Build a Cheap and Easy Den or Playhouse




Build a quick and easy den for your kids or friends to play in...

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Step 1: What You Need...

To start you will need:
//130 sheets of broad sheet newspaper
//A pair of scissors
//Some tape
//Coloured pens or paper
//A stapler
//Some paper plates
//Find a large open space  preferably indoors

Step 2: Lets Start

Roll two pices of the newspaper around a broom or mop handle, then tape it in place.
You need to make thirty tubes that are 58cm in length and thirty five that are 62cm in length.
Colour the 58cm tubes red, and the 62cm tubes green to help you remember which are which!

Step 3: Arrange

Arrange ten of the green (62cm) tubes in a shape like this.
Use a stapler to attach them together.
Next, lie out the tubes in the pattern(second picture), so that you form ten triangles.
The triangles need to be made from tubes of alternate colours, so make a triangle with two green sides, then one with two red sides, then green again - and so on.
The bases of the triangles will, of course, all be green.

Step 4: Build It Up

Now fold the triangles upwards and staple them together.
Next, staple ten red tubes horizontally so that the tops of the triangles are joined.
The topmost layer now has ten points. You now need to arrange tubes in an alternating fashion - two green from the first point, then one red, two green, then one red - all the way around.
Now join up the tops of the triangles - two greens and a red should meet each time.

Then repeat horizontal tubes again - five this time - using green.
Now use your last five red tubes to make the peak of the dome (which is actually called a geodesic dome) with one more row of triangles which should form a point at the top.
Stick paper plates over each join…
And if you like, use fabric, newspaper or whatever you fancy to cover up each of the panels.

Step 5: Finished

Remember to leave a space for you to climb in and out!
And that's it - finished!

The paper tubes are really strong, so enjoy the den!

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    27 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 5

    This is awesome i hope its as easy to make as it sounds love it


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I saw this on a kids science show. But they were stupid and I had no idea what was happnening. lol. Nice 'ible.

    7 replies

    Not surprising, ZOOM is way more popular that the other show, I have satellite and its a Canadian show, so not surprising. I used to love ZOOM, do they still make new episodes?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Ummmm............Not big enough for a todeler even!


    9 years ago on Step 5

    I have been looking at making this dome all day most of the other plans are very hard to follow this is not. Will be making a small one then a large one for a green house this looks great thanks very much... should of looked on here first ....


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I will try making a scale version of this. I will also calculate the dimensions for everyone who's asking.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hmmm, I've got a ton of large cardboard boxes, perhaps I'll make them into a dome for my two-year-old. Thanks for the inspiration!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    First of all...thanks so much for this. My kids and I started building one this weekend. The kids LOVE it so much I can hardly work on it, because they are inside playing in it...which is awesome.

    I wanted to add one critical detail for people building this at home. I hadn't stopped to study the structure of a geodesic dome before starting this project, and the following instructions messed me up:

    The topmost layer now has ten points. You now need to arrange tubes in an alternating fashion - two green from the first point, then one red, two green, then one red - all the way around.

    because it DOES matter which point get the two long, and which the short.

    I had a 50/50 chance...and guessed wrong...and the result is a FAR less stable structure, as the load is not carried to the floor without interruption. I have pics to show you what I mean. I'll try posting them below.

    I marked in yellow where the load points end at the bottom the right way, and halfway down the wrong way.

    I'm using fused plastic for my panels (fusing grocery bags into sheets from another instructable) the whole thing has cost me the price of a newspaper so far.

    Tomorrow I'll disassemble the struts and line them up maybe reinforce a few of them to make them more kid-proof.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to post this...and feel free to use these images to clarify the instructions if it helps.


    10 years ago on Step 4

    Why couldn't you use the same concept with PVC pipe and intersections, then glue fabric triangles on with adhesive that would hold both like gorilla glue fabric on the triangles so there would be air exchange (once the gorilla glue dried.) I am going to have a grandson, so I better remember this project. Anny


    Just curious to know the approximate measurement inside, how much room is in there?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great instructable. I made it with my grade 1's an 2's when we were learning about the strength of triangles! Thanks:)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    .. Is that plastic sheet being used as a covering? I'd imaging that's an asphyxiation hazard, no?