May 19, 2008
by: jovial_cynic
Using plans I found online, I decided that it was time for me to build a playhouse for my kids. I originally wanted to build a fort with a watch-tower and all the necessary accessories (including a gun turret), but since I had little experience building anything (working with wood scares me a bit), perhaps a playhouse is a better starting point.

The plans called for a 6'x8' deck floor, with a 4'x8' structure on top of it. That would leave a 2'x8' deck area in front of the house, which isn't too bad, but I figured that if I was going to go through the trouble of building a deck floor, I might as well make it large enough to have a wrap-around deck.

Furthermore, instead of a 4'x8' structure, I decided to go with a 6'x6'. It's only an extra 4 square feet, but with three little kids who will end up playing in the playhouse, those extra 4 feet are going to matter.

Floor and walls

Building the floor actually took me a while. I realized after nailing down six deck boards that I was short about 13 boards. When I originally drew up the plans, I planned to use 2x8 boards, but I accidentally grabbed 2x6 boards from Home Depot instead. I also forgot to figure in that I increased the size of the deck to 8x8 intead of 8x6. Whoops. That required another trip.

Twenty-four boards later (at $2.75 each), this is the completed floor. In hindsight, I didn't have to make a deck floor. I could have thrown down a sheet of OSB over the frame and saved myself $50, but the deck floor is sturdier and will last longer. It also feels a little nicer to walk on it.

Having never framed anything before, I had a bit of anxiety about making the walls, fearing that I'd have to tear it down and build it back up. It turns out that it's actually quite easy.

Apparently, my fears were for nothing. Four straight walls later, it's starting to look like something.

The roof

Using plans I followed from, I spent about an hour measuring and cutting the 2x4s for the roof. Miter saws are wonderful.

I got the front and rear rafters up on the playhouse tonight. As you can see from the picture, it's dark outside. Fortunately, my camera has little difficulty focusing in low light. Excellent.

Sheeting the roof

My wife decided to take a picture of me nailing one of the rafters up. Note my trendy full-face shield. You never can be too safe when wielding a high-powered nail gun.

Here's the roof, the attached front gable , and the sheets. Fortunately, I only had to trim 1" off one of the plywood sheets; two sheets of 4x8 OSB fits nearly perfectly.

Fun fact: A roof isn't noticeably crooked until you put a right-angle sheet of OSB on it. To line it up, I had to pull at the roof with one hand and push the sheet back with my knee, while holding the nail gun and balancing myself on a ladder.

At least I was wearing my face shield.


Here, the walls are up, and holes cut are out for the windows.

Completed roof

I happened to have a package of shingles handy in my garage. There was a pretty severe wind-storm last winter, and I had to replace a few shingles on my roof. Handy.

I discovered, however, that a single package of shingles perfectly covers a 4'x8' area, and that by patching up those few spots on my house roof last year, I had just enough shingles to not finish a single side of the playhouse roof. Blast. I had to run to Home Depot again and buy TWO packages of shingles, as buying one would have left me with about 4 shingles too few.

Putting shingles on a roof at night probably isn't the best idea. Fortunately, my measurements were true, and the lines seem to be straight. I did cheat a bit -- I'm not using tar-paper as an underlayment. I'm not using anything at all; I just nailed the shingles straight to the roof. I think it'll turn out alright.

I only hit my thumb twice in the process of putting shingles on the roof in the dark. Also, instead of buying a pack of ridge shingles (the ones that go on the top), I cut some of the shingles that I bought to size and ran them down the ridge. I think it came out pretty well.


Man, what a difference those columns make. Not only do they provide the necessary support for the front part of the roof, they make the place look much more inviting. Those ancient Greeks sure knew what they were doing.

Lap siding

Rather than spend a bunch of money on actual siding, I decided to make lap siding for the playhouse. Even though it's in plywood, it looks very nice. It looks even nicer painted.

More siding, paint, and windows

Here's more siding; we had to start caulking and painting right away, since plywood doesn't hold up to moisture very well. My wife decided on white and red, so I went to Home Depot and picked up the cheapest exterior paint I could find.

I also made some windows. The frames were made by cutting down some 2x4s with my table saw, cutting them at 45-degree angles at the joints, and carving out a channel for Plexiglas. They were a pain to make -- I don't recommend it. But it works, and after throwing some hinges on there, we've got some windows.

Door and paint

I made a door. I originally planned to do something really simple -- just framing up the door and throwing some plywood over it. In the middle of making the frame, I had a change of heart, and decided to use my table-saw to cut some channels into the 2x4s and 2x2s and mounted the plywood into the channels. I think it came out pretty well.

My wife, with the help of our 4-year old and 2.5-year old, painted the playhouse.

Fascia boards

Each time we added something new, it added so much to the look of the playhouse. The fascia boards we added were a very nice touch.

Exterior nearly done

With the last piece of siding done, the exterior is basically complete. All that's left is a bit more stain on the deck, a few more areas that need paint, and a solution for the gable; I haven't figured out what I'm going to do yet, but by the time I get the interior pictures up, I'm sure I'll have figured out something.

All in all, this project has cost about $550. Not too bad.
np category: DIY


Kristen said:
It looks really good, Josh!
May 19, 2008

Kendra said:
You did a great job. And the girls LOVE it. I just can't wait to finish the inside so that they can start playing in it. :)
May 19, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
Thanks, Kristen - but my wife deserves the credit for making it look good. She painted the walls, sanded/stained the deck and floor, and she's been busting her butt throwing up drywall. I may have made a decent structure, but she's the one turning it into a playhouse. :)
May 19, 2008

Kendra said:
Thanks for the credit honey... but we can call this 50/50. ;)
May 19, 2008

Mark said:
Morning J,

Looks good. I am wondering why a guy who is afraid of carpentry has an air compressor and nail gun. You used OSB again and did not use pressure treated 2x4's for the floor decking. You might get away with it if the house will only be in use for a few year. OSB is used for roof sheathing. Water does not touch it. Make sure you keep a healthy coat of paint on it. Any moisture will warp and deliminate OSB plywood. You can always call me next time. Suzanne can give you my number. Warning, advice will cost you some eggs. :)

May 20, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
Nah - I didn't use OSB again. I actually got this one built *before* the chicken coop. I just didn't finish the write up, so I delayed posting it. Most of it was done in March.

As for the 2x4s, I thought about that. I think that the staining should keep it good for a while. It'll be more upkeep, but I don't mind that; there's not that much square footage to worry about.

:: shrug ::

May 20, 2008

Lucaso said:
Now you just need a zip line to top it off! ;-)

Hope you're feeling better

May 20, 2008

jovial_cynic said:
haha... good plan, Luke.

I'm feeling alright. A little sore and stiff, which is to be expected after a fall like that... but I'm alright. Chad said it right, though - I tend to fully commit, so I was completely in the air, ready to go flying across the yard. I'm lucky I didn't land on my neck or head when that line broke... yeesh.

May 20, 2008

allison said:
How wonderful! And inspiring.... And for no experience, and the above mentioned fears, I think you did a fine job. I can't wait to see the inside!
May 20, 2008

brian said:
nice club house my pal and i r thinkin of building 1 to chill in with electrical outlets
March 02, 2009

Amanda said:
Thank you! After reading your comments with added oooppss, I feel better and will probably use this one

September 28, 2010

Woodworks Expert said:
Very nice article, Woodworks is my hobbies thats why I feel at home in this site.
I try to visit on this site soon to have some information regarding my woodworks plans.

November 18, 2010

jovial_cynic said:
Thanks, woodworks. Glad you liked it!
November 18, 2010

Basement Flooding said:
Thank you for taking the time and sharing this information with us.
It was indeed very helpful and insightful while
being straight forward to the point.

December 06, 2010

water damage restoration said:
Superb job done,kids will going to love this surely...
March 10, 2011

carpet cleaning dallas said:
Boy, do I wish I had something like that as a kid!
August 05, 2011

cash for junk cars said:
I admire your wood work. really interesting points you have written. wonderful articles. I am very enjoyed for this blog. Its an informative topic.I am appreciating it very much! Looking forward to another great blog. Good luck to the author! all the best!.
October 12, 2011

Water Damage Restoration said:
Excellent step by step photos and instructions. You made this stuff simple. Thanks for sharing!
December 27, 2011

water damage restoration said:
I love your creativity. Even with the same information, not many of us would make such a pretty piece of furniture.
January 03, 2012

mae said:
I really appreciate that you documented your whole process here. I am going to attempt the same thing and reading about and seeing what you did gives me confidence! Thanks so much!

January 30, 2012

nate a. said:
I like your design. Looks like it's almost been 4 years, how has the playhouse held up? What kind of weather has it had to endure? Thanks,nate
April 01, 2012

jovial_cynic said:
Hey nate -

Unfortunately, I moved from the home and the new owners took it down. Pretty heartbreaking - my kids loved it in there. But it endured just fine in the rain. That's pretty much washington weather.

April 03, 2012

florists canton ohio said:
This is a wonderful article, So much info given in it, These type of articles keeps the users interest in the website, keep on sharing more... good luck.
April 10, 2012

gifts delivery Pakistan said:
Excellent. Please keep up the good work for the concise and informative articles. This is more informative than other media, I really like following your blog as the articles are so simple to read..
June 04, 2012

add comments. you are limited to 5,000 characters:

<< your name
<< your email (won't be displayed)
<< your website / location
<< type these numbers: 170878 (plus 0NE)

(html -enabled- / no scripts)

<< Comments temporarily disabled >>

Rules: Don't spam. Don't harrass. Don't be a jerk. Your IP address ( will be logged.