Backyard Swing Set Makeover

My husband and I tag-teamed to turn this hunk of junk that was about to be taken to the dump….
Backyard Swing Set Makeover
Into a backyard heaven, also known as Penelope’s Park, to her wee friends.
Backyard Swing Set Makeover
On a evening walk a few weeks ago, we spied our neighbors putting together a brand new swing set for their kids. We noticed the old one in a heap in the corner. And me, being me, I marched my ass up and said “Whatcha gonna do with the old set?”

When he said take it to the dump, I about fell over. Sure, it needed some love, but it was not ready for the dump!! I restrained myself from asking if he had ever heard of Craig’s List or Freecycle and instead politely said, “well, we will take it off your hands if that is ok with you!”  He said, “sure, it saves me a trip to the dump!”

So our other neighbors, who have a trailer, helped Peter haul it to our house. Peter had to replace some of the boards on the bottom because they had rotted out. And he replaced the big kid swings with baby swings.

Then I came in for the beautification part! First, I did a good cleaning and that made a huge difference in itself, its amazing what a little elbow grease will get you!

Then I replaced the canvas canopy with a new pretty fabric. I bought our fabric at Joann’s, on the second store visit attempt.

Our first attempt, Penelope had her first, full-on, public meltdown, as we were waiting in line to get the fabric cut, so I just picked her up, left my fabric and the cart and left.

I went back a couple of days later to try again, and to my surprise the fabric was now 50% off!! Penelope was looking out for her Mama!!

Since I am not really good with measurements or math in general, or cutting straight lines for that matter, I used the old canvas as a pattern.
Backyard Swing Set Makeover

When I hemmed the edges, I didn’t fold over twice, I just cut with pinking sheers. This outdoor fabric was kind of thick, and my good ‘ole, circa 2000, Kenmore sewing machine, is kind of on its last legs (which I am secretly praying for it’s demise so I can get a new Bernina one), so I was afraid my machine couldn’t handle going through that many layers.

I am also lazy.
Backyard Swing Set Makeover
Then I hung her up. Ahh, so much better!
Backyard Swing Set Makeover
Backyard Swing Set Makeover
I had to cut little slits for the screws to go through, and I reused the old screws. Using the old canvas as a pattern, made the new one fit like a charm.

Backyard Swing Set Makeover
Penelope was not to be left out of the design. She added a few, last minute, finishing touches. Love her.

So all in all, it cost $15 in wood, $40 in swings, and $30 of fabric, but brand new, this set would have cost at least $600.

Seeing Penelope’s face when she is swinging…priceless!

Next up, I may try to make a doll house for the bottom.


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  • Lia Dominique Andress
    April 28, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    You guys did a great job!!!!!!

  • sk
    April 29, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    wow! You did an amazing job…what a difference! And, it's wonderful that you were able to save it from the dump!

  • Monica
    April 30, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    Looks good! I bet the dollhouse is going to be awesome! And, I made Eli's sandbox for Easter–big hit!!

  • Viagra without prescription
    July 26, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    Indeed it looks awesome, and it doesnt look that hard to put on.

  • amber lau
    May 2, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    is there a certain fabric you got that would withstand water and weather? Were having a swing set built and was wondering about putting one up but yours looks so pretty and girly?

    • Stephanie
      May 3, 2013 at 12:55 AM

      I am not sure what exactly the blend is, but I did get a fabric that specific to be outside. And it has held up very well.