Introduction: Tiny A-Frame Cabin Plans by Solarcabin

About: I am a long time off-grid homesteader and I live year round in a solar cabin I designed and built myself. I use solar and wind power, passive solar heat and water, and a solar composting toilet. I like to he…

When I was a kid my Dad would take us fishing at this canal that ran past a KOA campground and they had the neatest little A Frame cabins to rent out to campers. I always loved seeing those A Frames and wanted to see inside and I would dream I lived in one.

I never built my A Frame but I did build my off grid solar cabin and many people have built my 14x14 A Frame cabins.

These plans are for an 8x8 A Frame designed for seasonal use but could be insulated for year round. No bathroom so you would need an outhouse or composting toilet. It can be made longer to 8x10 or 8x12 for a full size bed.

I show it with a wood stove and dry sink and desk but you could arrange it many ways and a wood stove might be too much heat for this small cabin. Just a portable propane heater, electric blanket and sleeping bags would be enough.

This project would be easy to build and hardly any cutting at all. 2x4 floor and side wall braces. 2x6x12 front and rear trusses and metal roofing.

Would be great for a seasonal cabin, backyard guest house, rental or emergency housing and could be made portable so you can take it apart and put it together where needed.

You can see my solar cabin and other cabins built from my plans at:

Step 1: Prepare Your Location

This A Frame cabin is designed to be free standing but to prevent it from settling in to soft soil you should place the legs on a solid surface. I recommend using cement pavers and you can get 1 foot by 1 foot pavers at most any garden supply store.

The location should be cleared of any debris and the pavers should be leveled with a bubble level before building the structure.

If the soil is very loose or swampy you may need to add a layer of gravel under the pavers or find a better location.

It is recommended you use hurricane tie downs if you live in high wind country. Follow the manufacturers recommendations for using tie downs.

This structure can be built with common hand tools or power tools and you will need a saw, hammer, square and level.

Follow all tool safety guidelines and wear eye protection.

Step 2: Cut the A-Frame Trusses

This A Frame uses two A shaped trusses constructed from 2x6x12 lumber.

Cut the ends using the dimensions shown and that will hive you the correct angle for the top and bottom ends of the trusses.

You will connect the trusses together in the next step.

Step 3: Construct Trusses Using Gusset and Floor Brace

Connect the top of the A Frame truss using a scrap piece of 1/2 inch plywood or suitable material.

Attach the plywood gusset to the A Frame truss using 2 inch wood screws and construction adhesive.

Attach a 2x4x8 floor brace plate to the A Frame Trusses at the dimension shown in the picture.

This brace will hold the trusses together and is the face plate for your floor.

Attach the floor face plate to the trusses using 3 inch wood screws and construction adhesive.

Follow these steps to create two A Frame trusses with gussets and floor face plate as show in image 3.

Step 4: Construct Floor Framing

Floor joists are 2x4 studs (93") if you are making the structure 8x8 feet.

Attach the studs to the framing plates using 3 inch nails toenailed or you can use joist hangers to make construction easier.

Joists are on 16 inch (1'4") centers and level and square all corners.

Get help to center the A Frame trusses and floor on the cement pavers and square and level the corners and floor.

Step 5: Attach Subflooring

Recommended flooring is 4x8x3/4" T&G or suitable substitute.

Subfloor sheets are attached to the floor framing with 1 1/2 wood screws. If you will not be making the structure to be taken apart the construction adhesive on framing and sheathing joints will create a stronger bond and reduce floor squeaking and racking.

Place subfloor sheets on floor framing and then square all corners to the sheathing before attaching with screws.

Step 6: Attach Side Wall Supports

Side wall and roofing supports are 2x4x8 lumber on 2 foot centers from bottom end of truss.

Attach supports with 3 inch screws or nails through truss.

You will attach 5 supports from the bottom on both sides of the truss.

There will be additional top supports shown in the next step.

You will need a ladder to attach the top of the supports and it is recommended you have help to brace the ladder when working at any height.

Step 7: Attach Top Supports

Measure 4 inches down from top of truss and attach the top wall supports.

The supports will be cut to fit between the gussets and if you use 1/2 plywood they will be 7' 11".

Attach the top supports with wood 4 inch screws through the truss.

Your A Frame should now look like the second image.

Step 8: Sheath Front and Rear Walls

End walls are shown sheathed with 1/2 inch hardy board or similar product.

Sheets are 4x8 and attached to the trusses with 1.5 inch screws. The sheathing overlaps the trusses by 2 inches on each side.

Sheath both front and rear wall the same way.

Your A Frame should now look like the second picture.

Step 9: Cut and Frame Door and Window

Door and window sizes are optional.

Use 2x4 lumber to frame the door and window and as cross supports at the floor and over the wall joints where the sheathing meets.

Attach the wall framing to the trusses using 3 inch screws. Attach the exterior sheathing to the wall framing with 1 inch screw through the sheathing on 1 foot spacing.

Step 10: Your A-frame Is Ready for a Roof

Your A Frame should now look like the picture.

If you are using hurricane tie downs you should follow the manufacturers instructions and attach them over the structure before attaching the roofing in the next steps.

Hurricane tie down anchors are recommended.

Step 11: Attach Vapor Barrier and Metal Roofing

Cover the roof framing with #30 roofing felt and staple in place. Start from the bottom and overlap to the top. Double layer the top ridge.

Roofing shown is 3x12 or 2x12 corrugated metal roofing and attach to the framing using the recommended metal roofing screws with washers (see picture 4).

Attach the roof ridge cap as recommended by the manufacturer using metal roofing screws.

The roof metal comes in 12 foot lengths and can be extended to the ground or cut down to 11 feet as shown. Overlap the sheets so they will cover the entire roof and leave at least 1 inch overhang on both sides.

Step 12: Install Your Door and Window

I recommend finding a second hand wood door and cutting it down to size. The opening shown is 2'x5'8" and you need to leave a 1/4 inch space around the door so the door can open.

The door trim can be pine or cedar scrap lumber.

The window is a standard 2x3 window and you can usually find these second hand or free from a remodel.

Paint the frame and trim with exterior paint so it will last longer.

Step 13: Interior Views

This A Frame can be built 8x8, 8x10 or 8x12 by just increasing the side framing length and number of roofing panels.

The 8x8 is a good size for one person and a single bed.

The 8x10 and 8x12 have room for a full size or larger bed and other features.

The wood stove is optional and this unit could be unheated or heated with a portable propane heater designed for that use.

Step 14: Add Solar and Propane

This A Frame is designed as an off grid recreation cabin and can be powered by a small solar panel and battery system and heated with a propane tank and small buddy propane heater designed for residential use.

I live off grid and my power system is just 400 watts and runs everything in my cabin.

You can get a 200-400 watt solar kit with batteries on Amazon for a reasonable price.

Step 15: Learn About Off Grid Living

If you would like to learn more about off grid living I have many videos and ebooks available that walks you through all the systems I use at my off grid cabin.

My Youtube Channel:

My Website:

Thanks for visiting and if you build the Tiny Off Grid A Frame please send me some pics and I will share them here!

Step 16: More Free Cabin Plans by Solarcabin

Off Grid Portable Cabin Free Plans

The Stealth 64 8x8 is an un-insulated cabin designed for moderate climates and for emergency/disaster relief where the cabin can be put up and taken apart quickly and flat packed for portability or storage. It can be insulated and is designed to provide basic shelter for housing and off grid survival.

Off-Grid Stealth Cabin Plans

These plans are for an 8x8 free standing shed/dry cabin that could be used as a cabin, office, workshop, guest bedroom or other use where allowed by codes.

The Stealth cabin is designed to be small and resemble an ordinary storage shed like those you can find in most backyards around the country. It can be decorated to look like a cabin/house or left plain and simple to not draw attention. The cabin is designed to be self-contained with a solar power system, RV style water system, and chemical toilet and propane appliances. It can be built off grid and would be suitable for a recreation cabin, bug-out survival retreat, or homeless housing or disaster relief situation where allowed by codes.

Thoreau Off-Grid Cabin Design Under $1000

I have attempted to follow the dimensions of the Thoreau cabin however because conventional lumber is not sold in 15 foot lengths I have opted to make the cabin 10x16 which would eliminate waste from cutting off excess lumber and is keeping with the spirit Thoreau exemplified. I don't think he would mind.

The cabin can be built for under $1000 based on US prices for lumber at large home supply stores. That price does not include windows, door, insulation or interior furnishings. In place of a brick fireplace I have recommended a recycled steel barrel stove and stove kit from Vogelzang that would be more efficient.

Quixote Off-Grid Cabin Under $5000

The Quixote cottage is designed to be built as a non-permanent or permanent structure and can be placed on a cement pad, deck block or permanent pier system.

Multi-Shack Portable Shelter

These are plans to build a 4x6 structure on casters or a trailer that can be used for homeless or emergency shelter or as a kid's playhouse, spare guest room, office, business, or many other uses.