How to build a kid's clubhouse or playhouse

Written by david mcguffin
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How to build a kid's clubhouse or playhouse
Building a tree house or playhouse for your kids will guarantee their own personal space and outside playtime. (House on the tree image by Valery Shanin from

If you want to build a playhouse for your kids, there are virtually limitless options from which to choose. You may want to build a treehouse or a house on the ground. Alternatively, you also can choose to make a huge sandbox with a home-made house on stilts with a swing-set and slide. Regardless of your design, however, you will still need to form a house-like structure, which will serve as the foundation for this article.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 2x4s
  • 1/2 inch plywood
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Power drill
  • Screws
  • Stain
  • Brush
  • Level
  • String
  • Stakes
  • Concrete
  • Sand
  • Jigsaw
  • Speed square
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil and paper

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  1. 1

    Plan your kid's playhouse. When planning, make sure you have enough room to get inside of the playhouse yourself during the construction process, as well as afterward, so that you can play with your kids. It is also important to design it so that it is structurally sound, with wall studs placed about 16 inches apart. If you are using wood, it is also better employing screws and a power drill rather than hammer and nails, especially if you are in a location that receives a lot of annual precipitation. Add swing sets, slides and other finishing touches based on what your kid might enjoy throughout the next several years of playtime.

  2. 2

    Use string, stakes and a level to lay out the outline of the house in your yard. You may need to use sand and stone to help make a level foundation. Lay out stone blocks around your perimeter, making sure that they are the same height and are level with each other.

  3. 3

    Construct a floor joist band out of 2x4s that lies on top of the foundation. Drill and bolt in 4x4 posts for each of the four corners so that they are level and plumb, using a post level. Use a galvanised steel bolt and washer and nut tightened by a socket wrench in order to secure the posts.

  4. 4

    Install decking board around the floor joists notching them using jigsaws. Install the rest of the floor decking.

  5. 5

    Connect the four walls of your playhouse, placing the wall joists 16 inches apart and screwing them in using a power drill. Frame out and raise one wall at a time. Screw in the walls at the base plate going into the floor joist band. Be sure to frame out a window into your wall.

  6. 6

    Nail a framing cover for sheathing over the exterior of the walls, connecting them to each of the wall joists for added support and covering on the outside.

  7. 7

    Screw together the roof trusses. Attach 2x6 eves on top of the house walls. Attach the trusses to the eves, and then secure the plywood to the trusses. Tack roofing felt paper on top of the roof. Lay out asphalt shingles on top of the house. When installing the felt paper and shingles, always start at the bottom of the roof. Lay out the material overlapping towards the top.

  8. 8

    Add finishing touches, including silicone caulking over the seams in order to help waterproof the playhouse. Paint or stain the house. You may want to add windows or a deck, depending on your design or leave it open air and plain, allowing your kids to decorate the house as they wish.

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