger one when she used it- it was pretty tame & we were very cautious!
  8. June 7th, 2012 at 4:03 am
    Connie says:
    Wow, that's fantastic...and EASY!
  9. June 7th, 2012 at 10:16 am
    Jacob says:
    I love this idea. I was going to buy a kit for her birthday but I realize now I actually have all the things I need to make one. I have the same pulley and a whole bunch of cable that must be rated to at least a few hundred pounds sitting in my garage. To be continued...
    • June 9th, 2012 at 5:34 pm
      Heather Lynne says:
      Sounds like a lot of fun is about to be had! :)
  10. June 8th, 2012 at 6:58 pm
    Holly B says:
    Thanks for posting this! Just saw it on pinterest. we have a sloping yard and two perfect trees. I'm very excited to try this.
  11. June 8th, 2012 at 7:19 pm
    michelle@somedaycrafts says:
    What a great idea. My kids would LOVE this. So easy, quick and inexpensive. I am featuring this at somedaycrafts.blogspot.com.
  12. June 9th, 2012 at 3:43 pm
    Alison says:
    SUper fun Heather! Thanks!!
  13. June 12th, 2012 at 11:15 am
    MB says:
    No, no, no---a thousand times no!

    Zip lines can be extremely dangerous (Google Aimee Copeland to learn more about how she was horribly maimed after being injured by a homemade zipline).

    Leave this to the pros--both the construction and the installation.
    • June 12th, 2012 at 11:35 am
      Heather Lynne says:
      As with many things, you are right, it is very important to be careful! Aimee Copeland fell from a large zip line, into a river, and ended up with a gash in her leg which became infected by a rare flesh eating disease! This injury would be impossible on our little zip line! Of course we were still very careful with it- helping our girls to hold on, holding them as they used it. It was so close to the ground that our 6 year old could stand on the ground and hold the handles at the same time. We're talking about a very mild zip line in this post.
  14. June 12th, 2012 at 11:54 am
    Rachelle says:
    This is an awesome idea!! T would love it-- if we don't move, we'll be doing this. Great job girlie! :)
  15. June 12th, 2012 at 2:30 pm
    Deanna says:
    Love this! Question though, was your line straight across or was one end higher than the other to make your kids glide across? Thanks for another great idea!
    • June 12th, 2012 at 3:20 pm
      Heather Lynne says:
      Ours was straight across, and their weight made it go lower, which made them glide across. They only went half way across because when they got to the middle, they were touching the ground (one reason why we though perhaps a less stretchy rope would have been better) ;)
  16. June 12th, 2012 at 4:06 pm
    Julie Snow says:
    That is one of the coolest things I have seen in a while! Wish I had a high point in my yard to attach it to. May have to build something...thanks!!!!
  17. August 5th, 2012 at 4:41 pm
    Drew says:
    Rope is not really a good choice for this. Nylon especially is very susceptible to sun damage and after a few months outside will be brittle and break easily. If you want to make a strong zipline that will last use aircraft grade cable. It's going to be more expensive but a lot safer & last longer.
  18. October 27th, 2013 at 10:42 am
    callmllac says:
    Good idea !
    do you think it need to be more safety on step:

    "Pull a piece of the rope through the hole and tie a strong knot. (I’m told this is a “granny” or “square” knot)"
  19. December 12th, 2013 at 9:32 am
    Amy Hammond says:
    Thank you! I am building one in my boys' bedroom, so they can get into their closet faster! Your instructions helped so much! I am surprised by the naysayers :) Yes, don't build this over a river! 100 feet in the air. Too funny;) Thanks again!!!
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