DIY Network

How to Build a Deluxe Playhouse

This deluxe playhouse is constructed with solid framing techniques so your children can enjoy it for many years.

More in Outdoors

a playhouse can give children hours of enjoyment Watch Video
  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Build the Playhouse Base

Click here to view project plans.

The base of the playhouse is a 6' x 8' deck constructed from 2" x 8" boards, supported by two center joists, and covered with 1” x 6” decking planks. The deck will extend about 2' beyond the front of the playhouse to create a small porch.

Cut 2" x 8" boards to form a 6' x 8' rectangle. Cut the two side boards to 5' 9" instead of 6’ so that when placed inside the 8’ pieces the distance is exactly 6’. Butt-joint the baseboards together using 3" galvanized screws (Image 1).

Cut two floor joists from 2” x 8” boards to fit inside the base the long way. Attach the joists to base frame with galvanized screws (Image 2).

Cut the 1" x 6" decking planks to length and lay them perpendicular to the floor joists. Attach them to the base with galvanized screws. It is okay if the boards hang over the edge. To trim the overhanging deck boards, snap a chalk line on the ends of the planks and use a circular saw to trim them flush (Image 3).

Step 2: Build and Attach the Walls

Before attaching the rear and side walls, snap a chalk line 1/2" from the edges of the base on those sides to leave room for the wood siding. For the rear wall cut two 2" x 4" boards to a length of 7' 11" for the top and bottom pieces. Cut five 2" x 4" boards to 3’ 9” for the wall studs. Place two studs on the ends to form the wall and space the remaining three evenly between them. Screw in place between the top and bottom boards (Image 1).

For each side wall cut two 2" x 4" boards to a length of 3' 4" for the top and bottom pieces. Cut four 2" x 4" boards to 3’ 9” for the wall studs. Secure two at the ends to form the wall. Find and mark the center of the top and bottom boards then mark out 9" in both directions. Attach the remaining studs here to frame the window opening. Add 9" horizontal braces to finish framing out the 18"-square window frame (Image 2).

Construct the front wall the same as the back except add a cross brace between two studs 6" below the top board. This will frame out the door.

Place rear and side walls on base at chalk line and attach to each other and the flooring with galvanized screws. Place front wall on base adjacent to side walls and attach to walls and flooring with galvanized screws (Image 3).

Step 3: Construct the Roof

The struts, ridge board and rafters will all be cut from 2" by 4" boards. Cut roof struts to 14". Center on the top edge of the side wall frames and screw in place from the underside of frame. Toenail the struts for reinforcement. Cut the top ridge board to a length of 7' 11". Center on the two roof struts and screw into place.

The tops of the each rafter will be cut flush to the ridge board while the end will be mitered to sit flush on the tops of the front and back walls. Hold up a 2" x 4" next to the ridge board and wall to determine the angles for cuts. Mark the angles and make the cuts for all eight rafters. Screw rafters into place, positioning them atop wall studs for optimum support (Images 1 and 2).

Measure and cut two pieces of ½" plywood that match the roof’s dimensions. Position one piece of plywood and attach to the ridgepole and rafters with screws. Butt the second piece of plywood up against the first and attach in the same manner (Image 3).

Step 4: Complete Walls

Measure the walls to get exact dimensions and then cut sheets of wood siding to size with a circular saw. Mount the pieces vertically to the base and wall studs with galvanized screws (Image 1).

Use a jigsaw and reciprocating saw to cut the door opening. Smooth out the rough edges with a palm sander. Cut the window hole in the siding using a jigsaw. Miter-cut four pieces of quarter-round to frame the inside perimeter of the window opening (Image 2). Install the pieces adjacent to the siding in the window opening with finish nails. Insert an 18" sheet of Plexiglas® into the opening. Install another set of quarter-round pieces to hold the glass firmly in place.

Step 5: Shingle the Roof

Install the first row of shingles upside down along the lower edge of the roof. Use galvanized 7/8" roofing nails so the nails won't protrude through the underside of the plywood. Use four nails per shingle. The second layer should be positioned right side up to match all subsequent rows. Align the next row of shingles to overlap the first. Stagger the horizontal placement so that slats are covered. Overlap and stagger each row in this manner all the way to the ridgeline. Trim off any excess shingle with a utility knife (Image 1),

To cover the exposed ridge board, cut shingle sheets into single shingles and place them sideways over the apex of the roof so they overlap. Taper these single shingles on the bottom end so that these black areas don’t peek out from under the previous shingle (Image 2).

Step 6: Customize Your Playhouse

Now that the structure of the playhouse is complete, you can customize it to enhance its appeal. Consider adding a door made from wood siding. Paint the playhouse. Add ornamental shutters. Let your imagination be your guide.

All About…

More Topics