Instructables
Picture of Tiny tiny house
This is the first tiny house we have built, so it was enough of a challenge to build that the documenting side was let slide to a fair extent. Regardless, I will walk you thorough what we did, and how we did it to the best of my ability.
We used as many natural, unprocessed, and re-used materials as possible, which made it less expensive but much more time consuming than buying everything from the lumber yard. 
 
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Step 1: Preparing the frame

As we used an old trailer frame to build this on, we started by demolishing the trailer, separating out the aluminum to be recycled. The plywood floor was saved to be re-used as the sub-floor. Then we went at it with an angle grinder and drill with wire wheel and wire brushes for the hard to reach parts. As we removed the failing old paint and surface rust we looked for signs of penetrating rust which would need welding to maintain the integrity of the frame. Thankfully, we found none.

So we moved right on to priming with a rusty metal primer, and then a coat or two of quality metal paint.  

Step 2: The floor


As we live near an old steam powered sawmill, we decided to use rough milled redwood 1x6's for the floor, so we ran them through the planner and then the edger to get a beautiful floor. As we were using true one inch thick boards we decided to screw them in with appropriate length screws from the underside so that no fasteners would be visible. To protect it for the rest of the project we covered it with some 1/8 inch plywood pieces we had laying around. 
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Just want to say great job in taking the initiative to take on this project and make it yours. I have been researching the Micro-House lifestyle for about six months and working on a few ideas and I like the influence you guys give. While my basics are fundamentally different than what you ultimately have so are my needs both based on geographical considerations and m.o.e. but I still appreciate the hard work you all put forth.

morkwa10 months ago
You say that you use "star drive screws" in your project, - get yourself
some Robertson head "square drive" screws and you will find yourself
throwing the slot, phillips and star drive screws as far as you can into
the bush, going into the bush to find them and then throwing them as
far as you can again, - that's how much more satisfied you will be with the Robertson
screws and not to mention the pleasure of pitching those other ones
as far as you can (twice over)
ganeshruskin (author)  morkwa10 months ago
No thanks. Have you ever used star drive screws? I like square drive screws marginally more than philips, but star drive aka torque bit are hard to strip, I mean you have to TRY.

seriously, give them a try....

Star and TORX (not torque) are two different designs. Star has 5 points, TORX has six. Getting these mixed up are one of the leading reasons people have trouble with either design. But personally I prefer Robertson and wish that nothing else (except maybe hex socket head in some cases) existed.

you could be right - by star drive I thought you meant Pozidrive
Here in Canada in construction the robertson is the most used
as it only takes one hand (once it's inserted on the bit) to drive the
screw in. Anytime I come across something put together with phillips or slot or pozidrive and has to be taken apart these screws are
immediately chucked into the garbage and replaced with square drive.
I have skinned too many knuckles and stripped too many screws
to bother with those other three kinds. Don't see too many star drives
here - only in special applications.
wikkit morkwa2 months ago

They're talking about Torx, which is even more resistant to stripping than square drive. But more expensive.

unless thier comin from CHINA then thier easy as pie to strip.
john3347 morkwa2 months ago

Star drive screws are only one tiny step "better" than Phillips screws. The square drive screws that used to be almost universal in mobile home construction are FAR, FAR better at holding the screw to tighten it adequately. The only drawback to the square drive screws is that they are near or completely impossible to remove after they get very rusted. Star drive screws are even more critical to exact driver/screw alignment than even Phillips. The driver has to be in exact alignment with the screw. Good point, morkwa.

fixfireleo2 months ago

i went to franklin NC recently gem mining and stayed in a "cabin" that was about this side. they advertised it as a wooden tent. that said, it had a mini fridge, a TV and microwave. it was $30 a night with beds with real but not particularly comfortable mattresses. considering all that, if a bear came around, i would rather have wooden walls than fabric. nice that you can take it with you. (and store lots of gear inside until you get there.)

bears do not often attack unless you provoke, get between a mama bear and her cub, or it has rabies. Bears are innocent misunderstood creatures trying to live their lives while we destroy their homes and kill their family. How whould you feel if you had your home destroyyed and your family shot? do not be cruel to bears.

dude, get real. what did i say about shooting bears?

"considering all that, if a bear came around, i would rather have wooden walls than fabric." So what if a bear came around, that is no reason to be afraid if you keep your food high and you leave it alone and I am quite serious "dude".

Dude, you have issues. Yes, unprovoked bear attacks are rare, but they do happen (you even provided a perfect example of such instances). All he said is that if that he would prefer to have something substantial between him and the bear. You are reading your own issues into that in order to take offense on behalf of the bears. He is talking about leaving the bears alone and the bears leaving him alone, with the help of a wooden structure if it happens to be a bear as quick to take offense as you.

psavas1 month ago

This is a great little portable house; would be fun to take something like this to Burning Man. :)

You mentioned you were trying to lighten the load as much as possible when framing out the build; is there a reason you didn't go with metal studs instead of wood? I realize you were trying to be eco-friendly, but it seems to me in the long run, if you're towing this structure around, a lighter weight would overall be better.

nejo00171 month ago

Your build is really buityful!

Best from Berlin

rrvau2 months ago

I'd hate to try towing this trailer. The aero would be awful. If you use if as a transportable structure you could come home to an empty space sometime. Would that be vehicular theft or residence theft?

Viksri82 months ago

This is Awesome!

newt1232 months ago

cool. can you show us some inside pics?

aswaha yah2 months ago

love this tiny house ,espercilly for the wheels that i can take him to everywhere.

muddog152 months ago
How to disable autocorrect. Lol
muddog152 months ago
Rv***
muddog152 months ago
Perfect for a small office. It a single person tv.
iamchrismoran2 months ago

Nice write up and great pix. I like reading the tiny house ideas because I want to use some in my son's (and my) tree house this summer.

I love the rounded doors.

john33472 months ago

I do not understand why so many tiny houses built on trailer frames have the door on the street side. If you have a vehicle failure or a "personal emergency" on the road, you POSITIVELY do not want to have to access the trailer from the 70 MPH traffic side. Put the cotton pickin' door on the curb side of the vehicle. Build it as safe as possible.

ajodie92 john33472 months ago

It depends where you are. It'd be fine in the UK. :)

subaru puts the gas tank on the passenger side for that reason.

isprey fixfireleo2 months ago

I am in Australia. Perfect side for us :) though I can see how it could be a problem in US.

superthrust2 months ago

Id love to build something like this that can be pulled behind a motorcycle for those long long trips...Nothing this big of course, but a little mobile shelter, ya know?

Yes, an aluminum frame and skin with just enough size for sleeping and a swing-out cooktop for outside cooking would make a cool motorcycle trailer. Spend LOTS of time looking at how you're gonna build it before you buy materials and start cutting.

Ill try to do just that! I will still look around on here and see if someone has done something like it, but if not, ill be sure to document it as much as possible and post it here!!

I'd love to hear about a trailer like this, too! I am actually interested in one light enough for a bicycle to tow...!

i would think some sort of micro pop up would be better for a motorcycle.

You might consider using a small trailer and a Rooftop Tent. There are many outlets, CVT, BigFoot, Tepui etc. We like ours so much we bought a second one! They are compact enough to use with my Beetle! On the CVT site they have pics of many different sizes on several types of vehicles including a Polaris Ranger! Both of mine are the Mt Rainier models and they sleep 3-4 each. Great Job on the tiny house, love the wood! :{)

Beetle CVT Tent with kids3.jpg

Even a micro pop up would be cool! I heard on another website that somoene came to an event with a pop-up that looked like the shape of a coffin, then it popped up into a small sized camper!

terracer2 months ago

Nicely done! There is something intriguing about minaturizing things that we are accustomed to.. I have drawn hundreds upon hundreds of sketches and drawings of little ideas meant to shrink down the bare neccessaties of home living. YOU have actually done it! Bravo -

lalunette2 months ago

What a great little project !!

Well done and well documented.

BTW, the native French speaker in me says... the proper spelling for "Se la vie!" is... "C'est la vie!"

Cheers !!

legamin2 months ago

now if you could work out a jointed bi-frame folding tunnel connected tracking quad axle 50' wheeled home at 8' wide with pull-outs and hot tub.... I'd be right there behind you to finance that endeavor....(unfortunately the only company that can do this for us is in Italy and 2 years out on custom orders).

I was with you all the way on this build until you started using narrow gauge brads. Over time,with sheer and vibration they will fail one by one but in the end, spectacularly. A ring shanked nail of appropriate length and extra wide head should have been used. They are more expensive and the guns to pneumatically insert them have have custom piston push rod heads made to accommodate them. (It's better to have a lot of a few hundred thousand made to order out of a galvanized steel and be sure you lube your gun often during use.) but if you want your product to reflect the amazing care you obviously have in building these (and want a reputation for quality). Also..anchor your roof and roofing. The lift aerodynamics of its directionality along with the cyclone force winds that it will regularly face during transport will create lift that could cause random shards of roofing, if not the entirety, to peel off and litter the highway. Good luck!

stuffman legamin2 months ago

Agreed. I'm not sure what I'd have done differently to make the roof less of a sail, but there's a reason most tow-behind trailers have a round profile. It's to minimize upward force of the wind, and help with aerodynamics. This seems really cool, but I don't know how roadworthy it really is.

legamin stuffman2 months ago
I've seen a couple of responses to this engineering inefficiency. One is to create a 'Barn Style' peaked roof with a leading and trailing peak angled 45deg into and out of the direction of the wind (from towing). This also increases the stability against side buffeting. Unfortunately the drawback of this form raises the overall height and requires a well tuned stiff suspension. This, on the other hand, is desirable in every handling and parked aspect...a win win if you please. There are preformed roofing models that can be prefabbed quite inexpensively and so are very repeatable. In the end you would only need a four inch side overhang to keep water from hydrostatically retreating onto your beautiful siding. And as far as towing in the rain... There is a 'shrink wrap' type product that is made for buildings on 4-6-8+' rolls. You wrap the entire frame outside before windows or ply or siding. Then use a heat gun to thicken the material and adhere it firmly to all surfaces. You do this on your rafters pre boarding or roofing as well. Pay special attention to go back and re wrap corners, around outsides of windows - doors and all of the leading edge, wall and up over the 45 deg. Roof set at least twice. There is something to be said for "breathing and healthy" walls...but in the modern trade we refer to that as 'Drafty'. Superior quality trailer windows, as you said you would be using, and ceiling vents in living area and bath (1 vent per 3sq. m as a rule is very adequate. My trailers vents are 20 years old and still seal just fine. I think your onto a great thing for people who are sick of the government (or whoever) trying to interfere in their lives and need an affordable alternative. My wife and I among them. Best of all luck.
sdbigguy2 months ago

if you wanted to move this around do you have to license it as a trailer? Travel trailer? Mobile home? Or RV? Are there guideline to make something like this street legal? Great job btw.

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