How to Make a Backyard Tetherball Set

Bring the fun of the school yard into your backyard with a tetherball court. Made inexpensively from an upcycled tire and a metal pole, the tetherball set can be rolled around the yard to play in the sun or shade.

By: Carla Wiking

Tools and Materials

  • 7’ or 8’ 1-1/2” galvanized pipe with threaded end
  • (2) 12” pieces of rebar
  • old tire
  • spray paint
  • (3) 60 lb. bags of concrete (more if your tire is oversized)
  • plastic sheeting
  • decorative stones or tile pieces
  • 1-1/2” galvanized cap
  • 3/8” eye bolt with nut and locking washer
  • tetherball with rope and connecting hook
  • drill with 3/8” and 1/2” cobalt bits
  • bucket
  • ladder
  • level
  • spray bottle
  • rag

Step 1: Paint Tire

Make sure that your tire is clean and dry. Paint it with an even coat of spray paint. You might also wish to paint the metal cap that will go at the top of the pole.

Step 2: Drill Pipe for Rebar

Using a 1/2” cobalt drill bit, drill one set of holes through the pipe 3" from the bottom of the pipe. Rotate the pipe 90 degrees and drill another set of holes 2-1/2" up from the first set.

Step 3: Prep for Concrete

Place the tire on top of a sheet of heavy plastic on a level surface. Thread the rebar through the drilled holes and place it in the center of the tire.

Step 4: Add Concrete and Level Pole

Mix the concrete in batches according to the instructions on the bag and pour it into the tire. You can fill it all the way and add the decorative stones while the whole thing is setting up (you will have to be careful to keep the pole level) or you can leave the top two inches and come back after the pole is set to make your final pour and then add the decorative stones. Place a ladder over the tire, place a level on the pole to be sure it is plumb and hold it in place by attaching it to the ladder.

Step 5: Add Decorative Stones

To the slightly-set full pour or the final two-inch pour, add your decorative stones in any design you fancy. Simply gently press them into the surface of the concrete (if they sink too deeply, wait 10-15 minutes and try again). Use a spray bottle full of water to keep the concrete moist as you work. Once the concrete begins to dry (check back every 10-15 minutes) you can wipe the stones clean with a wet rag.

Step 6: Install Eye Bolt

When the concrete is fully set you are ready to install the eye bolt. Drill a 3/8” hole in the top of the galvanized cap. Insert the eye bolt into the hole and tighten with the locking washer and nut.

Step 7: Hang the Ball

Screw the cap onto the top of the pole and hook the ball to the eye bolt. Tie the rope so that the ball hangs about two feet off the ground, you can hang the ball lower for younger players.

Step 8: Play!

Once set, the plastic will peel away from the concrete at the base of the tire. Use a dolly or simply roll your tire into your desired play spot and enjoy!

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