How to Build a PlayhouseWork Hard, Play Hard

So you want to build a playhouse! There are lots of playhouses that you can find at toy stores, but as you probably already know, they can get pretty pricey. We are always a fan of creating DIY versions of popular household items or children’s toys, so we decided it was time to design an epic DIY playhouse. This is one of those projects that just kept growing and growing until we came up with the ultimate final product. This project certainly requires effort, but your handmade playhouse will last for years to come, and you have the option to customize the fabrics to make the perfect getaway for your little ones.

Tools & Materials to Build a Playhouse

The main materials that we used to make this DIY playhouse are fabric and PVC pipe. We found all of our fabric at Fabric.com, and then picked out our pipes and fittings at our local hardware store. 

  • Sewing Machine
  • Serger
  • Rotary Cutter 
  • Ruler
  • Small Scissors (Snips)
  • Hand Saw (for cutting the pipe)
  • Fabric 
  • PVC Pipe and Fittings
  • Black and White Thread
  • Velcro 
  • Heat N Bond
  • Air Erasing Fabric Pen 
  • Fray Check
  • Wooden Door Knob

Building the Playhouse Structure

You can find our DIY playhouse plans in the download at the bottom of the post. It includes a diagram of how PVC pipes fit together and the fittings you will need for the structure. On the second page of the diagram, there is a guide for the sizes of each PVC pipe. We cut down our pipe lengths by using a regular hand saw. 

Preparing Each Panel of Fabric

Each of the four panels were prepared individually first, and then sewn together.

  1. Start by picking out your fabrics for the siding, roof and window trim. You also have the option to add extra bottom detailing around the house. Our measurements are below:
  2. Trim the fabric for the front panel of the house, with an additional 2 inches of fabric on each side. 
  3. Cut out fabric pieces for your window trim. The two-pane windows are 16 x 10 3/4″ all together and the six-pane windows are 16 x 24″ (indicated in PDF template below).
  4. Fuse the window trim fabric to your siding fabric with two sheets of Heat N Bond. 
  5. Print the 5 x 5 3/4″ window template from the download below onto sturdy cardstock. Trace each pane onto the fabric using a disappearing ink marker, leaving 2 1/2″ trim around the window. Then, cut each square out of the fabric. We used a rotary cutter so that the lines would be straight, and then cleaned it up after with small snips. 
  6. Add some fray check along the inner edges of the windows so that the fabric won’t fray. 
  7. If you are adding the bottom detailing, simple serge the two fabrics together. 
  8. To add the door to the front panel, measure 47″ high and 22″ wide. Mark a 2 1/2″ trim going around the door and cut out the door opening with a rotary cutter.

Sewing the Fabric Panels Together

Our general technique to build our playhouse was to make the frame of the structure, and then drape the fabric over the frame. After creating each fabric wall, you will have to sew them together before you can place it over the playhouse.

  1. Cut out your roof panel. For our roof we cut two pieces of fabric and serged them together at the apex of the roof. To do this, let the fabric overlap by about a 1/2″, and then serge where the fabrics overlap. 
  2. Serge the two side panels of the house to either side of the roof. Again, let the fabric overlap (with the roof panel on the outside of the serged seam) by about a 1/2″. 
  3. Next, attach the front and back panels. Straight stitch the front panel to the roof leaving an additional 1/2 of fabric from the wall and the roof inside the straight stitch. After stitching the two fabrics together, serge the additional 1/2″ of the two fabrics to make it more secure.
  4. Repeat this straight stitch and serging technique with the vertical edges of the playhouse.
  5. Fit the entire fabric piece over the PVC frame.
  6. Add a line of velcro to the bottom of the fabric and to the inside of the PVC pipe to secure the fabric to the frame.  

Making the Playhouse Door

The last step in building your playhouse is adding a door. 

  1. Start by picking out a fabric for your door. We used a solid teal cotton material, but this is a great opportunity to do some customizing in your project. 
  2. Find the PVC frame outline diagram in the PDF at the bottom of the post to build the structure of the door. 
  3. Cut two pieces of fabric to create a slipcover for the door (our door is between 16 and 17 inches wide). 
  4. Sew 4 velcro loops on the left side of the door. These will become the door hinges. 
  5. Remove a circular piece of the fabric to add in the door knobs. 
  6. Velcro the door to the left side of the door frame.  

More Inspiration

Now that you know how to build a playhouse, you can find more projects to fill the playhouse with. Our favorite is our DIY play kitchen, which you can make out of brown moving boxes that you probably already have laying around the house. Browse through all of our DIY toys to see more projects to make for your little ones, or head over to our membership page to start downloading. Are you planning on making this playhouse? Please share your photos with us! We love to see how our projects inspire you. Share your photos on Instagram using #DIYDreamingWithLia, or email them in to hello@liagriffith.com. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for daily inspiration, or leave a comment below with a project you would like to see us make in the future. Cheers! ~ Lia & Team 

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