How to Build a Cheap Playhouse

Written by dawn marcotte
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How to Build a Cheap Playhouse
Small Fabric Playhouse (The playhouse on a lawn in the summer image by Arkady Chubykin from

Children's playhouses come in many shapes, sizes and cost levels. Utilise plastic PVC pipe and a tarp to create a mobile, inexpensive playhouse that can be used inside and outside. This playhouse can be quickly assembled for a single afternoon of play or left standing for several days. The materials are light and will blow away in a strong wind unless the house is tied down. The following design will create a playhouse that is 60-inches long and approximately 4-feet tall.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hacksaw to cut pipe as needed
  • Tape measure
  • 1/2 inch PVC pipe in 30-inch lengths -- 6
  • 3/4 inch PVC pipe in 8-foot lengths - 3
  • 3/4 inch T connector -- 6
  • 3/4 inch PVC pipe in 2-inch lengths - 4
  • 3/4 inch corner connectors - 4
  • Rubber mallet hammer
  • Tarp -- 8 feet square
  • Large bulldog clips
  • Utility knife

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    How to Make a Cheap Playhouse

  1. 1

    Cut the 1/2-inch PVC pipe into 30-inch lengths if it is not purchased in this size. Cut the 2/4-inch pipe into 8-foot lengths.

  2. 2

    Hammer a T connector onto one end of the first 30-inch length of PVC pipe. The T should face vertically when the pipe is laid down on the ground. Insert a second length of 30-inch pipe into this connector to create a length of pipe approximately 60 inches long. Hammer another T connector onto the both ends of the new length of pipe with the T facing the same way as the first T connector. Repeat with another 2 lengths of 30-inch PVC pipe. These will be the base of two sides of the playhouse.

  3. 3

    Insert a 2-inch length of 3/4-inch pvc pipe into the T connectors on each end of the 60-inch pipe lengths. This will provide a section of pipe to attach the corner connectors. Hammer a corner connector onto the end of each 2-inch length of pipe so that when the pipe is laid flat on the ground the T connectors are vertical and the corner connector is horizontal to the ground.

  4. 4

    Lay the lengths of pipe on the ground parallel to each other so the corners turn toward each other to create the outline of a rectangle. Insert a 30-inch length of PVC pipe into two corners to create a third side of the rectangle. Repeat with the other two corners. This is the base of the playhouse.

  5. 5

    Insert one end of the 1/2-inch PVC pipe over a T connector and bend the pipe to insert the other end over the T connector on the opposite side. This will create a vertical hoop shape. Repeat with two more lengths of 1/2-inch PVC pipe. Utilise duct tape to secure the pipe at each join, if desired

  6. 6

    Lay the tarp over the playhouse frame. Adjust the tarp so all sides are covered. Clip the tarp to the frame along the bottom on three sides with the large bulldog clips. Clip the top of the tarp to the top of the framework. Cut a slit in the tarp along one side to create door flaps.

Tips and warnings

  • Use fabric for a cover instead of a tarp.

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