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A Secret Playhouse | Kids' Woodworking Projects

A Secret Playhouse

Total Time Needed: Weekend Project

My 5-year-old daughter, Laney, said she wanted a playhouse, and I knew what she meant - it must be set in a spot where a kid can make a world that suits her. And it must be shade-soaked and secluded.


  • Hand or circular saw
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Staple gun
  • Square
  • 2 pounds 3" galvanized nails
  • (8) at 48" (crosspieces)
  • (4) at 41" (crosspiece reinforcements)
  • (4) at 48" (uprights)
  • (4) at 33" (roof supports)
  • (1) at 51" (roof beam)
  • (5) yards of water-resistant nylon fabric, 60" wide


Secret Playhouse Step 1

1. Building the Walls

A. Construct four reinforced crosspieces for the frame.

B. For each, lay a crosspiece on your work surface. Then stack a crosspiece reinforcement on top of it, creating a 3 1/2" notch at each end. Nail the two together.

C. To build the side of the frame, lay flat two uprights, 4' apart.

D. Set a reinforced crosspiece with the reinforcement facing down across the top and bottom of the uprights. Square off each corner and nail together.

E. Build the second side the same way.

Secret Playhouse Step 2

2. Connecting the Walls

A. Stand the two sides 4' apart with reinforcements facing inward--sawhorses or chairs will hold the walls up.

B. Set unreinforced crosspieces on the ground between the two side walls, completing a square frame.

C. Nail the bottom front and back crosspieces to both side walls.

D. Nail unreinforced top crosspieces into place, 1" below the top of the side walls--this leaves a space to nail the roof supports. You now have a cube.

Secret Playhouse Step 3

3. The Roof

A. Cut both ends of the roof supports at 45-degree angles--the top edge of the support will measure 33 inches; the bottom, 26 inches.

B. Nail roof supports at each end of the top crosspieces. There will be a 1 1/2" gap between the two for the roof beam.

C. Place the roof beam between the top ends of the roof supports and nail it in place.

D. With a staple gun, attach water-resistant nylon fabric to the frame. Decorate with banners.


Measure a 3 1/2" square at either end of the four roof supports. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner. Cut along the diagonal.

For greater ease, build the playhouse with a partner.

Create a walkway from old pieces of plank. Beside it, plant flowers.