Introduction: Kids PVC "Car Wash" Water Sprinkler Toy

In case you missed the memo, it's summertime! Generally, my family loves to spend this time outside enjoying the weather. Of course, in Texas, that means enjoying the 100+ degree heat and trying to cool off while not leaving pieces of our feet on the concrete. My son and I decided our next project would be to make a "car wash" out back. Before I get into our project, I must give credit to some of the ibles that helped with our ideas.

KidWash: PVC Sprinkler Water Toy by discontinuity

KidWash 2 : PVC Sprinkler Water Toy by m32825

I used a similar design as shown in the other ibles, but wanted to get more range on the water toy to cool off the concrete around our play area.

Tools Used:

  • Tape Measure
  • Ratcheting PVC cutter (any hand saw can substitute)

Materials List/Project Cost:

All told, the project costs $25.63. We got off a little easy because we already had PVC Primer/Cement and leftover fabric.

Build Time:

All of the piece measuring & cutting took 20 minutes. Dry assembly took 10 minutes. Priming and Gluing took another 15 minutes. The most difficult part was waiting overnight for the glue to dry. The optional step of adding "moppies" took another 15 minutes to cut and tie the fabric.

Step 1: Cut PVC Pieces to Size and Dry Fit

First, we measured and cut our PVC to size. We used a Ratcheting PVC Cutter to cut our PVC. If you don't have a PVC cutter, you can use any hand saw to cut the pipe. Cut list is as follows:

  • 2 ea - 5'-0" : these are the side uprights
  • 2 ea - 1'-6" : these are the top beam
  • 5 ea - 1'-0" : these are the legs, and center piece for the top beam
  • 2 ea - 0'-3" : these are the down spouts for the sprinkler heads

Once all the cuts are made, dry fit the pieces to ensure they all fit together. Here is what makes up the parts:

  • Bottom Leg: (2) end caps, (2) 1'-0" pipe pieces, (1) T Fitting
  • Bottom Leg Two: (1) end cap, (1) sprinkler fitting, (2) 1'-0" pipe pieces, (1) T Fitting
  • Top Beam: (2) Elbows, (2) 1'-6" pipe piece, (1) 1'-0" pipe piece, (2) T Fittings, (2) 0'-3" pipe pieces, (2) male adapters, (2) sprinkler heads

Step 2: Prime and Glue Pieces Together

After the dry fitting was completed, we took everything apart again, and laid it out to be glued. It helps if the parts are laid out close to each other they way they are to be assembled.

In order to ensure PVC cement will work properly, it is important that you de-burr any hanging materials with a small file or sand paper, and then clean the ends of each piece.

The cement we used was the Oatley handy pack with primer and solvent. This glue gives off a ton of fumes, so it is best to prime and glue in a well ventilated area away from children. My son sadly had to go inside for this step. Apply the purple primer to about 3/4" of the pipe ends, and the full inside of the connectors. Let the primer dry for a few minutes. Next, one connection at a time, apply a thin layer of the clear cement to the pipe and connections. Apply a second coat of cement as well. Within a few seconds of the second coat, connect the pipe and fitting together. Use the power of Zeus to fully insert the pipe, and twist the connection a quarter turn. Hold the two pieces together for about 30 seconds.

I found it best to assemble the legs, then top beam, then attach the two 5' side posts. When you are assembling the top beam, make sure to align the elbows and sprinkler downspouts. Same with when you are attaching the legs. Let the glue dry overnight or at least 2 hours before using the "car wash."

Step 3: Test and Align the Sprinklers

After an arduous night of waiting, we were finally ready to test out the car wash. The wash was hooked up to our hose, and we slowly added more water pressure to avoid any catastrophic failures. The adjustable sprinkler heads we purchased needed to be aligned and adjusted for full coverage. Full coverage on these wasn't quite 360 degrees. We opened up the sprinklers to full coverage, and turned them to where the sprays were avoiding the upright PVC. The picture better shows what I am talking about.

Step 4: Optional Step: Add the Moppies

In order to make this into a true "car wash" we added a few strips of cloth to act as the cleaning cloths (my son calls them moppies).

We cut some leftover cloth into 4 to 6 inch strips that were about 3 feet long. Then we tied the strips to the top beam of the car wash, and let them hang down. This makes the car wash more interesting, an also helps more water drip straight down instead of shooting out.

We also added a kiddie pool under the car wash to catch some of the water. Be warned that stepping in and out of the pool is a tripping hazard, and we had a fall earlier today. After a few minutes of calming down, he was brave enough to go in again and went back to having a blast.

In the final picture you can really see how much area is covered with water. We had a great time building our car wash, and I hope y'all can have a great time too.

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