Thursday, June 5, 2014

DIY How to Build you own Playhouse

     On the farm I keep busy doing all sorts of things but over the last few years I have discovered that I enjoy construction and building things with wood. I have to admit that building a playhouse is not the first project that I have undertaken, but it is my most recent and I am very excited to share it with you.
      During the winter I get terrible spring fever and dream of all kinds of things I want to do when the weather gets warm. Last winter this was my dream. With 5 kids I know it will get lots of use and every mom enjoys things that gets the kids out of the "big house" and outside to play.
      I started out looking online for playhouse ideas and liked the ones that had a front porch the best. As you will see in later pictures our house has a wrap around porch and so I thought it would be cute if the playhouse matched.
       The first step was to decide how big the playhouse should be. I decided on an 8ft x 8ft base. This made for a nice size with little waste of lumber. I made the base out of treated 2x4. I layed them out like in the top picture above and left the top and bottom board the 8ft length. The boards that go up and down I had to trim 3inches off of because I needed to subtract for the 1.5inch depth of the top and bottom boards. (Note: a 2x4 actually measures 3.5inches x 1.5inches.)
       The floor of the playhouse is made out of decking boards. These are also treated and I like that when laying them there is a gap between each board. This way in the future when kids bring sand, water, or anything else into the playhousex (which we know they will do) it will fall through the cracks in the floor and be easier to clean up. The boards come in 8ft lengths so there was almost no waste.
        As you can see I am building all this on nice level concrete. I didn't have the luxury of a large workbench so much of my building is done on the ground.
        The next step is fraiming the walls. The walls are made with construction grade 2x4 lumber.The playhouse floor plan is 6ft deep and 8ft wide. The height is 5ft 3inches because I decided to use 5ft boards (10ft board cut in half)for the studs. Each wall is built independently on the ground. First I lay out the top and bottom board. Then I lay out the vertical boards, studs, measuring making sure they are spaced evenly. I then use smaller boards to frame out where the windows and doors will be. It is important to know ahead of time what the dimension of the door and widows will be so you can place the studs the correct distance apart. You can see the door I am going to use in the background of the picture above. It is also important to make the door opening about an inch larger than the door to allow for movement of the door and the hardware.
     In my plan the two side walls are identical to each other.  These side walls I had to make a 5ft 5inches long because once again the front and back wall will add 3.5inches each to the length when it is assembled. You can place your windows at any height you feel is right. I used my 2yr old, knowing that she will continue to grow over the years, to find my height.
         Now it is time for the walls to go up. I had the kids help me hold them in place and screwed then to the base and each other. This is a fun step because all of the sudden the kids start to see what is being built and understand that it is going to be a house. You want to make sure that your walls are level up and down.
         You can see in the above picture that I am adding the pillars for the front porch. I used old fencing posts that we had around the farm. You can see the portion that was buried in the ground and the chew marks from the lawn mover. I love reusing things from around the farm and I think it adds character.
         Ok, up to this point this project has been 100% mine. I have put in every screw and cut every board. When it came time for figuring out the pitch of the rafters I was a little lost. Luck for me my husband had the know how. I have to say it involves a lot of math and I'm still not sure I understand how to figure it all out. My best advice is to ask someone who knows and life will be good.
       I recently found this site which is very helpful on figuring out rafter pitch and the angle you would need to cut boards to get a certain pitch to your rafters. See it here.
      As you can see  we cut out notches in the rafter where it rested on the front and back wall and the porch pillars. We securely attached them at these places and on to the next step.
       Next I put on the siding. I used a primed hardboard siding which comes in 4x8 sheets. I hung it so that the lines went horizontal making it look more like house siding. I cut out the window openings by holding the siding up to the house where it wanted it then traced the window opening. I took the board down and cut out the opening with a jigsaw. Then I replaced the siding and nailed it into place.
      Paul was a dream and helped me with all the roof work. He placed plywood over the rafters and shingled it with leftover shingles from the house. As you can see I also hung the door. The door is one that I repurposed from our house. It is a old solid wood door that we had removed a few years ago while remodeling. I brought it out of the barn and cut the top section off of it. I had to remove the door knob because it was now to high on the door and added a simple pull handle with a hook instead. Things are really starting to take shape.
     The next job was painting. We used leftover paint from the main house. The kids had a good time painting "their house". We painted the front door the same color red as the houses. The front window is the only one that has glass in it. I got it at the local lumber store and it is called a barn sash window. Single paned and simple. The rest of the windows I decided to use a cabinet door from my local reuse store for a shutter. I put a simple eye and hook on them so they can be latched closed. If you follow my other DIY projects you will see cabinet doors from my reuse store are a common theme.
          Finally on went the finishing touches. I built the railings for the porch using extra pieces from our railings on the house. The railings are made out of 2x4 for the top and bottom plate and 2x2 for the rungs. Using 1x4's we put trim around the front door, front window, and the sides of the house to once again help it look more finished and like the main house.
         I am very happy with how it turned out. It did take some time to complete but I enjoyed working outside and helping the kids learn some life skills. This is not the finialv v  place for the playhouse. I plan on preparing a place for it close to the garden but for now it is neat seeing it next to the house.  So cute. 
          Now on to decorating the inside of the house and do I have some fun ideas. Come back soon and see what new things we have done here on the farm.
         Here is my post about the DIY Playhouse Kitchen I made.

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  1. I love that the kids got to help out with the house! And it's flat adorable that it also matches the 'big house'!! Kudos!

  2. How cute!! Love the simple construction and the way it all come together. Will be anxious to see what other touches you add.

    Thank you for linking up with this weeks Country Fair Blog Party!
    Laurie - Country Link

  3. This is a wonderful project! I loved seeing the progress. Progress makes me feel better, even when it's somebody else's!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Emily Grace

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  5. I love your work and would like to do such for my kids.
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