Tinker Sprinkler




If you or the kids enjoy playing with Tinker Toys, you will love playing with these sprinkler parts. Everything can be found at you local hardware store for hours of outside fun with or without the water.

I created this project for my 3 younger brothers. They love to play and build things in the water. Now we have fun building and getting wet together. 

This was a 4H project I created for Child and Family Development.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Our Tinker Sprinkler includes:

4 - 3/4" PVC 10 ft
10' Vinyl Tube 3/4"
4 - 1/2" x 3/4" adapters
4 - 1/2" poly adapter
8 - 3/4" side outlet elbow
8 - 3/4 " elbow
8 - 3/4" tee
8 - 3/4" PVC Cap
2 - 3/4" PVC Cross
1 - 3/4" PVC Coupling
1 - 3/4" PVC Hose Adapter
2 - 3/4" PVC Ball Valve

2 - Funnels
1 - 4.5 Gal. Bucket
4 - Cans Spray Paint

Our total cost for the materials listed above was $85. Add or subtract number of fittings and pipes to fit your budget.
(Lowe's had a greater variety and less expensive 3/4" fittings than Home Depot.)

Tools and misc:
tape measure
hand saw
drill bits (1/8")
sand paper
painter's tape
rubber mallet

Step 2: Cut PVC and Vinyl Pipes

Cut the 10 foot PVC pipes into desired lengths. We cut ours into 6, 12, 18, and 24 inch pieces.

Sand the ends of each of the pipes to remove rough edges.

Cut the 10 foot vinyl tubing to desired lengths. We cut ours into 2 - 5 foot pieces. Insert adapters.

Step 3: Drill Holes

Drill holes into a few of the pieces and end caps. We drilled 1/8" holes. Do not drill too many holes. You can always add more later. Some tubes do not need any holes. We drilled 1-3 holes in a few of our 6 and 12 inch pipes and end caps.

Step 4: Prepare Pipes for Painting (optional)

If you choose to paint your pies as we did, you will need to prep them.

Wipe the entire pipe with Acetone. "The Acetone does two things: (1) it swells the surface making it slightly more porous and (2) it disperses the surface waxes that are inherent on the surface from the extrusion process when it is manufactured. So, Acetone will also raise the SE of the PVC." (http://mgmindustries.com/mgm-blog/2011/06/17/how-to-paint-pvc-or-vinyl/)

Place a ring of tape around each pipe where there is a hole to create an easily identifiable stripe.

Spray paint the pipes. We stacked ours on staked dowels in the grass.

Touch up paint and ends if desired. Allow paint to dry fully. Remove tape.

Step 5: Assemble and Enjoy

Attach the hose adapter and begin building. There's no limit to the designs you can build. If you need help getting started, check out a few of our creations.

Adult supervision is recommended. Use caution when building as the water pressure may cause the pieces to pop off. A rubber mallet may become handy to tighten or loosen pieces. If pieces continue to pop off, either decrease the water pressure or add more or larger holes.

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    14 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    I'm having a heck of a time finding the following parts-- is it possible they are called something else?

    4 - 1/2" x 3/4" adapters

    4 - 1/2" poly adapter

    1 - 3/4" PVC Hose Adapter

    Thanks! Dev in OK


    3 years ago on Step 5

    Just what I was looking for! I wanted to make something fun for my boys for water play with PVC pipe! Great Ideas!!!!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Fun and cute! Makes me want to have some water fun with my kiddo!

    That looks like so much fun! Brilliant idea and I love all the bright colors you painted it. Bravo!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    excellent kit - is there a commercial equivalent?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    excellent kit - is there a commercial equivalent?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome idea! Thanks for sharing this - I love it when people like yourself create unique building systems for kids :)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is too cute! My sister loves making things like this. Maybe I will make it soon?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is awesome. I think if you made one of the action shots the lead image (I particularly like this one), you'd get even more interested parties clicking through. It's great, and a perfect title!

    Neat idea, I'm surprised I haven't seen anything similar before.
    I mean, what kid doesn't like playing in water?!
    I am curious though, how easy is it for a kid to
    put together/take apart the PVC pipes.

    Also I have an additional piece you could add,
    take one of those (freely) spinning (not the impact type) lawn sprinklers,
    and have it connected to an adapter (like you're using to connect to the supply),
    this would add an element of movement to the whole thing...
    though if the water pressure is high enough,I could see it being a problem..
    as the sprinkler head could spin possibly fast enough to hurt a kid's hand....

    1 reply

    We tried a few sprinkler heads but there wasn't enough pressure. Also, most of the sprinkler heads were to large to be adaptable.