Picture of How to Build A Ball Pit On Your Balcony
A lot of people have asked me “Why would you, as an adult, want to own a ball pit?” And the answer every time is “because of this xkcd comic.” There’s something about a ball pit that just screams PURE FUN. You cant sit in a ball pit and not smile. It’s like you turn to jello and float on plastic bubbles of multi-colored joy. I have spent a large portion of my summer in my balcony ball pit, and I could go on about stress-relieving effects, or about “deciding what ‘being an adult’ means in the 21st century”, or even about how this is probably something you dreamed about as a child/teenager/college student, but really, it’s a ball pit on a balcony. How does that NOT sound awesome?

What You'll Need

Play pen balls (approx. $0.20/ball)
Wood (varies depending on size)
Foam padding ($20/pack)
Screening ($10/roll)
Glue ($3-5)
Hammer ($10)
Nails ($5)
Staple Gun ($20)
Staples ($3)
L-brackets ($10)
tarp (if outdoors, $10)
Child’s basketball net ($5)
Inflatable shark ($2)

P.S. If you're going to repost this, please be sure to include a link to the original post on my website: http://kevinjameshunt.com/ball-pit-balcony/how-to-build-a-ball-pit-on-your-balcony/ - Thanks!

Step 1: Decide On Your Size And Location

Picture of Decide On Your Size And Location
Unless you have an extremely large budget, you will probably not want to fill your living room with playpen balls, as this will be quite costly. A small spare room or, as we’ve done, a balcony/patio area can be great because you can partition off part of the area for the ball pit, allowing you to keep the size (and therefore cost) to a minimum. If you’re choosing to use your balcony, be sure that it has a roof or that you will otherwise be able to seal the area so no balls to escape and no water or outside dangers (such as bugs) can get in. Also remember that the position of you ball pit is important for both safety and economical reasons. Building your ball pit in a corner, for instance, can eliminate the need for you to build two sides of your frame.

Depending on the number of people you want to fit into it, partitioning a 4′x8′ section will give you plenty of space for 3-4 people to play in, or 1-2 people to really jump around in. 3′ tall should be enough for the average person to climb in and out of. You should also consider how deep you want your balls to be. We felt about 2.5 ft deep would be enough to immerse a seated person while still not feeling like you’re drowning in balls, or without them spilling over. This calculator, which has been very accurate in my experience, will help you estimate the amount of balls you will need and the approximate amount you should expect to pay for them.
Igioteno5 months ago
Where did you get the balls. I really want a ball pit.
Thanks for sharing!

That would actually be kinda cool to just relax and watch TV or play videogames or something in, bring the remote, remotes, or remotes and controller into the pit with you.

ben77982 years ago
woo hoo a ball pit that doesn't smell like pee!!!!!!!!
LadyPaine3 years ago
I am SOOOOOOO glad you made this Instructable, ever since I seen that comic I've wanted to turn a room in my home into a ballpit, and now I have a reason to clean out the closet under my stairs ^_^ and the great part about that, is that by the time I get it done, my daughter will be old enough to enjoy it with me
13thstar3 years ago
In addition, I want to play in it but where can I find friends to play with me? Aloha and peace from Maui!
13thstar3 years ago
I love this!!!! I just turned 60 years old and I want one sooooo BAD!!!!!! Oh man, my great-grand-daughter would love it when she gets old enough to play in it! I want to make this a reality! Now where can I fit one in? thanks for an instructable that looks like I can really do it myself!
hihihi0hi3 years ago
wow thats awasome! no really! i wanted to do that my whole life!
ironman01043 years ago
It looks great and a lot of fun. I think I could use something like this for working out design problems for my models I build.
The problem with the societal concept of "being an adult" is that it conflates "making mature decisions", "providing for oneself and being independent", and "acting in a certain manner, socially and at home." The problem is, society has all these conceptions of what adults should and should not do. But if someone is an adult, can make their own responsible decisions, and providing for themselves and any dependents they have, who is it for anyone to say that someone can't play around in certain ways?

Play, the free-form, not goal-oriented play, as opposed to sports and video games, has been shown to have all sorts of positive health effects. Frankly, it's the people that know how to cut loose, the doodlers, the dreamers, people who LARP, are far wiser, healthier adults than the tightwads that label those sort of activities as "immature."
Nelyan3 years ago
sing1ejack3 years ago
Bummer. I did the math right, didn't I? A minimum of about $1,000 in playpen balls? That just isn't going to happen. So, let's think up some alternatives...
kevinjameshunt (author)  sing1ejack3 years ago
Craigslist and the like are great for stuff like this. I paid $500 for my first 3,000 and $180 for my second batch of 2,000. Worth every penny too :)
ymcmanaman3 years ago
This is beyond awesome! I'm figuring out where to put a smaller ball pit (for 1-2 people) in my house as I'm typing this. Great job!
joettle3 years ago
I have wanted to do this forever. Best instructable, hands down!
tqwerty3 years ago

Great idea!
balisticjoe3 years ago
Smile face, just smile face.
rix_1013 years ago
This is the biggest WIN ever!
occupada3 years ago
Ok beyond the indisputable PURE FUN, this is an extremely useful instructable, IMO. I'm a pediatric occupational therapist, and we use ball pits in the clinic to help kiddos with a variety of sensory and motor issues. Of course, this is in the clinic, which makes them a pricey "specialty item". I work/consult with families and daycare providers who want to install a ball pit for their kids, and this is a HUGE HELP!!! (Of course, if you use this for toddlers, for safety, make the balls only ~8" deep with 12" sides, and always supervise. Duh, I know, but you never know).

Thank you for a great instructable!!!

They are, indeed, pure fun, no matter how old you are.
what happens if a mongoose gets into your ball pit?
nagutron3 years ago
"DO NOT PUT DAMP BALLS INTO YOUR BALL PIT" This is emphasized twice in your instructable. I'm now really curious what happens if I do, in fact, put damp balls in my ball pit.

Note: please appreciate how mature I'm being, not trying to get a cheap laugh here :P
You get mould - and then you have to re-wash everything and possibly re-do the foam sides.
SewWhat!!3 years ago
This is possibly the best thing I have ever seen! Amazing job, someday I shall fufill this dream! :D
dreamberry3 years ago
Yeah buddy! When I was in high school I said that when I was rich I would have a swimmin' pool full of ping pong balls with a secret room in the deep end. Your version looks almost affordable!
Kiteman3 years ago
Oh, that is just so...

... it's ...

... you're single aren't you?
jeffeb33 years ago

Weird, that there aren't any links to similar projects on the right side of the page...
zazenergy3 years ago
This is so unbelievably amazing!
randofo3 years ago
Every time I see something like this, always the XKCD comic! :-)