Birthday Seesaw

Submitted by Ana White on Thu, 05/03/2012 - 11:08
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About Project

Make a teeter totter for less than $20! Free easy seesaw plans from Ana White!

Late one night, my sister called me.  


She had dreadful news.


At 2:00 the next day, my three year old niece was having a birthday party.


And we did not have a gift.


Now had she not been three, a card, a big hug, some tickles all would have been fine.  But when you are three, presents on your birthday is everything.  And we could not disappoint a three year old.


And by presents, I mean toys.


We live in remotish Alaska, a few hundred miles from a ToysRUs or a Target. We do have a local grocery store that stocks a few toys and coloring books, but our hunch was that would be where everyone else was going for presents. 


So that Saturday morning, the Ram stole 2 - 2x4s and 2 - 2x6 boards from the Momplex.  

There are plenty.  


And I found a bolt that I had been saving for a coffee table I swear I am going to build someday.


And 45 minutes later, we made this:



And the Birthday Girl loved it.



The other guests at the party loved the seesaw so much, we've since made another for another birthday girl.  


And I'm excited to post the plans today so you can make it too!  But first, a word of caution - sadly, seesaws or teeter totters have been removed from most playgrounds for safety reasons, so build and use at your own risk.  I personally feel like the most dangerous thing my child does for her health is sit inside and watch tv. 


These plans have not been fully tested; build and use at your own risk.


Dimensions are shown above.


Shopping List

2 – 2x4 @ 8 feet long

2 – 2x6 @ 8 feet long

1 – 10” 5/8” bolt with nut and four washers

1 – 1x8 @ 3 feet long

1 – 24” 1” dowel or closet rod

Common Materials
3 inch screws
Cut List

2 – 2x4 @ 96”

2 – 2x6 @ 24” (uprights)

2 – 2x6 @ 36” (long base)

2 – 2x6 @ 24” (short base - both ends cut at 30 degrees off square ends NOT parallel to each other)

2 – 2x6 @ 12” (scrap piece can be shorter than 12” – used for handle)

FROM EACH 2x6 cut one each of the 24”, 36”, 24” and 12” to conserve boards

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Attach long base supports to uprights with lots of screws and glue.

Step 2

Then add the side supports again with lots of screws and glue.

Step 3

Build the seat part by sandwiching the handle supports between 8 foot long 2x4s and attaching with glue and lots of screws. Drill a 5/8" hole in center of 2x4s for the pivot bolt.

Step 4

I used scrap 1x8 boards for the seats, covered in a foam chair pad cut in half and outdoor fabric. I drilled three holes in the uprights with 5/8" bit so the seesaw could be adjustable. The most difficult part of this seesaw was getting the bolt holes lined up. We ended up just making the bolt holes a little larger so the bolts could pass through easier. On the bolt, we put washers on each side of the uprights to protect the finish and for a smoother ride. For the handles, we had extra closet rod dowel, so we just cut to size, and drilled a hole and inserted the rod. We then glued and screwed in place.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.