Home » How to Build a Teeter-Totter? Step-by-Step Guide

How to Build a Teeter-Totter? Step-by-Step Guide

This post may contains affiliate links. If you click and buy we may make a commission, at no additional charge to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more details.

A teeter-totter in your backyard is a low-cost addition to your child’s playground. With some basic woodworking skills, building a teeter-totter is a simple DIY project which any parent can handle. What you need is a simple step-by-step guide to help you with the creation.

Your search for a detailed teeter-totter building manual ends right here.

The how-to build a teeter-totter instruction guide teaches everything that you need to know to build a fun seesaw at home. It is also pocket-friendly and does not demand much of your time.

Get started with our DIY guide and build the teeter-totter that your children have been lately demanding!

Before You Begin the Project

Your kids will spend hours on the teeter-totter. Your construction thus needs to include a lot of safety features.

A shock-absorbing substrate handle, rubber grips, and cushioned seats are just a few safety inclusions that should be a part of the design.

When purchasing lumber, ensure that these are straight and have no flaws. Pine, cedar, and other hardwood lumber that are resistant to water are the best choice to offer long-term benefits.
Take care to source all the materials and tools before you start the project. Here is a quick checklist to get you sorted.


  • Two 4×4 lumber pieces 35.5 inch long
  • Two 2×4 lumber pieces 34.5 inch long to build the base
  • Two 4×4 lumber pieces of 20 inches to build the support
  • One 2×8 lumber 96 inches long to make the plank
  • Two 2×4 lumber 8.5 inches long for the handles
  • Two 4×4 6-inch lumber
  • One 2×8 8-inch lumber
  • Screws
  • Washers, rod, nuts, pipe strap clamps
  • ¾ inch dowel
  • Stain or glue
  • Filler
  • Tools
  • Speed square
  • Miter saw
  • Hammer
  • Jigsaw
  • Spirit level
  • Screwdriver
  • Sander
  • Safety glasses
  • Safety gloves
  • Drill
  • Drill bit set
  • Tape measure
  • Carpentry pencil
  • Chalk line

With all the materials and tools ready, the entire construction should take not more than a day.

But Why Build a Teeter-Totter?

But Why Build a Teeter-Totter

Seesaws are fun. These also offer mental and physical benefits. Teeter-totters increase concentration power, make kids better abled in sports, balance their strides, get them firm and assertive, and enhance reflexes.

A teeter-totter installed in your home does not just create excitement but comes with many benefits too.

So now that we know of its benefits too, let us start with the teeter-totter construction.

Step-by-Step Teeter-Totter Building Guide

Step-by-Step Teeter-Totter Building Guide

A teeter-totter or a homemade seesaw is easy to construct and makes a perfect addition to your kids’ home playground. Just make sure you clean off the long grass and bushes around the area where you plan to install the teeter-totter.

1. Building the Base

The base is the backbone of your seesaw. It would help if you had 4×4 lumbers here, which will behave as the vertical post. Place the horizontal beams on the bottom and drill holes through the beams. Then insert the screws to bind it firmly.

This is important so that your vertical post stays firm. A spirit level checks that the horizontal beams are plumb.

A perfectly square beam will give the base adequate support. Note here that the vertical beam adjustment is dependent on the user of the seesaw. Waterproof glue works best to seal the joints.

2. Supporting the Base

Attach the 2×4 support to the horizontal seesaw base. The slats should be centered strategically at the bottom. Drill the pilot holes and lock them with screws. A tape measure should be used to make identical holes on both supports. You will need to drill a ¾ inch pilot hole through the support.

3. Fitting the Pipe Strap Clamps

It would help if you then fit the pipe strap clamp on the backside of the pivoting beam. For this, you will need to insert a threaded rod of 3 inches. This should pass through the side support. Both the threaded rods should at least have a one-and-a-half-inch overhang.
It would be best if you then fit the nuts and washers.

4. Building the Base of the Handle

Build the handle base on each side of the 2x4s. You then need to drill the pilot holes and add the ¾ inch dowel. Lock the handles to the plank with screws. You may either choose to use the L-brackets here or insert the screw through the bottom of the plank.

Close the gaps with glue and filler.

5. Smoothening the Teeter-Totter Surface

Use sandpaper and smoothen the wooden surface. This should be done after you fill the holes and the dents with wooden putty. Now that the surface is smooth apply stain and paint to enhance the appearance of the seesaw. Paint also saves the wood from external elements.

Your seesaw is ready for your kids to use. However, make sure to supervise them as they may not yet be sure about its working.

Safety Tips

Safety Tips

Carefully read through these essential safety tips before you present your creation to your children.

  • Double-check the teeter-totter before your kids start using it. You and an adult should test the seesaw first and only then allow your kids to use it. The teeter-totter should be strong to bear your weight, so you are assured that it will take care of your child.
  • If needed, use extra wood glue and screws to give shape to the seesaw. The additional holes may not give it a professional look, but if it does minimize risk for your children, then it is worth it. Of course, you can always paint or fill these holes so that they are not noticeable. Safety should always take priority over aesthetics when you build a teeter-totter.
  • Place the teeter-totter in an area where your kids will not hurt themselves, even if they happen to fall off from it. Placing the seesaw over a rubber mat is a great idea.
  • Design the seats with cushions and use stoppers.
  • Inspect the teeter-totter regularly to check for any loose screws or parts or areas of wear and tear.
  • Teach your kids the right way of using the teeter-totter to avoid serious mishaps.

Your kids are prone to playground injuries. But a few safety precautions can go a long way in mitigating severe wounds.


It is not hard to put a wooden teeter-totter together. You need the right plan to guide you, so you do not get frustrated or overwhelmed. Keep your tools and materials ready and do not jump any step. This will ensure that you create a flawless and sturdy seesaw.

Our detailed manual guarantees you a one-of-a-kind teeter-totter. Rest assured your kids are going to enjoy and treasure it for years to come.