It all started years ago when I saw a mention online of a cube house on its corner in europe. It took me all of ten minutes to google the mention and find the apartment complex in Darmstadt that a creative designer had built over top of an existing bridge. It was inspiring, and in days I had a working house plan drawn up. But who would approve that design in the conservative banking industry? So I designed and obsessed for years, until saturday when I finally bought $150 in lumber and hardware from Lowes and had them cut it up for me. THe OSB, that is, they wouldn't cut up the stick-lumber on their panel saw. Oh well, I have a mitersaw.
I have included the in-progress images from one cube, simply adjust the layout to suit your needs and budget. By the way, the $150 was for two exactly like the one imaged. For certain layouts, you'll need to adjust the quantities of sheeting for each cube, but you're smart, you'll get it. I have also included the printed blueprints as a PDF in a download link. I made them on my student license of AutoCAD 2014, thus the border on the pages.
Download the plans here.
Step 1: Parts and Helpers
The main thing for this scale of structure is that you can do each cube by yourself if needed, but to assemble them together into one array, you need help. But I'll get into that later. I had a 3 and a 6 year old helping me, so use that as a metric for how much help you need. Lay out all the parts you'll need in a neat arrangement, so that your helpers can help you right. Do all the cutting safely, with necessary safety PPE, and no kids around. Cutting for more than one cube is helpful to use C-clamps. Clamp multiple boards together to make sure they are all uniform after cutting. I used a sawzall. 3 boards is faster, but 6 was possible. I paid Lowes to cut the sheets of OSB into 2' squares because I didn't have a truck available. And it was the size I needed for most cuts. The triangular false-floor panels took some creativity, but I made it work with a little trigonometry and a sawzall. Again, the pattern is in the PDF.
Step 2: Building the Cubes. 1
I started by screwing the first sheet on the edges with four of the shorter of the 2x2 cuts. Then I prepared the other side with more woods, careful to make sure I used the right lengths. Also, make sure before you do it that you understand which side is best inside and which you want showing outside. Check on that with every step otherwise you'll be mad at yourself when you have to take woods back off of sheets to fix it.
Step 3: Building the Cubes. Take Care.
Make sure you know which sheet goes on which face of the cube. Be sure and extra sure before you screw any wood down. It helped that I had a 3D printed model to refer to first, but you may not have that. That's why I included an image on the cover of the PDF. A quick glance now and then will save 15 minutes of kicking yourself.
Step 4: Building the Cubes. Be Uniform.
When building the sections, I referred to the previous ones. I had to because no matter how you do it, you'll want to have that ready reference available when you need it. For a 3 cube arrangement, make all three cubes perfectly identical, because it's a rotated polar array.
Use small brackets to hold the open point together. during construction it may have become misaligned. That's fine. When brought back into uniform, the mechanical tension in the structure will give it more strength and allow less deflection with playtime.
Step 5: Assembly. Get Help.
When putting the first two together, you will need help. I had a 3 and 6 year old child helping me. These turn out to be about 40lbs each, so ti was tough for them to hold them in position until I could screw them together. I used some 1-5/8" deck screws to secure the sheeting to the frame, but 2-1/2" deck screws to secure the frames together at the joints as shown in the image.
Also I designed a false-floor panel for playtime. It was perfectly sized to slip into the window hatch opening and rest on the bottom of the frame. I didn't secure it down for two reasons. 1. It's a cool little hiding place now in each cube. 2. It's easy to take out if it needs to be cleaned. It too can be cut from the plan of one 4x8 sheet of OSB per cube, template included in the PDF with trig-measurements.
Step 6: Light It Up-up-up.
I had an older blue rope light in the playroom that they weren't using, so i poked a hole in one face near an outlet, threaded it under a floor panel, around the middle of the structure and then plugged it in. They love it. We plan to paint it next weekend, with which the kids will also help. This scale is good for my small kids, but when they grow too big to fit inside it, it will be changed into a toy-box. I will then start work on the scaled up version that will go outside and have 4-foot edges on the cubes instead of 2-foot ones.
And in case you need to move it to another room, the sections can be unscrewed and separated, making a few 2' cubes to move, realign and screw back together. If your doorways are narrower than 24", you'll have to assemble the cubes in the room they will be in forever. And also I feel bad for you for having such a sucky house that has such narrow doorways.