We built a playhouse from pallets and you can too!
Build a playhouse with pallets and create a space for your children that they can call their very own.
With a little bit of planning, and the proper tools, you can design, build, and decorate a playhouse that will stand up to the wear and tear that your kids will inflict upon it, as well as the weather. Using a few basic building techniques, your child’s playhouse can be fun, functional, and structurally sound.
A few weeks (okay maybe months) a big gust of wind flattened a tree in our yard. We thought it would be a great opportunity to a) chop it up and give it to my husband Kat’s parents as firewood and b) build a pallet playhouse in its place. Kat thought I was crazy, but like a dutiful husband he bought pallets from from his work. He later admitted he thought they would have just sat there, untouched for a year. It wasn’t until I decided to have a crack at building it myself that he showed any interest… I think the excuse to buy new tools was also part of the attraction.
Cost to build a pallet playhouse
I’m very proud of this little house we made our kids.
The whole project costs us $140:
- $0 pallets – free from my Hubby’s work – apparently they have to pay to get rid of them!
- $50 extra wood $2.01m at Bunnings (a local hardware store)
- $50 nails for the 3 bags – we also reused some of the original pallet nails. The roofing nails cost the most at $19 a bag.
- $40 roofing plastic. Obviously you could avoid this cost if you had a wooden pallet roof or used a tarpaulin or something similar.
Plus we had to buy a few tools because we’ve never DIY’ed before… but I hope it’s something we do again soon.
What we used
- 10 pallets (we actually had about 20 on hand which we used for spare parts).
- 12 pieces x 2m long wood
- 10 x 20cm long wood
- 5 x 10cm long pieces
- Roofing nails
- Corrugated plastic – 4 sheets
- Mini chalk board
- Bag 100 x 6.5mm nails
- Bag 60 x 4.5mm nails
- Hand saw
The Build Process:
So it started sorta like this. I dragged the pallets to the corner of the garden to see how large we could make this thing. All I knew is that it had to have windows and a little porch. I had a few images drawn up in my sketch book, but Kat completely took over this project and I think it turned out even better because he did!
The window that started it all.
The end result – thought I had better show you up front, so you want to keep reading!
Firstly we decided where the play house would go – just to determine the biggest it could be. The design was changed several times, first with a window on the side and a door and window on the front, but they we soon realised the kids wanted a window each so the door was moved to the side.
After figuring how big it could be we sourced our pallets. They originally had a lot of gaps, so my handy hubby dismantled boards to fill the gaps. Making two full pallets for the floor, another 2 for the side and back walls and 2 for the deck. He used 1 and a half pallets on the front, putting a window in each and ½ a pallet to leave room along the other side for the door. We debated making a door, but we figured there might be enough unwanted splinters without adding crushed fingers to the mix – our kids love to fight.
As I already said I sketched a few designed, but Kat had his own idea and during the course of the week of construction he drew and redrew the plans, every time I saw him he had ‘had another thought’ about the project… this from the guy who bought home the pallets and then joked they’d sit there for another year. He wasn’t really into the whole thing… until I tried to make a ‘window’, which apparently I was doing all wrong, and he took over from there. Once I showed him my Pinterest board full of playhouses he was even more motivated. He wasn’t sure a pallet play house could ever look cool. But it can… and it does!
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We built the house on flat land (where our outdoor table normally sits). After sitting all the pieces on place to determine everything would fit we started nailing things in place. Kat thought we might need a nail gun and went in search of one… I think he actually just wanted to ‘use’ a nail gun, but when he found out the cost to hire, he decided that good old fashioned hard work would do.
Firstly he nailed the two base pallets together – using 4 of the long nails. He bent the ends which we sticking out slightly, which made them nice and tight and much safer.
The he attached the walls to the base. Using 3 or 4 of the longer nails for each piece. Because the front and back walls were made up on two pieces he joined them together with a 2m long piece of wood. He then used small left over pallet board to attach the corners together – nailing at an angle to ensure the two pieces were connected.
He then nailed 5x 10cm long pieces to the back of a 2m long piece, and then nailed it right sight up along the back wall. He did the same with but with 2 rows of 20cm pieces to the front and nailed it in place. We decided to go for this method because our kids are taller than your average, it would also work to place two pallets on the roof and have a more ‘cube’ looking cubby house.
We then place 5 2m long pieces across the cubby, from front to back, these were then shortened after we put the roofing on. To make sure the roof was a little more secure we then placed 3 more 2m long planks across the playhouse, at the front, back and middle. We then used roofing nails to attach the roof to these planks.
I suggested we built the house in the corner where it would sit, but my hubby wanted a nice flat surface to make it easier to hammer the nails… he then also had to find 8 strapping men to help him move it to the desired location.
We too progress pictures throughout the process. The kids and I experimented with different decorations during the process. But we agreed the chalk board, a few beer crates and a concrete planter from kmart looked the best.