In this Instructable I will show you how to make this super cool and cute A Frame cabin. It is relatively cheap and easy to make and can be done in a couple weekends
Just over a year ago our family moved to a new house. Our backyard is like a little oasis in the woods, very private and scenic. The only problem was this old rotten play structure that was basically a death trap (many an accident occurred with our two boys) So the question was put to them, do you want a new play structure or a club house. Club house won hands down.
We searched for kits and design ideas and came up with the A Frame design (mainly because it will shed snow very well). After some research we decided on Deek Diedricksens design from Relaxshacks.com We made a couple adjustments and personal touches and we cant be more happy with the end results.
Please note I am not a contractor by any means and there are some mistakes here and there. I took full advantage of getting my family to help, as well as countless hours on Instructables and other sites. It was important that my sons helped as mush as possible, as this was a great opportunity to teach a new skills and to learn from mistakes.
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Step 1: Materials and Tools
The materials and tools for this project are pretty straight forward and easy to find.
Saws (hand, jig and circular)
Drill and Driver
Square (straight edge and compound)
Chisel or router (for mortising door hinges)
Nail gun (Optional)
Pressure treated 2x6's and deck boards
kiln dried 2x4s and 2x6's
Wood for trim and door
Screws, Glue and nails
I'm sure I am missing something but this is a good start.
Step 2: A Strong and Level Foundations
If possible try and find a flat location to build, this will save time and stress, trust me. We found the best location and started mapping out the foot print of the cabin. We used deck blocks for our cabin, but you could also use a skid design or even a concrete pad.
We started out by leveling one deck block and building the four corners of of that one. Making sure to always check for level. We dug each whole just under a foot deep and made sure to add about 5 inches of gravel to help with drainage.We used 16 deck blocks in total. We used pressure treated 2x6's for the outer frame and joists. Once all the 2x6's were in place and level we checked for square (measure from corner to corner on each diagonal and they should equal the same distance)
We also added joist hangers for added support, but this is not a must.
Step 3: Deck Boards and Bug Repellent
This was a point to ponder. Should we use plywood to build a sub-floor of use deck boards. Ply wood would have looked a little nicer and we could have added flooring on top of that, but we worried about water getting in and ruining the plywood so we decided to use deck boards (5/4 thickness to prevent and sponginess) We also put down some ground cover to help prevent any bugs or weeds coming up. I'm not sure if this will do anything, but it only cost $10 to do.
Also make sure to leave some space between each board to compensate for expansion.
I will mention, we attached the A Frames before the deck boards so that we could attach them directly to the floor frame for extra strength. This will be explained in the next step.
Step 4: Building and Installing the a Frames
I found this to be the hardest part. So basically we made 3 A frames out of 6 2X6's (12 feet long) and mortised in 2x4's every 2 feet. The base we are building on is 10 feet wide and 8 feet deep. Each 2X6 needed a 66 degree cut at the bottom and a 24 degree cut at the top. We also notched in a space at the top to run a 2x6 across the ridge. Unfortunately I do not have a photo of this cut :(
Once the angles were cut, we lined them all up and clamped the 2x6's together to make sure all our cuts are equals.
Curf cuts are great for this. A couple passes with the circular saw and you can hammer and/or chisel out the pieces (see pics)We measured twice and cut 30 times....
We used wire mesh and gussets to secure the tops.
When lifting the A Frames up, we screwed in a couple temporary metal brackets to stop it from slipping and toe nailed the bottoms of the 2x6's into the floor. Then it was as simple as adding the 2x4's to the cut outs and adding a couple angled 2x4's to add strength. I was surprised how strong this was, even with no sheeting on yet.
Step 5: Ridge Cap
We debate for a couple days on how and what to use for a ridge cap. Since our roofing was going to be corrugated we had to come up with something simple and effective. We found some 90 degree 4 inch steel sheeting used for siding on your home and thought of a plan to make this work. Basically we ran some 1x1 wood across the ridge beam and laid the steel sheeting on top. It overlaps the 1x1 by an inch and a half so when we butt the roofing up against the 1x1, there will be enough overhang to direct water and hopefully keep the cabin dry. Sorry I don't have many great photos of this, we kind of just played around with ideas and all of a sudden it was done...
Step 6: Got to Have a Window and a Door....
So, this step depends on what to have or can find. Framing for the window will depend on the size and type you use. Our Window was 39'' by 39'' but there are so many different sizes that could work. Measure and think this through, you do not want to buy a window that is to small or to big. With respect to the door, we could not find a used or new on I liked or that fit so we built one from scratch. I will not explain this process in full as there are tons of Instructables on this process. Basically I used store bought boards and glued and screwed them together. We added a cool port hole window for added light and ventilation
Since we made the door from scratch that also meant that we needed to build a door jam as well. This was my first attempt and after a couple Youtube videos I gave it a go and was please to see it worked.
It is always good to have a couple extra hands to help with this step.
When framing in the window and door make sure you do your research on this. You will need double 2x4's on each side an you should have two on the top if there is going to be any weight distributed across the top. Now I know I did not do this exactly as it should be done, but it does work.
Shims were also used to help level the widow and door.
The door and window were installed 5/8 of an inch to make sure the siding installed flush.
The door was primed in knot sealer and painted with exterior grade paint
We added a simple gate latch style door handle and so far it works great.
Step 7: Siding and Trim
There are many ways you could side this structure. Plywood, barn board, cedar singles, etc. We decided to go with 5/8 inch thick 8 inch wide tongue and grove siding made from knotty pine. This not only looks great, but is very affordable and easy to work with.
Once a color was picked out, all the boards were primed. On one side we painted with exterior grade paint . We figured having the interior in white would help with light in the cabin.
It was simple to install. Place against the frame, mark the cut, cut and install. We used a nail gun for this step to help speed up the process but you would use normal nails.
We also installed small vents at each end to help with heat and air flow.
The trim is just simple 1x3 boards painted white and nailed in place. Super simple and looks great.
Step 8: Installing the Roof
For the roof we decided on Tuftext as it was lightweight, affordable and easy to install. We went with 6 beige panels and two clear ones (to add some light)
You can easily use plywood and singled here or even a metal roof. Its up to you.
Installing took about 2 hours and many hands make for an easy install. If using Tuftext, make sure you use the proper screws (with build in rubber washers)
Just before install the 2x4 perlans were cut to length.
One person would hold the sheet in place, one would drill the holes and drive the screws. Originally we wanted a foor over hang on the front and back, but the Tuftext is very flexible and we worried it would catch in the wind. If you were to use plywood, I think it would work better.
Step 9: And That's It.....kinda
The basic structure is now complete. What a journey and a blast to build. The kids love it and can't wait to camp out in it.
We still need to install a front step, foam in the window, maybe add some solar lights/power, but for now, it is done and we cant be happier.
I hope you have enjoyed this Instructable and much as I have. Please do not hesitate to comment and ask questions.
Now get on there and build one for yourself....
First Prize in the