A Beautiful Mess

abeautifulmess.com · Jun 25, 2018

A-Frame Playhouse DIY

Alright guys!! Most requested blog DIY ever. Here we go! Time to show you how we built this a-frame playhouse!!! This playhouse sits right next to the mid-century playset (which has swings and a slide) and they make a really cute pair.

Here are few photos inside the a-frame before we jump into the DIY!

As some of you may remember, we built these during our wait to adopt Nova and it is one of the most gratifying and heart-filling things on this planet to finally spend our days playing in them.

Here are the DIY steps, supplies and the cost to build it:

Supplies:
-eight 4″ x 4″ x 6′ pressure treated posts ($52.96)
-four 50-lb bags of fast setting concrete ($21.84)
-sixteen 2″ x 4″ x 8′ pressure treated boards ($63.52)
-eight 2″ x 4″ x 8′ boards ($29.76)
-two 3/4″ x 4′ x 8′ pressure treated plywood ($67.58)
-eight 2″ x 3″ x 8′ boards ($17.02)
-one 2″ x 6″ x 8′ board ($6.02)
-fourteen 3/4″ x 12″ x 8′ boards ($206)
-one 1/2″ x 2′ x 4′ plywood ($13.67)
-two 1/2″ x 4″ x 6′ boards ($8.34)
-four 5/8″ x 4″ galvanized steel lag bolts & washers ($26)
-twelve 1/4″ x 8″ self drilling screws ($15.24)
-two boxes of 2″ wood screws ($23.45)
-ten 2′ x 8′ galvanized steel corrugated roof panels ($102.50)
-one 10″ x 8′ galvanized steel roof top ($21.62)
-one box of self tapping sheet metal screws ($5.78)
-two door hinges ($4.05)
-two door handles ($10.15)
-one gallon of exterior paint & primer ($39.89)
-one gallon of oil base exterior paint ($39.89)
-one gallon of Cabot Clear Wood Protector ($31.99)
-waterproof caulk ($3.74)
-yard flags (optional)

Total $844.77

Tools:
-post hole diggers
-drill
-compound miter saw
-4′ level
-ratchet with 1/2″ socket (for 5/8″ lag bolts)
-5/8′ drill bit
-tape measure
-one 6′ ladder
-pneumatic nail gun
-jigsaw
-paint brush

First, decide how big you want the base of your playhouse to be. Ours is 6′ x 8′. Measure out and mark the 4 corners of the playhouse in the grass with some yard flags and with your post hole diggers, dig a hole in each 4 corners about 1 1/2′ deep. Take a few of your 4″ x 4″ x 6′ pressure treated posts and cut them to your desired height you want the base to be and place them into the holes. Keep in mind each post you cut will be a different height, so in order to account for unevenness of the ground, you want the tops of each post to completely level with each other. Here is a pretty easy and foolproof way to make sure that happens … Start by placing one post in a hole and pouring in some concrete all around the base of that post. Add some water and mix with a stick. Make sure the post is completely level and wait about 20 minutes until it’s semi set and isn’t going to move on you. Repeat these steps for each post, making sure each post is level with the last one you already set in concrete.

Take your 2″ x 4″ x 8′ pressure treated boards and cut them to make the frame, starting with the 4 outside boards. Fasten them with wood screws and then take your 5/8′ drill bit and pre-drill your holes for your lag bolts. Take your ratchet and your lag bolts and fasten them to all 4 posts. Next, take more of your 2″ x 4″ x 8′ pressure treated boards and make a grid on the inside of the frame to support your plywood floor. There is no wrong way to do this, you can look at the first picture and see it is a little random. Take your 3/4″ x 4′ x 8′ pressure treated plywood and lay them down on your base and fasten them with wood screws all along the sides. (I got our local hardware store to cut one of my pieces of plywood for me.)

Next, take your 2″ x 4″ x 8′ boards and cut the bottom ends to be flush with the ground and the tops to be flush with the center support beam with your miter saw. This will make the “A-Frame” part. I wish there was an exact way to teach how to cut these angles, but it is going to depend on the size of your playhouse. You will have to do some trial and error to figure out the exact degrees of these angles. Use your 1/4″ x 8″ self drilling screws to fasten all of the boards to the base of the playhouse and to the top center beam ( 2″ x 6″ x 8′ board) as shown above. If your a-frame roof feels a bit wobbly or unstable, don’t worry, the next step will take care of that!

Take your 2″ x 3″ x 8′ boards and cut them into 32 support pieces for in between each post of the a-frame roof. This will make your a-frame roof secure and sturdy and also creates supports for the metal roof panels you will add in a little bit. Take a few more of your 2″ x 3″ x 8′ boards and frame out the front door. Our door is 2′ x 4′ but you can customize the size for your own. Next, take your 3/4″ x 12″ x 8′ boards and cut them for the front and back sides of the playhouse. The easiest way to make these angled cuts (at least for me anyway!) is to hold up one board at a time, making sure it’s level and then take a pencil and trace those angles and place it on your miter saw and match the angle of the blade to the pencil mark. Make sense? Good! I did this with each board starting from the bottom and worked my way up and used my pneumatic nailgun to fasten them to the frame.

The front door is pretty simple, above is all of the pieces laid out so you can see. I was able to buy this piece of plywood already cut to 2′ x 4′ which made it super easy. i just took my 1/2″ x 4″ x 6′ boards and cut them to fit as the trim. Glue or nail all of the pieces together.

Take your 2′ x 8′ galvanized steel corrugated roof panels and fasten them to the roof using your self taping metal screws. This part is pretty easy; simply lay the panels against the frame one at a time and screw them down, making sure they overlap about 2″ every panel. Once those are up you can grab your rooftop panel and lay it over the top and screw down the sides along both sides. You will have an open gap on the top either side of your roof panel, so what i did was take a small scrap piece of wood and hold it up to the gap and trace the shape. I then grabbed my jigsaw and cut out the funny shape so that it fit in the empty gap. Repeat this for the other side as well. Take your door and your hinges and install the door. To trace out the circle for the window, I traced out the desired size on a piece of cardboard first, cut it out and used that as a template to trace on the a-frame. Once I had it traced perfectly on the wood, I got a drill bit and drilled a pilot hole for my jigsaw blade to fit in and slowly cut out the circle. Repeat this on the opposite side of the playhouse.

NOTE: After almost a year of wear, our painted roof has held up poorly. Instead of painting your roof we recommend not painting it or buying metal that is already painted (must be intended for outdoor projects). This is our one and only regret/learning that we would do differently.

Next, the porch! This is pretty similar to the base of the playhouse. Once you decide the design/size you want, dig some holes in the corners of the porch for your posts and set them in concrete the same way you did for the playhouse. Once the posts are all set, frame out the outside of the porch and then screw in cross braces in between to support the floor all with your 2″ x 4″ x 8′ pressure treated boards. As you can see in the picture above, I attached some of the braces to the actual playhouse.

Once the porch is framed out, you’re ready for the floor pieces! Take your 3/4″ x 12″ boards and cut them to the correct length to fit onto the porch frame and screw them down with screws. Now if you’re planning on painting the wood on the a-frame, don’t forget to caulk any cracks first! If you’re leaving it natural, use your Cabot clear wood protector and brush it on to make it waterproof. Do this with the entire porch too!

This project is straight out of my dreams and I still can’t believe it’s real! Collin did such a beautiful job building it and making my sketches into a reality. I know it will be a magical part of Nova’s childhood!

We have so much fun playing in it together. She mainly cooks me noodles and coffee on repeat and I act extremely excited about them every single time. Life is beautiful!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments! xx. Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson and Collin DuPree. Photography: Amber Ulmer.

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