Cheap DIY Playhouses

Written by laurenkrotosky
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Cheap DIY Playhouses
A playhouse can be built cheaply from a variety of materials. (Sean Murphy/Lifesize/Getty Images)

A playhouse is a whimsical space where kids can play and act out a secret fantasy world. Playhouses can be expensive, though, when purchased from a toy store. Instead, consider building a playhouse yourself, using materials you may already have on hand, like cardboard boxes or spare plywood.

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Plywood is cheap to purchase at a building store and is thin enough that it is easy to work with. Purchase five plywood squares of the same size, about 4 feet by 4 feet, and nail them together to make a box with one open side. Lay the house so that the open side is the floor. Cut out a rectangle door from one side using a handsaw, and let kids paint the house to finish it off.

Plastic Piping

Plastic piping, like PVC pipe from a building supply store, can be used to build a four sided frame for a playhouse. Build four squares using the piping glued together, then attach the four frames together with the glue to make an open air box. Cover the open sides with any material you have, like newspaper or poster board. Remember to leave one side open so kids can enter and exit the house.

Cardboard Box

A large cardboard box like a refrigerator box or television box can be used to make a playhouse in no time. You can cut the top flaps off the box and flip it over so the top is now the floor, and the bottom of the box is the ceiling. Cut out a door and windows and let kids decorate the outside with markers, crayons and paints. This is best suited for indoor use.


Fabric panels can be used to make an indoor playhouse, with the fabric acting in place of real walls. Create a box frame with wooden dowels from a craft store, nailing the dowels together to make a four sided cube. Hang the fabric over the dowels, securing in place with hot glue or staples. Kids can enter and exit the playhouse by sweeping the fabric aside like a curtain.

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