Fast and Easy, PVC Kids Fort (for Under $60)

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Introduction: Fast and Easy, PVC Kids Fort (for Under $60)

About: I'm the father of 4 great kids, a drummer, a toy collector, and a super proud Hufflepuff. I'm also a habitual crafter, tinkerer and a huge nerd!

Who doesn't love a good fort? Whether they are built indoors or out, forts of all kinds are pretty much awesome. Especially when you're a kid!

Recently, my 8 year old daughter asked me to build her a "Club House". A place outside, that she could go hang out, use for walking games, and maybe, just maybe, invite her little sister in for a game or two.

After discussing a few of her ideas, I came up with a simple design for a 6x5x8 structure that she liked and went to task.

Step 1: Lots of Pipe and a Few Tools...

For the build, I decided on using PVC pipe. It's light, easy to work with, and to be 100% honest...it's super cost effective. Plus we can move it around the yard and even disassemble it, if needed, in case of a bad storm.

Once the design was finalized, I heading to Lowe's to pick up the needed materials:

10 x 1" PSI 200 PVC Pipe (10 ft) $2.46 ea x 10 = $24.60 (there was a 10% discount on 10)

Cut to:

8 x 2" Pieces of Pipe

1 x 21" Piece of Pipe

4 x 24" Pieces of Pipe (2 ft)

2 x 48" Piece of Pipe (4 ft)

4 x 50" Pieces of Pipe

5 x 60" Pieces of Pipe (5 ft)

2 x 72" Pieces of Pipe (6 ft)

2 x 1" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe(10 ft) $3.90 ea x 2 = $7.80

Cut to:

4 x 48" Pieces of Pipe (4 ft)

Connectors:

2 x 1-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Slip Elbow $.66 ea x 2 = $1.32

10 x 1-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Tee $.86 ea x 10 = $8.60

4 x 1-in Dia 45-Degree PVC Sch 40 Slip Elbow $.97 ea x 4 = $3.88

6 x 1-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Side Outlet Elbow $2.05 x 6 = $12.30

As for tools, I simply used a sharpie to mark the pipe, a hack saw to cut the pipe, the blunt side of a hatchet to tap the pipes together, and bit of nylon cord (not pictured) to tie down the roof. Oh, I also used a tape measure (not pictured)

Step 2: The Base...

First connect 1 x 72" (6 ft) piece of 1" PSI 200 PVC Pipe (to act as the back of the fort) to 2 x 60" (5 ft) pieces of 1" PSI 200 PVC Pipe (sides) using 4 x 1-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Side Outlet Elbows (one on each corner).

Add 2 x 24" (2 ft) pieces of 1" PSI 200 PVC Pipe to the front 90-Degree elbows (one left and one right).

Then add 1 ea 1-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Slip Elbow connectors to each 24" pipe, as an end cap.

*The goal is to have a basic room layout with 6 vertical facing outlets.

Step 3: The Walls and the Door Frame

Once you have your base down, add 1 x 48" (4 ft) pieces of 1" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe into the vertical outlets on each corner and cap them with a 1-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Tee connector (facing vertically).

Add 1 x 48" (4 ft) pieces of 1" PSI 200 PVC Pipe into each of the vertical outlets attached to the 24" front sections and cap each with a 1-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Tee connector (facing horizontally).

Place the 21" piece of 1" PSI 200 PVC Pipe between the horizontal tee connectors framing the door way.

Take 2 x 24" (2 ft) pieces of 1" PSI 200 PVC Pipe and connect 1 each between the horizontal and vertical tee connectors framing the front facing wall.

Now, this is where it gets fun and the fort really starts to take shape...(and the kids start to get excited)

On each corner add 1 x 2" pieces of 1" PSI 200 PVC Pipe and another 1-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Tee connector (facing vertically and towards the inside).

On each side add 1 x 60" (5 ft) piece of 1" PSI 200 PVC Pipe to each of the inward facing 1-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Tee connectors framing the sides of the fort.

On the back side of the fort, add 1 x 72" (6 ft) piece of 1" PSI 200 PVC Pipe between the 1-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Teeconnectors forming the back wall.

On each corner, add the additional 2" pieces of 1" PSI 200 PVC Pipe to the top of each tee connector.

Finally, add 1 x 1-in Dia 45-Degree PVC Sch 40 Slip Elbow to the top of each.

Step 4: Raising the Roof...

With most of the basic structure for the fort done, all that's left is to attach the 5 pipes and 2 connectors, that make up the roof.

First insert 1 x 50" pieces of 1" PSI 200 PVC Pipe in to the 1-in Dia 45-Degree PVC Sch 40 Slip Elbow on each corner.

On a ladder (or a chair, your call), connect each of the pipes for the roof (front to front/back to back) via 1 x 1-in Dia 90-Degree PVC Sch 40 Side Outlet Elbows. Then add the final 1 x 60" (5 ft) pieces of 1" PSI 200 PVC Pipe in between the 2 x elbow joints, thus completing the roof supports of the fort.

Step 5: It's Time to Play!!!

Once everything has been assemble and the fort is standing, add a roof of your choice. We used 1 twin top sheet, which I installed 6 eyelets in. Then using nylon cord, I secured it to the horizontal bar on the right side, draped it over the center support and secured it on the left side.

Finally, pick the perfect spot for the fort and move it into place.

All in all, it took about an hour and a half to measure everything, cut the pipes, and assemble it. It was well worth the time and money ($58.50 before tax), for the amount of fun my daughters are having with it.

I hope you enjoyed this Instructable...now go outside and play :-)

*Please note, this fort is only held together with pressure, so that it could be assembled and disassembled when needed. You can make the fort more permanent, by joining the pipes with pluming primer and cement. You could also drill small holes through the connection joints and insert pins (which I may do at a later date).

**You can also add more sheets, to decorate the walls and give your fort a little more privacy.

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    27 Discussions

    0
    Deysi91
    Deysi91

    Question 6 months ago on Step 5

    Hi I came across this but would like to know if you mistyped the measurements like the person in the comments assumed you might of done? I would appreciate if you respond so I can go ahead and buy the materials thank you.

    0
    BKLaRue
    BKLaRue

    Answer 6 months ago

    Hey! Thanks for the note. They were actually correct and it has been fixed. It's 4x48" in Sched. 40 and 2x48" in the PSI 200...so, 6x48" and 2x72". Sorry for the confusion :-)

    0
    Deysi91
    Deysi91

    Reply 6 months ago

    Sorry I’m lost. Now instead of 4x48 in schedule. 40 it will be 6x48??
    And 2x72 instead of 2x48 in psi 200??

    0
    BKLaRue
    BKLaRue

    Reply 6 months ago

    Sorry for the confusion. The 4x48" pipes are Sched. 40. They are used as the 4 corner vertical poles and they support the upper half of the structure. There are 2 additional vertical poles that are 48" but they are only PSI200 because they are not load-bearing pipes. Yell if you have any other questions. I'm happy to help.

    0
    Deysi91
    Deysi91

    Reply 6 months ago

    Ok so everything on the list of materials and size cutting is correct then? So I can go ahead and buy everything on the list and cut it how you say on the steps to do so?

    😊thanks for getting back

    0
    BKLaRue
    BKLaRue

    Reply 6 months ago

    No worries. Glad I was able to clarify everything and fix the goof. The list should be right and good to go. Best of luck and if you think about post a picture when you're done please :-)

    0
    Deysi91
    Deysi91

    Reply 6 months ago

    I will be glad to post a picture it’s a project I have in mind to do for my 6 year old son and 8 year old daughter thanks

    0
    StephanieL144
    StephanieL144

    1 year ago

    I made this today! I think your list of cuts might be just a tiny bit off. It says you need 5x4ft pieces but we saw a need for 6. Also you said 3x6ft pieces but we only used 2. Maybe we missed something but it works and looks just like yours! Just wanted to point this out so you could update the cuts for future project people. :) thanks for this! My kids will love this so much!!

    0
    BKLaRue
    BKLaRue

    Reply 6 months ago

    You are very welcome and very correct! Apparently I did goof on the 72" and the 48". Thanks for pointing that out!! Be well and I hope the kids are enjoying the fort!

    0
    cutencharming
    cutencharming

    2 years ago

    the Hinge joint I was talking about

    BFE525C5-C73F-4ECB-8803-4951FC176FCF.jpeg
    0
    cutencharming
    cutencharming

    2 years ago

    I wonder if you were to buy some white or off white canvas painters drop cloths if you could using grommets cut panels for the walls and lace or the them onto the frame, depending on how ambitious you were with the grommets. Then you can customize it by painting the canvas or cut out roll up windows, using one of these hinge fittings you can add a door even

    0
    AllisterO
    AllisterO

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea, motivates me to make something similar for my kids. We live in quite a windy area, so i'm wondering if the pipes could be filled with something to weigh them down if needed. Good Job !!

    P.S. I would also add plastic sides and roof that could be made with pvc sheeting, with duct tape on the edges to secure and brass eyelets punched into the sheeting at say 1m intervals then tied to the pvc tubing with ski-rope

    0
    cutencharming
    cutencharming

    Reply 2 years ago

    Something that I see vendors at swap meets use to hold their tents down is they tie a rope around the upper corner 3 or 4 way tee joints. Let that hang straight down and then tie a weight onto it. You could also fill coffee cans with cement and stick a large eye bolt into the top. If your making a kids play house use flower pots and then stick plastic flowers in the cement hiding the eye hook

    0
    BKLaRue
    BKLaRue

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you and I agree 100% on the walls. The structure it self has a lot of various possibilities. My girls opted to go with white sheets as walls after the fact, so they can draw on them.

    To weigh it down, you could use cement or play box sand in the base pipes. It would give it more of a foundation. especially if it's going to be a more permanent structure. I ended up using 3 square decorative slabs I had in my garden as a quick fix the other night. We were getting 30-40 mph gusts and they it held like a champ.

    0
    MasterTajar
    MasterTajar

    5 years ago on Step 5

    My grandkids are young, age 2 and 1. I am sure these instructions will inspire my son-in-law. Depending on the roof choices, it can be a castle or fairyland cottage! Thanks!

    0
    BKLaRue
    BKLaRue

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for the kind words! I hope he builds them a wonderful fort!

    0
    AndrewD4
    AndrewD4

    Reply 5 years ago

    This is a good idea, plus could serve as a dyi portable gazebo. Could you include pics with the "roof" on?

    0
    BKLaRue
    BKLaRue

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! I had the same thought too. It's kind of hard to see because we used a dark blue sheet, but the roof is on in the main photo. Here are a couple additional photo's as well.

    IMG_20150702_124507.jpgIMG_20150702_124524.jpg
    0
    AndrewD4
    AndrewD4

    Reply 5 years ago

    oh whoops, it sure was, I just didn't see it, although looking at the post on my phone probably didn't help!

    0
    AndrewD4
    AndrewD4

    Reply 5 years ago

    The gazebo we use above our picnic table has these corner connectors, is there anything like this that could be fab'd in pvc?

    temp_-512266558.jpg