How to build a simple wooden playhouse

Written by susan patterson Google
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How to build a simple wooden playhouse
Encourage year-round fun with a simple wooden playhouse. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Many playhouse designs are so elaborate that they require a master architect to interpret. Parents often get the project done just in time for their kids to move on to another mode of play. A practical solution is to construct a simple wooden playhouse that will not drain the bank or take weeks to complete. Although some carpentry experience is useful, a basic playhouse design using plywood is not an overwhelming project. Nestle the wooden playhouse among trees for shade and to add an element of mystery to playtime.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 3/4-inch plywood
  • 2 sawhorses
  • Circular saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Ruler
  • Handsaw
  • 2-by-4-inch boards
  • 3-inch wood screws
  • 2-inch wood screws
  • Sander and sandpaper
  • Outdoor wood paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Wood trim (optional)
  • Shingles (optional)

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Lay a piece of 3/4-inch plywood across sawhorses. Cut the plywood to form a 4-by-4-foot square. This will be a side wall of the playhouse. Repeat to make a second side wall.

    How to build a simple wooden playhouse
    Using sawhorses to cut plywood will help prevent the plywood from splinting while cutting. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Place another sheet of 3/4-inch plywood across the sawhorses. Cut this sheet into a 4-by-6-foot rectangle. This will be the front of the playhouse. Repeat this process for the back of the playhouse. Mark the back and front plywood pieces to know which is which.

  3. 3

    Place the front and back pieces of plywood on top of each other on the sawhorses, with the front piece on top. Mark a location on the left side of the front board, 4 feet from the bottom of the board. Mark the same location on the left side. Mark a third location on the top of the front board, in the middle of the sheet. Use a ruler to draw a straight line from the top mark to one of the side marks. Repeat for the other side mark. Cut through both sheets of plywood along these lines to make a point at the top of the board.

  4. 4

    Place the two side pieces on top of each other on the sawhorses. Draw a 12-by-12-inch square in the centre of the top piece of plywood. Cut through both pieces of the plywood along the square's line using a handsaw. These squares will be the windows.

  5. 5

    Place the front piece of plywood across the sawhorses. Draw a 3-by-4-foot rectangle in the centre of the sheet to use for a door. The bottom of the rectangle should be the bottom of the plywood. Cut out the door with a handsaw.

  6. 6

    Cut two lengths of 2-by-4-inch lumber, 48 inches long. Cut two more lengths of 2-by-4-inch lumber, 44 inches long. Place the two longer lengths parallel to each other and 44 inches apart. Position the shorter lengths of lumber in between the longer lengths, forming a 4-foot square. Screw the square together with 3-inch wood screws. This structure is a support for a side wall. Repeat to build a second support.

  7. 7

    Lay one of the side support structures flat on top of the sawhorses. Place one of the plywood side pieces with a window over the support. Arrange the plywood so the sides are in line with the support sides. Screw the plywood to the sides with 3-inch wood screws. Repeat with the other side board.

  8. 8

    Lean one of the side walls with supports against one of the sawhorses. Position the back piece of plywood along the back of the side wall. The two walls should form an "L" shape. Screw the back wall to the side wall's supports with 2-inch wood screws. The top point of the back wall should be sticking out above the side wall.

  9. 9

    Place the second side wall in a parallel fashion across from the first side wall. Screw the back wall to the second side wall supports with 2-inch wood screws. The three walls should form a boxy "U" shape.

  10. 10

    Slide the front wall between the two side walls, in line with their ends. Screw the front wall to the both side wall supports with 2-inch wood screws. The four walls should now form a cube with two points sticking up.

  11. 11

    Cut two sheets of plywood measuring 2-by-4 feet. Place the two newly cut pieces on top of the playhouse to form a triangular roof. Screw the plywood to the side wall supports with 2-inch wood screws. Repeat on the other side of the point to finish the roof of the playhouse. Leave no gap between the two roof pieces.

  12. 12

    Sand the entire playhouse to remove any splinters. Paint the playhouse with an outdoor paint. Allow it to dry completely. Place the playhouse in a flat area close to a window of your home for safe play.

Tips and warnings

  • Install trim around the door and windows.
  • Install roofing shingles for a more finished look.
  • Make a base with wood decking to place the playhouse on. This will prevent water from pooling in the playhouse and causing mud.
  • Allow children to paint and add personal touches to the playhouse.
  • Wear safety protection when operating power tools.

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