This is my first big DIY project for our little girls. I'm a computer specialist but very interested in DIY and reusing old/unused items. I'm posting this instructable to inspire others to reuse materials and create something beautiful. English isn't my mother language so if I describe something the wrong way, feel free to ask me to explain.
This project did cost me about € 150 since I did buy screws, roofing, paint and Plexiglas (acrylic glass, since it's safer for the kids). All other materials pallet planks and different sizes of beams thrown away by factories.
Time, supplies and tools used are personal, since this can vary from person to person. I worked on this project before and after work with the materials i got from the factories and hobby tools.
The playhouse is 260 cm x 260 cm (102.4 inch x 102.4 inch). I hope you enjoy this instructable.
Step 1: Drawing the Playhouse Plan
Every project needs a plan. I've used Google Sketchup to draw a plan of the playhouse with the right dimensions and printed it so I could build it step by step without having to measure it all while working on it. This step is optional because not everyone likes to put time into creating it on a computer.
Step 2: Pallet Break Apart
Break apart all the pallets and remove any nails, screws, staples, ...
No, the factory does not do this for you but for me it's worth it, seeing the result in the end.
I've used a big flat screwdriver to break apart the pallets but you can use a crowbar aswell.
The screws are removed with a powerd screwdriver, the nails with a hammer and the staples with a flat screwdriver.
Step 3: Creating the Base
I've used planks of 260 cm (102.4 inch) to create a square base. In between I've used the same planks with about 4 cm (1.6 inch) cut off, 2 cm (0.8 inch) on each side to fit between the outer ones. I've screwed it all together with 8 cm (3.1 inch) screws.
The floor on the second image is where I started using the planks from the pallets. Yes, I had to make the whole floor in 2 parts since the planks of the pallets were 130 cm (51.2 inch) and I didn't have any longer planks for the floor :-)
If you want to create this playhouse, you have to wait with the front floor. You'll see why in one of the next steps.
Step 4: Wall Frames
Each frame (2 on the sides, 1 front, 1 back) should be created before placing it on the base.
On the first image you can see how i create the wall frame. In the center is a 50 cm x 50 cm (19.7 inch x 19.7 inch) window opening. The dimensions of the wall frame are 130 cm x 130 cm (51.2 inch x 51.2 inch). I've used the beams of the pallets where the planks where attached to.
I created this frame 2 times with the same dimensions, as you can see on the second image. I've attached them to the base with 8 cm (3.1 inch) screws, each frame containing 7 screws in the bottom.
Step 5: Front Frame
The front frame should be created with 2 whole planks at the top or it won't be stable enough. The left and right side are mirrored again. Each of the sides containing a window hole of 50 cm x 50 cm (19.7 inch x 19.7 inch). These holes are located higher than those of the wall frames. The door opening has a width of 60 cm (23.6 inch) and a height of 115 cm (45.3 inch). Again this frame is screwed to the base. The wall frames are screwed together with the front frame.
Step 6: Back Frame
Maybe it's hard to see on this image, but this is when I placed the back frame. Use beams over all the width so it's connecting with the wall frames. Put inner beams vertical to create enough support. Screw it to the base and wall frames.
After doing this step all beams should be connected to eachother and the base.
Step 7: Side Planks
Each wall side contains 13 planks attached from bottom to top. I've started at the bottom since I wasn't sure if every pallet plank really was 10 cm (3.9 inch) high. All the planks are screwed with 4 cm (1.6 inch) screws to the beams. Obviously you need to cut the planks on the sides of the window holes. At the back panel I've used 2 columns of 13 planks. It's the back so nobody will notice :)
In total I've used 78 planks covering the frame, which is about 12 pallets containing 7 planks.
Step 8: Building the Porch
Maybe, you've been wondering why I hadn't created the front floor yet. As you can see on the images, I've placed 2 roof support beams inside the base frame and screwed it diagonally with several screws. After that i covered the front floor with 26 more pallet planks.
For the porch thingies I used the support beams of the pallets again and screwed them to the corner beams of the front frame and the front beams of the roof support.
For the roof I've used 8 beams, 2 placed horizontally on top of the wall frames.
One angle containing 2 beams which are connected to eachother by placing 2 wooden triangles which you have to cut in the angle of your choice. You can connect 2 triangles on both sides of the beams with several screws to hold them into place. I did this 3 times (back, middle and front).
Step 9: Plywood
As you can see on the image, the porch frame is done.
On the roof I've screwed 2 big plywood rectangles which I got for free aswell from the factory throwing away all these reusable things. Since they didn't cover the whole roof I've screwed 4 pallet planks on each side of the roof to cover it all.
Another thing you might notice on this image is the front panel is totally covered up with planks. You can place planks all the way up to the roof. Same thing on the back frame. Ofcourse you need to cut the planks in an angle to touch the roof panels.
Step 10: Sanding
Sanding, sanding, sanding, ... What a hard work!
As you can see on the first image (top of wall) I started sanding with a powered sanding tool with sanding paper size 40 since the planks were in bad condition.
After covering the whole playhouse with the tool I covered it all again by hand using sanding paper size 120.
Step 11: Protecting the Wood
After sanding I started painting the house with a product to protect the wood against all weather conditions, worms, ... I don't know how to call it in english.
As you can see on the image I also started creating the windows and window frames.
Step 12: Playhouse Windows
I don't have any detailed images of creating these small windows, but if anyone is interesed I will create another and create an instructable about it using pallet planks, plexiglas and inexpensive window locks.
Every window in this playhouse (4 in total) can be opened from the inside and locked again by using small latches.
Step 13: Roof Shingles
As you can see on the image I've used dark grey roof shingles to cover the roof. I nailed them onto the roof panels.
Since I never did this before I watched a tutorial on how to do this. (Tutorial)
On the sides of the roof I screwed some waving pallet planks cut with a figure saw.
Step 14: Playhouse Door
Personally this was the most difficult thing to do for me, since I'm a beginner at all this DIY things.
First of all I did create the door using Google Sketchup.
The door is made of 3 "panels". The outer ones only contain the frame of the door using pallet planks cut to to right dimensions and the middle one is made by using pallet planks ...again :)
The flower on the door is made by cutting out the middle circle and leaves using a figure saw and glued them onto the door.
I mentioned this was the most difficult part of the whole house. Well, creating a whole big enough to put in a lock was the most difficult part and I got frustrated several times. As you can see on the second image I did cut out several parts of the planks of the door and had to cover it up with some wood paste.
At the end it came up pretty good so I'm glad I didn't give up creating that door.
Step 15: End Result - Outside
After some green/white paint this is my end result on the outside. The last thing on the outside I need to do is paint the floor, but I don't know which color. Any suggestions?
As you can see on the images I did also create some flower pots made of pallet planks and 2 benches where the girls can sit on.
I might create instructables how to create those simple flower pots and multifunctional benches if someone is interested.
I hope you enjoyed reading/viewing this instructable. The most important thing of this playhouse is to prove anyone can create something functional/pretty using old or discarded materials. I must say I'm proud of what i created for the kids since I'm a 'computer nerd' and never thought i was this kind of handy in any way.
The youngest of them loves their little house already :)
Thank you again for reading/viewing and hope to see you again another time!