Design For Mankind · May 19, 2015

Our DIY Rock Climbing Wall

The text came from Ken while I was on the west coast: “Can I put the rock climbing wall in our bedroom?”

The rock climbing wall, I’d thought, was a project for later, but I’ve also never been good at predicting the milestones of a child. When Bee received her big girl room, it wasn’t until a three hour nap strike that I realized, Oh, of course. Yes, she can get out of her bed now. She can decide not to nap. The power is hers. This makes sense.

(Surely I’m not the only one parenting on the fly over here? Surely there is someone else who has no whits about how to raise these beings, who can only hope for more trial than error?)

And so, the time for rock climbing had begun. The energy of a nearly 3-year-old is unmatched, and Ken had a few hours at his disposal, and so, there they were, mounting onto the wall like spiders on a spout. The original plan had been to put the wall in her room, but our room has higher ceilings and more supervision, both of which seemed like necessities for a toddler on the go.

As most good ideas in our family are, the wall was Ken’s creation, and it was a true hit. Bee is enamored, climbing up and down and all around, growing mini Tarzan calves. And it wasn’t until I posted this on Instagram that I realized many of you loved it almost as much, and so, as promised, here’s the tutorial (if you can call it that!):


  • 2×4’s (either new or scrap)
  • 3 inch construction screws
  • Power drill with 1/8 inch bit
  • Screw gun
  • Stud finder
  • Saw
  • Sheet of 80 grit sand paper
  • Painter’s tape


  1. Cut the 2×4’s on a hand saw (Ken used a miter saw) no less than 4.5 inches in length; cut into desired geometric shapes to create “rocks.” (A note from Ken: Keep the integrity of the wood in mind while planning your shapes to be sure you won’t split the piece while hanging or climbing.)
  2. Sand all sharp edges down with 80 grit sand paper (using a palm sander will save a ton of time here, but you can instead use your hands if you’d like.) Do this outdoors or sneeze forever.
  3. Find your wall’s studs and tape a dotted line with painter’s tape to easily mark the studs.
  4. Hold piece firmly against the wall to first pre-drill each “rock” down the center in two places in line with your marked stud, with both pre-drilled holes at 3/4 – 1 inch from each end. Then, use your drill to screw the construction screws through the pre-drilled holes of the wood and directly into the wall to secure each “rock.” Use caution when screwing to ensure wood does not split (if any piece seems to be splitting, do not keep this as a “rock” – start over with a new piece!). Make sure “rock” is completely flat against the wall.
  5. Continue placing “rocks” in a desired pattern by choice; some of ours are close together for toddler feet, but feel free to challenge yourself!

Happy climbing, friends!

The post Our DIY Rock Climbing Wall appeared first on Design For Mankind.

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