Introduction: DIY Treehouse

About: Design/Process Engineer who loves to make things

Hello everyone. Please bear with me as this is my first Instructable, but hopefully not my last. This should hopefully serve as a rough guide for people looking to build a treehouse. At this point I must caution you though as treehouses can be very dangerous especially if they are built high up in a tree. My treehouse was built entirely by what popped into my head at the time of construction. I had no prior experience when constructing it and simply did what I thought would work. While my treehouse did turn out to be very sturdy I would urge you to consult an expert and use high quality parts to prevent disaster.

Step 1: Surveying

Begin by finding a sturdy, suitable tree in which to build your house. I was lucky and had a perfect tree right behind my house. My treehouse is about 10 feet off the ground on the first floor and 17 feet off the ground on the second floor. The higher you go, the cooler the treehouse (in my opinion) but also the more dangerous.

Step 2: Tools and Materials

High strength wood beams and boards
Nails or Screws
Camouflage Tarp (optional)

Tape measure
Hack saw or other type

Step 3: Entrance

One of the biggest challenges of building a treehouse is how to actually get up into the house. I debated buying some type of ladder but ended up nailing rungs straight to the trunk of the tree. This picture is from another tree but illustrates the same idea.

Step 4: Building the Floor

The floor is another main part of the treehouse and must be able to hold the weight of whoever is inside. The tree I used was a bit tricky since the trunk splits in two places at two different elevations. I ended up making a main floor and then a smaller platform. The main floor was constructed by making a frame of beams and then covering it with flat boards. I used thick wood boards so that it would hold my weight plus some.

Step 5: Walls

This is where I differ from many people who build treehouses. Instead of connected the walls to the floor, I nailed the beams that make up the frame of the walls directly to the tree trunks. I have read articles that say that nailing straight into the tree kills the tree but after six months my tree has shown no signs of decay, so I'm going to say that it's okay. After the main frame of the wall was nailed into place, I used more flat boards to fill in the openings. I wanted the house to have an open feel to it, so I left a few "windows" so that it didn't feel too closed off from outside. The main purpose of a treehouse after all is to be one with nature.

Step 6: Seat

The tree that I used had a split in one of the main trunks of the tree so I decided to put an extra seat in the opening. I began by nailing two support beams to each side of the split and then nailed a board that would become the seat into those two supports. I then added armrests and two boards to act as a backrest and also keep me from falling off the back.

Step 7: Second Floor / Roof

After having the main floor done for a week I decided that I wanted a roof / second floor. I used three thick, sturdy beams and nailed them to the trunks to create a frame for the second floor. I kept them level to each other so that the floor would be level. I then used large, thick beams and boards to create the second floor by laying them across the support beams and then nailing them down. I also added some support beams underneath the second floor just for added peace of mind. I also needed a way to get up to the second floor so I left an opening above and added rungs like the ones used to get up into the treehouse.

Step 8: Finishing Touches

After all of the structural components of the treehouse were finished, I added a few more panels to close things up. I also bought a camouflage tarp on Ebay for $7 that I cut and used to make "curtains" for the "windows" of the treehouse. They add to the look of the house and also close off the inside while still being able to be opened.

Step 9: Conclusion

Overall this was an extremely fun project that I conducted over the course of a summer. It was a great way to keep me busy and also have something to show and use with my friends. It's now winter and the treehouse has lasted through storms, high winds, rain, snow, and ice and is still strong and sturdy. My next endeavor is to make walls for the second story and then start a new tree house in an adjacent tree.