How to Make a Backyard Zipline




Have you ever thought about riding down a zip-line, but realize that you're at home? Well this DIY zip-line will be able to satisfy that urge. This zip-line allows you to be safe and have a ton of fun. Following this will be step-by-step instructions on how to make a safe zip-line. This zip-line is sure to be a crowd-pleaser and a load of fun.


*I am not responsible for any injuries related to the building of this zip-line*

Step 1: Gathering Your Materials

In order to make this zip-line, you are going to need a couple things. You are going to need two eye hooks, preferably ones that are able to screw into your two trees. You are going to need 50 feet of 1/4" steel cable. We chose 50 feet of cable because it is simple and you do not need to make a support post in the center. You are also going to need a pulley with a hook on the bottom to attach your handle, two cable clips, and one caliper. You are going to need something to use as a handle to hold on to. We used a metal pipe and a muffler clamp that was attached to the pulley using the caliper. You are also going to need 3 20" planks of wood and some 4" galvanized nails to attach the steps to the stairs.

Materials: (Sears) x2 x2

Any 50 ft 1/4" steel cable or similar pulley

Any Metal Caliper

Tools Needed:


Socket Screwdriver


Step 2: Find a Spot and Attach Your Steps

Once you find a spot that is a little less than 50 feet, you need to start attaching your steps. Take your first plank and find an appropriate height. Make sure that you are able to step up to the first step comfortably. Mark the top and bottom of the plank on the tree. Next, using a drill with a 1/4" drill bit, drill 5 holes into the board. Make a plus sign with your holes. This will ensure that the board is pulled tight into the tree and doesn't pull out when you use the step. Next, line up your second step, which should be about 18" to 24" above the first step. This will allow for easy climbing but not many steps. Repeat the same process for your third step. Make sure that you use long enough nails to sink into the tree. The longer the better.

Step 3: Screw in the Eye-hooks

After your steps are installed, it's time to attach your eye-hooks. In order to create an effective zip-line, you need to have a large range in heights. Our highest eye-hook was 12' 2" and our lowest eye-hook was 7'. This allows for an effective zip-line that can reach a reasonable speed. In order to screw in the eye-hooks at the desired height, you are going to need a hammer and a screw driver. Tap the eye-hook into the tree using the hammer. Then, using the screwdriver, screw the eye-hook into the tree.

Step 4: Lining Up Your Cable

After screwing in the eye-hooks, you need to line up your cable. First, untangle your cable and make sure that there are no kinks in the cable that could cause a break during use. Tighten one side of the cable using the clip. Attach the clip and tighten it using the appropriate socket screwdriver. Ensure that you are able to attach another clip on the other side of the zip-line.

Step 5: Pulley Installation

Before attaching the other side of the zip-line, ensure that you slide the pulley onto the cable. This is needed for the zip-line to work properly. Once the pulley is on the zip-line, you are able to move on to the attaching of the other side of the zip-line.

Step 6: Tighten the Zipline

Now is the time to tighten and secure your zip-line. Attach the second cable clip on the other side of the zip-line and ensure that the zip-line is as tight as possible. To make the zip-line even tighter, you can purchase two turnbuckles, which will tighten the zip-line further.

Step 7: Making and Attaching the Handle

In making the handle, we decided to use a relatively simple design. We had a metal pipe laying around and a muffler clamp. The muffler clamp doubled as a clamping device around the pipe, as well as a location to attach the handle to the caliper, and then to the pulley. Insert the caliper into the muffler clamp, and then attach that metal caliper through the slot on the bottom of the pulley.

Step 8: Take Flight

Now, you have a completed zip-line. You can now have endless fun and enjoyment for you and your friends. This zip-line is safe and fun for people of all ages. Take precautions if you feel that the cable could snap.

Step 9: Physics Behind the Zip-Line



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    6 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    This sounds great and will be a great family project. Thanks for the info!!!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    You are missing one major safety aspect. Those eye-hooks can't hold the kinds of loads that are apparently applied the way you connected this up, it might work now, but eventually the hook break, bend or pull out of the tree. However, I would use this zipline with two minor changes:

    1) The eye hook goes on the back of the tree and the cable loops around the tree. This way the hook only serves to hold the cable up, while the tree holds pulling force of the cable

    2) You need at least two, preferably three, cable clamps per side. (redundency is key)

    Have fun, be safe.


    3 years ago

    Take precautions if you think the cable will snap

    If not is #grammer

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    Someone WILL get hurt. This is dangerous. Safe for all ages? Really??

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    No one was hurt in the making of this project. If the zipline is made correctly following this step by step directions, there will be no injuries. It is safe for all ages if he project is made crrectly