Since I have four children, I know a thing or two about toys. The toy wooden treehouse that I'm going to show you how to make here has stood the test of time in my home and is often used in place of the more expensive toy environments (houses, hangouts, castles, etc.) that we've bought over the years.
For those who see this and aren't interested in building one yourself, you can pick one up from from my Etsy store.
For the rest of you, you'll need the following materials:
- A sheet of 1/2" MDF board (but pretty much any kind of wood will do)
- A wooden dowel or two (I used two different thicknesses, but it's not necessary)
- Wood Glue or Gorilla Glue
- Some wooden dowels
- A few stems from plastic plants (completely optional)
Now, it's time to get started...
Step 1: Make a Plan
Here, you'll need to establish the number of layers you're going to include with your treehouse and the scale of the treehouse. Will you be using it with G.I. Joes or Star Wars figures? Stuffed animals? For us, our primary goal was a home for some Calico Critters, so each level is about 5" tall. Still, it works pretty great for G.I. Joes as well.
First, I drew out a small thumbnail image of how I wanted to the pieces to fit together, then I created an overhead perspective where I shaped each layer. Since it was just a sketch, it wasn't full size, but it gave me an idea of how I wanted everything to work together.
Once you've finalized your plan, begin drawing out your plan on your wood.
Now, it's time to cut things out!
Step 2: Cut That Out!
Now that the plan is established and drawn out on our wood, we can start cutting out the pieces.
I used a reciprocating saw to cut out each piece and then sanded each with my orbital sander, rounding off the edges.
Once this is done, it's time to cut the upright pieces. I would cut a few and then put things together so that I could measure for the missing pieces. You can see that because of the way I staggered the platforms, some of the pieces are longer than others.
Now that things are cut, it's time to prepare for gluing.
Step 3: Get It Together!
Did I mention that I have four children? Well, since I wanted this to last for longer than a week, I knew that was going to need to reinforce the connections using dowel rods. If you have a drill press and a dowel jig, lucky you - it's going to make setting these dowels straight into the larger dowels and wooden bases much easier. For the rest of us, you'll need to do your best to drill these holes straight so that things will fit together well. If it's not perfectly straight, that's not really a problem (this is a tree, you know), but it will need to be close.
As you go along, fit things together. It will both be an encouragement to you and help to make sure everything is fitting together correctly.
Next, it's time to glue!
Using clamps, it's time to glue each piece and clamp things together while you wait for the glue to cure.
Side note: You'll notice that I was working in the living room instead of in my cold garage. I believe this happened only because I was letting my wife sleep in, and she didn't know I was using some potentially destructive Gorilla Glue over our carpet. Oops. Not recommended.
Once you've completed your hard work, it's time to play!
Step 4: Playtime!
Time to let the kids do their thing! Good work!
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If you don't have the tools or the time to make it, you can buy one on my Etsy store.
* You'll notice that the raw wood is a perfect match for these Calico Critters and their play sets.