Introduction: KidWash: PVC Sprinkler Water Toy

Picture of KidWash: PVC Sprinkler Water Toy

Make a fun summer sprinkler toy from PVC to help the kids beat the heat.

total cost: $9.51
total time: about 1 hour

Step 1: Go Shopping

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Head to your local hardware store and pick up:

2 ten foot lengths of PVC. (I used 3/4" but feel free to use other sizes, just be sure your fittings are the same dimension)
3 end caps
1 threaded hose connector
2 elbow joints (90 degree)
2 T connections
PVC Cement (I skipped on the primer, use this if you want)

Step 2: Grab Your Tools

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You will need:

a drill
1/16 or 3/32 inch drill bits (or other sizes if you're feeling sassy)
saw (fret saw, hack saw, Sawzall, whatever)
measuring tape
PVC Cement

Step 3: Start Cutting

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Time to cut. You will need the following sections and sizes:
2 at 5 feet
1 at 4 feet
4 at 18 inches

Cut one of the 10' lengths in half so that you have two 5' sections.

Then, cut a 4' section from the second one. Cut the remaining 6' section in half and then each of the 3' sections in half.

Step 4: Start Glueing

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Be sure to do your glueing in a well ventilated area.

Lay your pieces out and get your PVC Cement ready. The glue dries fast so you'll want to just do one piece at a time.

Start with the feet. Take one of the 18" sections and an end cap. Daub some glue inside the lip of the end cap and around the outside edge of the piece and stick the cap on.

Repeat this 2 more times for 2 more of the 18" pieces. On the 4th one, attach the threaded hose attachment piece.

Step 5: More Glue - Connect the Feet

Picture of More Glue - Connect the Feet

Now connect the pieces you just glued using the T joins.

Repeat the process of daubing cement inside the T joins and on the PVC lengths and sticking them together.

When you're done, you should have 2 pieces as in the picture.

Step 6: Add the Legs

Picture of Add the Legs

Next, use your cement and connect the two 5' sections to the feet you just made.

After that, add the elbows at the top. Be sure the mouths of the elbows are pointing perpendicular to the direction that the feet are running.

See the picture for details.

Step 7: Drill Some Holes

Picture of Drill Some Holes

Put the cap on the PVC Cement for a bit and get your drill out.

I started out with a 3/32" bit but switched to a 1/16" bit for smaller streams. You can mix and match as you please.

Take your 4' section of PVC and drill some holes in a fun pattern that will spray water in the air.

I did 6 small holes (3 clustered on the left & right) on what would become the top that shoot water straight up. Then i did 2 rows of holes slightly offset from what would be straight down, that shoot water toward the front and back of the device.

You may want to experiment and see what works best. You can do this by not cementing this final piece in and if you don't like it, buy some more PVC and try again.

Once you have something you like, glue this last piece in and you're done.

Step 8: The Finished Product

Picture of The Finished Product

Technically, you're supposed to wait several hours for the cement to dry before you try it out. I waited about 10 minutes and then gave in to my curiosity. Didn't seem to matter and the kids love it.


PeteF10 made it! (author)2016-09-03

I glued everything but the top cross bar so I can easily disassemble and store. Works great, thanks for the great idea!

discontinuity (author)PeteF102016-09-04

Good idea! Glad you liked it.

chysaw made it! (author)2015-08-12

My son and I saw this and knew we had to make one. Ours has the twist of using sprinkler heads. Thank you for the inspiration!

Brewer1056 made it! (author)2015-06-21

This is GREAT! My 7 yr old son and I made this on Fathers Day, from the trip to Home Depot to getting soaked no more than an hour and a half. Good thing that glue dries fast! This pic is actually from before we finished tweaking it, turns out our weather pressure is really good so we added a few more strategically placed (head high!) holes. We started with about 9 holes, tested it, and added them as we played around. This thing outs out a lot of water!

bluesthue made it! (author)2015-05-25

I spent a couple more dollars and got some end caps and threaded elbows etc so its slightly more modular and can be taken apart to store smaller. kids love it!

Thegiftsguy (author)2015-03-16

This was added to today as a fun item to make yourself. Great job on this.

gskkids (author)2013-07-04

HI, great idea. We did this today for really cheap but I added 1/2 foot on each of the side pipes and a few more inches on the cross bar to better fit my oldest daughter and her bike. Because of it we had a bit less left for the feet but it worked even with the shorter amount but I think the 18 inch is better. We turned it into a drive through bicycle wash and had great success using the 1/16 inch drill bit and were able to add tons of holes. We added a few on the side poles all directed into the "door" and several going straight out or slightly up which created a fun spread of the water. It works without cement for us. It comes apart if you move it sometimes but easily pushes back in. We prefer this as we can take it apart and store it. THANK YOU.

hoosiermama (author)2012-06-17

I made one of these two summers ago using misters for a finer spray. The kid loved it. The one draw back though is that it soaks the ground pretty quickly. So you'll need to put it over the sidewalk, or move it around frequently while playing or your kids will be running through mud.

Boss_Sauce (author)2006-08-18

i use a pipe cutter on pvc-- always a straight cut, no "dust" or cut fingers-- like this one:

mce128 (author)Boss_Sauce2010-08-20

Or you could use one of these since it's PVC.... and save $10 and have something that's awesome for any kind of hosing as well.

dublinsmaster (author)2010-08-08

We made it, here in canada it cost about $40 bucks. but the kids love it just the same :)

chs247 (author)2010-07-10

I made a nice wide and tall one, and my kids love it. I painted mine purple as my daughters ask, it looks great. Thanks for the idea. Great job. In fact half of the guys in work want one for there kids.

ranex (author)2010-06-23

my idea would be to make a stand but has T connectors that are big enough to had the full crossbar to go through, that way you can just make a bar that holds the water and the rest is empty, you could also make it so the kids could use it like a limo stick as previously mentioned

balloondoggle (author)2010-06-21

I made this last summer and the kids loved it - thanks a lot for the instructions! A drawback to the design, however, is that it is nearly impossible to drain the water out at the end of the summer. Due to the size and shape, it lived on our deck over the winter where that trapped water froze and destroyed one side. In making repairs, I added a threaded plug on the leg opposite the quick disconnect. Now I can drain water from one side through the connected hose and from the other through the threaded plug. My sister has asked me to make one for her daughter and as they have less storage space than I do I'll look at using all threaded connectors so that they can break down the unit and stand it in the corner of a utility closet.

burningsuntech (author)2010-06-19

Absolute genius! Us desert rats could use a cool water toy and this one looks super. Nice job on the instructable. Well documented. RA

gvince4 (author)2009-10-08

Thanks for this Instructable I made one this summer for my son he thinks it's great!  I put side holes at an angle and the whole thing worked well. To drill the holes I used my drill press and the smallest bit I could find I used glue on all but one  joint so I could put it away for the winter. Thanks!

cpns72 (author)2009-07-12

Perfect to make "rain" for my pond to listen and watch rain right in my yard. Love all those ideas/tips. Will post it with pixies later. Thank you.

LoveMyPadres (author)2007-12-27

Wait a can run water in PVC pipes? I'm not sure I've ever used it for that purpose before....huh.... Looks like a lot of fun, have to make one next summer!

tannerr52 (author)LoveMyPadres2009-06-30

i hope you were being sarcastic

toogers (author)LoveMyPadres2009-06-15

that is the original purpose, it's for plumbing. if you could see through walls, that's one thing you would see. not to sound rude.

Granny_Leah (author)2008-04-03

I wonder if this would be strong enough for hanging tomato plants... Maybe with larger diameter pipes? I hate watering hanging plants.

picbuck (author)Granny_Leah2008-05-22

It probably will be if you don't use too long a piece of pipe. You'd want to use "Schedule 40" PVC pipe. "Schedule" refers to the wall thickness of the pipe. Schedule 40 is the white, thick walled kind in the plumbing department. Home Ripoff sells it, as do most hardware stores. Not the thin-wall PVC pipe, that's sold for irrigation (lawn watering) systems. Schedule 40 is for drainage, you probably have it in your house. It's easily cut by hand. You'd want a coarse (not fine) blade in a hacksaw, or a regular wood saw also works well--if sharp. But 3/4" is not rigid enough to support a load. You'd want 1-1/2" or 2". Or if you could go to the 3" or 4" sizes you're getting some pretty strong stuff. Though still not as rigid as galvanized pipe, into which you could also drill holes. And 3/4" galvanized pipe is really, really strong.

Derin (author)picbuck2008-08-03

there is also schedule 80

toogers (author)Derin2009-06-15

and don't forget schedule 120.

superhands (author)2008-07-30

Made on last night, worked REALLY well, I bought some cement but didn't use it - pressure was not enough to cause leaks. BTW for UK folks, I used overflow pipe from the DIY centre - its a little thin but is only £1.99 per length - I bought 3 plus a threaded elbow joint for a toilet overflow that has exactly the right thread for a hose spiggot. I couldnt find a 3/4 (22mm) end cap anywhere, so I used some thick plastic wrapped over the end and secured with Jubilee/Hose clips.

lostinthesparks (author)2007-06-07

what would you do if you wanted to make the pole like limbo and go up and down but still have water coming out ??????

fizil (author)lostinthesparks2008-02-28

i would say just do a system that's an end cap, rain pipe, and hose connector. Then use what they use to hold limbo up.

bikeparts24 (author)2007-07-22

Made one of these and it worked great. I put a ball valve on the side where the hose is not. When I put it away, I just un-hook the hose, open the valve and tip it back.

dchall8 (author)2007-06-10

I made a dog wash just like this except shorter. It doesn't work the get the dog wet underneath, so I'm working on something else. Instructable is in development.

dandersn2000 (author)2006-08-19

I built one today and had a BLAST with my kids. It cost $2.48. We put a fischer price slide undertneath it to ende the afternoon. So much fun. I was thinking about drilling holes in the uprights, both inside and outside to make even more spray. GREAT IDEA.

Wow - $2.48. That's cool. I ended up drilling some holes in the uprights too. They work well and i did some both pointing "inside" and "outside" the arch. My kids also put a slide underneath and even also added 2 slip 'n' slides (at the top of a hill) to the mix for a fun and dangerous afternoon...

implaxis (author)2006-08-21

I like that one. Kind of a different take on the shower spa I made from PVC pipe (an Instructable). This one gives me lots of ideas!

jquinby (author)2006-08-20

Many thanks for posting this. The whole thing went together in about 30 minutes. I'll be making another one when we visit some relatives next week. Our three-year-old loves it!

TheThompsonFive (author)2006-08-18

Nice! I bet you could get away without glueing the whole thing up, which would make it a lot easier to put away in the wintertime.

egilwh (author)TheThompsonFive2006-08-19

With water under pressure, you'll need to fix the joints somehow... but I agree. If you could use screwed joints, it would be possible to disassemble.

discontinuity (author)egilwh2006-08-19

I tried it without cement initially, but my joints leaked. There were no screw joints at our hardware store, but i would like to try this.

ducajjang (author)2006-08-18

That's cool! And I guess, how about make an addition to side hole? I just create an account right now.

discontinuity (author)ducajjang2006-08-19

Yes, you could do side holes as well. I forgot to mention that in the instructions. In fact, i added some later and they work well. I held the drill at a slight angle and the water shoots up a little.

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