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

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About: I'm the father of 3 great girls, a drummer and a super proud Hufflepuff. I'm also a habitual crafter and tinkerer.

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

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)

1 x 48" Piece of Pipe (4 ft)

4 x 50" Pieces of Pipe

5 x 60" Pieces of Pipe (5 ft)

3 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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    18 Discussions

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    cutencharming

    10 months ago

    the Hinge joint I was talking about

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

    10 months 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

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    AllisterO

    3 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

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    cutencharmingAllisterO

    Reply 10 months 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

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    BKLaRueAllisterO

    Reply 3 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.

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    MasterTajar

    3 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!

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    AndrewD4BKLaRue

    Reply 3 years ago

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

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    BKLaRueAndrewD4

    Reply 3 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
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    AndrewD4BKLaRue

    Reply 3 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!

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    AndrewD4AndrewD4

    Reply 3 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?

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    cutencharmingAndrewD4

    Reply 10 months ago

    you could use a four way tee joint, a 45 degree joint and a piece of pvc pipe. By using the four way tee joint your corner is set as well as your leg joint. Then you can take whatever length of pipe you want insert it into the top of the joint and the add the 45 joint to make your steeple.

    A8B4D001-9F6F-411F-9CA8-1A0EB3D19518.jpegB1DC4E13-F3C8-4909-897A-76996BE0B25E.jpeg
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    Databanks

    1 year ago

    Actually, forget the kids - this looks like an ideal base for a shade house/green house/outdoor work area for inclement weather. For those of us renting a home, we can't always build long term structures - your idea is perfect as the landlord has no reason to complain about a work shed you can pack up in a matter of hours!

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    Mic100

    3 years ago on Introduction

    really good idea, I did something similar with lumber but it is quite heavy, you give me the urge to do the same

    Merci :)

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    BKLaRueMic100

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! Originally, I was going to go with wood (which I actually have around), but decided on PVC for that specific reason. Plus, the PVC was really easy to work with (and cut).