Is there anything better than an adorable little playhouse? I think not! I’ve been looking forward to creating a little space for our kids in the backyard for some time now. We knew that we didn’t want a gigantic swing set that would take over the whole yard. A small structure for them to jump, swing, and climb on is all we really needed.
You can easily get lost in the millions of cute playhouse ideas when browsing the web. We decided to start with a free place that I found on Craig’s List. It wasn’t in the best shape, but it gave us a good foundation to build on. A lot of the inspiration for our playhouse came from The Handmade Home and the Handmade Hideaway that they built.
THE BASE AND PLATFORM
This is the free place from Craig’s list that we started with. We ended up just using the base, the platform, and the steps.
After we leveled out the base, we installed the platform. We extended the platform out an extra 2 feet, which is the current uncovered deck area. Once that was done, we could re-install the steps. The overall size of our platform is 6 feet wide by 6 feet deep and the actual covered/house area is 6 feet wide by 4 feet deep.
From there we started framing out the walls. It’s basically the same process as framing interior walls, except on a much smaller scale. The walls are 5 feet high and we framed out two windows, one on the right side and one on the left side. We opted to leave the backside wall solid with no windows so I could add a chalkboard and some storage.
Next, we added the roof. This is probably the most complicated part of building the playhouse. We relied heavily on this post from The Handmade Home for building our roof. Here is a little sketch of how I planned out our rafters and roofing.
We have 3 sets of rafters total, one set on the back side, one set on the front side, and one set in the middle. After the ridge and rafters were attached and set in place, we used some scrap 2×4 boards to add the collar ties to brace the rafters. Lastly, we added a brace on the back wall to support the gable.
For our roofing materials, we decided to use galvanized steel. This is the tin roofing material and this ridge cap that we used. We did not add any other type of flashing. Instead, we trimmed everything out with wood to cover any sharp edges.
After the roof was on, it was time for the siding. We decide to use these inexpensive fence pickets from Home Depot for our siding. Since they are 6’ in length, they fit perfectly on the back wall with no cutting required (except for the roof pitch area). To the right and left sidewalls, we just cut them to length as needed. We overlapped each fence picket slightly, by about 1,” as we stacked and nailed them into the studs. Before we installed them, I stained both sides of the pickets, which saved a ton of time and made it much easier than staining them after they were hung. This PPG Timeless Stain in American Chestnut is the stain I use on everything.
We finished trimming out the entire playhouse to give it a seamless look. For the outside corners and the windows, we used 1×4 boards. We used a larger 1×6 board to trim out the front.
At this point, we just needed to finish the railing. For the railing, we are using 4×4 posts and these 24” Steel Rebar pins. Here is a front view of our railing with our overall dimensions.
Start with four 4×4 posts and cut each post 32” in length. On one side of each 4×4 post, drill a 3/4” diameter hole every 4 inches from the steel rebar pins. Each hole that we drilled is about 3” deep. We ended up with 6 holes on each 4×4 post with some extra space at the bottom. At the bottom of the 4×4 post, we added a notch so we can attach it to the front of the playhouse platform. Here is a side view of one of our posts.
It was easy to attach one 4×4 post to the playhouse platform and then add the rear pins before attaching the next post. For the top railing, we just added a 2×4 board across the top of the 4×4 posts. We finished it off by adding steel brackets to the backside bottom of the posts for extra security.
We added a few finishing touches to personalize our DIY playhouse. The shutters are just made out of 1×4 boards, painted black, and attached with hinges. We also added a pulley with a bucket and rope so the kids hoist and haul things into the playhouse. Lastly, I made a chalkboard for the back wall. It actually folds down and converts into a table. I’ll explain the chalkboard table in more depth in another blog post. You can scroll to the bottom of this post for the entire list of sources for decorative items.
We have plans to add on to our playhouse over time. I am sure as our kids grow older we will add a few things to keep it interesting for their age levels. It will constantly be a work in progress, but we will call it finished for now!