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DIY Kid's Playhouse


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#1 daiking

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 03:53 PM

Is it worth trying to do this oneself or just buy a kit?

I don't have a stash of wood to use unless you count 2t of tree trunk rounds so I'd need to buy the wood. OSB ftw?

My kids are 7 & 3 so it doesnt need to be massive but some growing room would be good.

Edited by daiking, 22 July 2015 - 03:59 PM.


#2 hoss

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 04:22 PM

Do they want one, 3 year old might not know. I learnt the hard way when my kids were young, what you wanted when you were young can be totally different from what they want now.

#3 daiking

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 04:30 PM

View Posthoss, on 22 July 2015 - 04:22 PM, said:

Do they want one, 3 year old might not know. I learnt the hard way when my kids were young, what you wanted when you were young can be totally different from what they want now.
They would play in it and we keep missing out on cheap secondhand ones locally so I'm willing to cobble something together.

This thread should be viewed as 'a bit of fun' rather than a serious attempt to produce something better than off the shelf but cheap enough to take down in a couple of years when they outgrow it. Literally and metaphorically.

There's plenty of stuff about but I was fishing for ideas and sheet material uses

http://freebies.abou...se-plans.01.htm

Edited by daiking, 22 July 2015 - 04:34 PM.


#4 joiner

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 04:40 PM

For a couple or three years? OSB with a single-pitch, felted roof would be fine. Just make sure there is a reasonable overhang at the eaves all round.

Raised floor with the corner posts resting on paving slabs (or in holes and post-creted in).

Perspex the windows and just hang a simple door or make it with double doors (the "glazing" cut out of the OSB and perspex glazed).

Just keep it simple.

A verandah makes the simplest structure look good.

#5 iSelfBuild

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 07:30 PM

Get your hands on some shipping pallets and get nailing like crazy! There's some excellent free plans online.

#6 daiking

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 09:29 PM

View Postjoiner, on 22 July 2015 - 04:40 PM, said:

For a couple or three years? OSB with a single-pitch, felted roof would be fine. Just make sure there is a reasonable overhang at the eaves all round.

Raised floor with the corner posts resting on paving slabs (or in holes and post-creted in).

Perspex the windows and just hang a simple door or make it with double doors (the "glazing" cut out of the OSB and perspex glazed).

Just keep it simple.

A verandah makes the simplest structure look good.

I've got a couple of random paving slabs I was going to use as a base, 18mm OSB3 for the base, 9 or 11mm for the walls and roof depending on whats available.

Not worked out the frame/post details yet. This is going to be a summer job when I'm bored of crawling around in the floor void or loft.

#7 Onoff

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 11:04 AM

Let's be honest you'll build it then wonder why they're playing in the big cardboard box that the freezer/washing machine came in instead.............and having MORE fun! :lol:

I had grand plans for electric kiddie cars when my boy was little and tree houses etc. Never manage to get the projects finished (no surprise there) to my complete satisfaction tbh. There was the electric jeep (he had loads of fun on that):

https://www.youtube....h?v=wNEJr_WdLE4

Since had new, bigger wheels fitted but yet to complete, he'll be on the road for real by the time I do:

Attached File  P2140223.JPG   48.45K   2 downloads

Half abandoned that and was going to re-body a mobility scooter..............again yet to do.

The tree house, a bit of a problem as in no trees but................a wasps nest is holding the build up on this (I might be using that as an excuse tbh):

Attached File  18215289286_a0409d3d4e_z.jpg   48.41K   3 downloads

Whatever though do it soon or they'll be all grown up. If I had my time over again............blah, blah, blah! Maybe I'll get it all done for grandchildren!

#8 joiner

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 11:32 AM

The "toy" my two had the most fun and use out of were the sten-guns I made out of scrap lengths of tube and rectangular section (for the magazine). Ended up making them for a few other kids in the area too, although that got me into trouble with one mother whose son had assured me that he'd discussed the whole idea with her and that she was fine about it, having seen my lads with theirs slung over their shoulder when they were over at their farm. I accepted the kid's word because he was used to seeing shotguns around the farm but, as the mother explained, a shotgun was for vermin not, like a sten gun, for activities involving mass killing of people.

Must admit they did look pretty convincing, certainly enough to cause the local police sergeant to brake hard in his panda car, reverse back up the lane and ask to see one of the "guns" this group of lads were all sneaking along the hedgerow with. When he realized they weren't real and it was further explained that they were actually engaged in trying to avoid an ambush by "Germans", he spent five minutes instructing them on how best to advance up the lane to avoid being mown down by the spandau machine guns that he'd heard the "Germans" had recently been known to be in possession of. He was amazed to be told that they knew that already but thanks for the advice. I'd made two of those too, just to even the field a bit!

(And yes, I was an armourer and so knew the sten very well.)

And the girls did have a role to play - as nurses.

:D :D :D

#9 daiking

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 11:38 AM

View PostOnoff, on 23 July 2015 - 11:04 AM, said:

Let's be honest you'll build it then wonder why they're playing in the big cardboard box that the freezer/washing machine came in instead.............and having MORE fun! :lol:

I had grand plans for electric kiddie cars when my boy was little and tree houses etc. Never manage to get the projects finished (no surprise there) to my complete satisfaction tbh. There was the electric jeep (he had loads of fun on that):

https://www.youtube....h?v=wNEJr_WdLE4

Since had new, bigger wheels fitted but yet to complete, he'll be on the road for real by the time I do:

Attachment P2140223.JPG

Half abandoned that and was going to re-body a mobility scooter..............again yet to do.

The tree house, a bit of a problem as in no trees but................a wasps nest is holding the build up on this (I might be using that as an excuse tbh):

Attachment 18215289286_a0409d3d4e_z.jpg

Whatever though do it soon or they'll be all grown up. If I had my time over again............blah, blah, blah! Maybe I'll get it all done for grandchildren!
I'm not that bad but how do you learn unless you attempt a few quick and dirty projects?

Looking at something like an 8x4 18mm base, 6x4 9/11mm walls, 4x4 9/11mm walls, offcut for gables, another 2 sheets for a roof plus stud work to hold it together,

its not cheap! I'll leave it a bit to see how much random stuff is left over from the build.

As to the pallets, they seem as rare as hen's teeth now everyone has a WBS. I might have to go skip diving, up village.

Edited by daiking, 23 July 2015 - 11:38 AM.


#10 Onoff

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 11:53 AM

View Postdaiking, on 23 July 2015 - 11:38 AM, said:

I'm not that bad but how do you learn unless you attempt a few quick and dirty projects?

Looking at something like an 8x4 18mm base, 6x4 9/11mm walls, 4x4 9/11mm walls, offcut for gables, another 2 sheets for a roof plus stud work to hold it together,

its not cheap! I'll leave it a bit to see how much random stuff is left over from the build.

As to the pallets, they seem as rare as hen's teeth now everyone has a WBS. I might have to go skip diving, up village.

Kids will have a whale of a time. Just look at how cheap garden sheds / playhouses are put together and follow that. 2"x1" roof battens for the frame or similar. I'd put the base board up on blocks though rather than in direct contact with the ground. Would also make it tall enough for a) You/the missus to be dragged into - you will be B) Later on if you make it reasonably well it can become a general porpoise shed.

How much PIR are you putting in the roof then?

#11 daiking

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 12:36 PM

View PostOnoff, on 23 July 2015 - 11:53 AM, said:

Kids will have a whale of a time. Just look at how cheap garden sheds / playhouses are put together and follow that. 2"x1" roof battens for the frame or similar. I'd put the base board up on blocks though rather than in direct contact with the ground. Would also make it tall enough for a) You/the missus to be dragged into - you will be B) Later on if you make it reasonably well it can become a general porpoise shed.

How much PIR are you putting in the roof then?
I'm not sure even Jeremy would try convincing me to put PIR in a wendy house. But if I can scavenge enough off cuts from the site at the moment, I just might :P

#12 daiking

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 12:38 PM

View Postjoiner, on 23 July 2015 - 11:32 AM, said:

The "toy" my two had the most fun and use out of were the sten-guns I made out of scrap lengths of tube and rectangular section (for the magazine). Ended up making them for a few other kids in the area too, although that got me into trouble with one mother whose son had assured me that he'd discussed the whole idea with her and that she was fine about it, having seen my lads with theirs slung over their shoulder when they were over at their farm. I accepted the kid's word because he was used to seeing shotguns around the farm but, as the mother explained, a shotgun was for vermin not, like a sten gun, for activities involving mass killing of people.

Must admit they did look pretty convincing, certainly enough to cause the local police sergeant to brake hard in his panda car, reverse back up the lane and ask to see one of the "guns" this group of lads were all sneaking along the hedgerow with. When he realized they weren't real and it was further explained that they were actually engaged in trying to avoid an ambush by "Germans", he spent five minutes instructing them on how best to advance up the lane to avoid being mown down by the spandau machine guns that he'd heard the "Germans" had recently been known to be in possession of. He was amazed to be told that they knew that already but thanks for the advice. I'd made two of those too, just to even the field a bit!

(And yes, I was an armourer and so knew the sten very well.)

And the girls did have a role to play - as nurses.

:D :D :D

I am fast accumulating building materials that I have no further use for. I need to find ways to entertain my kids with them so they are not a complete loss.

i'm going to bury some flexible conduit in the garden so the kids can have one of those buried talking pipes you find in parks.

#13 joiner

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 12:48 PM

Unless the structure itself is heavy enough to withstand the (very) rough and tumble of kids, I'd advise fixing the corner posts.

I know from the times I had to repair one customer's play house that the temptation for one of them (usually the daughter) barricades one of the others (usually a small brother - no wonder little sisters are so hated :rolleyes:) into it, is too great to resist and the consequent mayhem is enough to displace an unfixed structure off its base.

Although I recommended perspex in that post above, I eventually had to replace all the perspex in that customer's play house with laminated glass with arrised edges because having regularly to replace it was getting a bit expensive.

#14 Onoff

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 01:08 PM

Tbh, if I was doing the tree house etc again I'd just make up 4 "stud walls" and join securely at the corners. Saves a lot of messing about.

#15 joiner

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 01:30 PM

Agreed. You don't need fancy framing if the board is structurally sound. 18mm should do it.

Windows can be formed by simply cutting a square out, or squares if you want them 'multi-paned' and then just stick and pin thin moulded sections over the outside, overlapping the edges of the holes to give something for the glazing to abut to (if using laminated glass) and to smarten the cut outs a bit and then fix the "glazing" with bead from the inside, using a clear acrylic sealant to both seal and fix the glass. If using perspex then the glazing can consist simply of one sheet pinned in place.

The "door" need be nothing more than a large rectangular hole with a large rectangular piece of wood hinged into it, preferably with a window in the door.

I did think to start knocking play houses up to fill time whilst waiting for paint to dry in the workshop, or to fill time between jobs, but:

1. I never had any time to fill between jobs and...

2. I could buy the things in cheaper than I could make them good enough to charge for them!

#16 raven57

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 05:42 PM

Acquired a really over specified treehouse in the garden of the house we bought last year. Made from 4x2s, decking floor and roof was sheets of 22mm marine ply with tar shingles. Had to demolish it as was on old spruce tree trunks that were very rotten at the tops. You can perhaps tell how strongly built it was from the way it didn't really collapse when cut down:

https://www.youtube....h?v=Nop9prvRtdQ

Have made some very large compost bins from the remains.

#17 jsharris

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 06:10 PM

View Postjoiner, on 23 July 2015 - 11:32 AM, said:

(And yes, I was an armourer and so knew the sten very well.)


My ex-F-i-L gave me a Sten, wrapped in oily rags and with a load of ammo. It was a "souvenir" from his time as a major in a certain regiment based at Hereford, "captured" some time during the 50's, probably Suez I suspect. He assured me it was deactivated and safe, and gave it to me knowing I liked playing with all things technical. The first challenge was, of course, to get it to work! Having stripped it, with no manuals or instructions (this was years before such things were available on the web) it looked to be in good condition (it really is a very simple bit of kit, pretty crappily made to be honest). Having loaded the mag and manually cocked it it would fire a single round OK, but when we looked at it closely we found that the extractor had been ground down, so the spent casing wouldn't be pulled out and ejected. I went into the model shop at work (inside the wire at Culdrose!!!) and before long we had a new extractor made and everything seemed to function as it should (it's direct recoil operated, no fancy gas pistons etc, so it's relatively easy to check whether bits are doing as they should without firing it).

The time came to test it for real, so I loaded up the mag and took it down to United Downs, a nice derelict place well out of the way, where someone playing around with a sub-machine gun wouldn't be noticed. I'm pleased to say that it worked very well, but scared me shitless. My ex-F-i-L had warned that, being recoil operated, it tended to jump up a bit, and that the standard way of firing it was to hold it down hard, aim low and allow for the fourth or fifth round to be above your opponents head height. He was dead right, what he hadn't warned me of was that, for a novice, you tended to adopt a "death grip" on the trigger, so ended up emptying the entire magazine with the last few round going near-vertical....................

I gave it to the publican of the pub in Carharrack, who was a known gun collector, and told him to say that he had no idea where it came from is he was ever caught. I think I had free beer in the Star for at least a year or two, probably until I parted with wife number one................

Edited by jsharris, 23 July 2015 - 06:12 PM.


#18 ProDave

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 06:22 PM

On the subject of guns (way off topic)

I was rewiring a house in a remote Sutherland coastal village that was an ex police house. My friend had bought the police station and the two police houses at auction when the police station there closed. So they were freshly "demobbed"

I folded back a bit of the loft insulation next to the loft hatch and there underneath it was an old WWII rifle.

We debated what to do with it. I wanted to go and hand it in and I would have delighted in telling the story that it was found in the loft of a police house so it must have been left there by a previous (presumably a policeman) tenant.

But the owner didn't want the hastle, so I believe it's now at the bottom of the Moray Firth somewhere.

#19 joiner

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 06:45 PM

Just to round off the sten story.

The story we were told as young boy-entrants was that they were made specifically to use all the 9mm ammunition that the allies found on captured enemy troops (although in 1941 that wouldn't have been much because we weren't at that time doing much capturing of German troops!).

The early versions were lethal in that if dropped on their butt it would fire off a round.

They weren't made to "take aim with" because, as Jeremy says, they'd spray bullets all around a room, which made them ideal close combat weapons because if you kick a door down and charge into a house you haven't got time to assess a situation and pick a target, you just want to spray bullets around a room to make whoever is in there duck and not concentrate too hard on firing back at you.

But anyway, back to little girls and their play houses.... :rolleyes:

#20 Onoff

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 08:06 PM

I love the story about The Troubles in Ireland. The Sten was so simple that in WW2 it could be easily made in occupied countries with limited machining facilities. The PIRA later on cottoned on to this and started producing their own. Something went on whereby suitable tubing for the barrel was made hard to get.

I have seen pictures, think it was in the TA hall years ago of a "Sten" made with a barrel made from thick walled SQUARE BOX SECTION! :lol: And it worked too.

Pray & spray!

My older brother has Army trophies for the SLR & Stirling.

My kids stop at firing NERF guns from the tree house at me.