These play houses were designed to be cut from whole sheets of plywood, probably ¼" or so. They can be put together with hinges to make them collapsable, or with 1" x 1" corner pieces for a permanent setup. The windows can be closed with Plexiglass or screen or left open, and the roofs can be finished with tar paper, or merely painted.
Let the kids help built it - it would be a great learning experience. (Besides, if they see how much work it is, they might be a bit less likely to destroy it.)
A very simple small shanty, three feet square. It is shown with no windows, but you can add them. Two pieces of plywood.
Four feet square, no roof, cut from two sheets of plywood and a piece of 18" Sonotube. If you want, you can center the door and add a second Sonotube at the other corner. You could even add one at each corner, but you'd need more wood for the tower floors. Paint it with exterior paint and leave it out all winter for some awsome snowball fights.
Hexagonal floor plan, four feet across the points (3'-9" across the flats), cut from two sheets of plywood. The center section of the roof may be left open for an "around-the-trunk" treehouse. My original plan was to put a periscope in it, but a piece of clear Plexiglass would be neat also.
A cute little cottage. Four feet square with roof, open gables for easy wasp control, three sheets of plywood.
Old fashioned schoolhouse with steeple. Four feet square, 8'-11" tall with steeple, with roof. Unlike the above plan, the gables are not left open. You can leave the steeple off, of course. If you want to drive the neighbors nuts, you can even hang a real bell in the steeple and let the kids ring it... and ring it, and ring it... Three sheets of plywood.
This A Frame involves a minimum of cutting; two sheets are not cut at all! Better yet, this one has two stories, though the second floor is rather small. Three sheets of ¼" plywood, and a small piece of ¾" plywood.
Not a lot of space inside, being only 3'-8" square, but lots of headroom. The inward angle of the wall tends to keep the door fulley closed or open. Two sheets of plywood.
An icosahedron is a regular polyhedron with 20 triangular sides; this version has five sides cut off so it will sit on the ground like a hut, and one missing to serve as a door. The floor plan is a pentagon.
I've drawn up three sets of cutting plans. The small icosahedron requires only one piece of plywood, but is only 2'-9" tall and 3'-1" across inside. (Might make a good dog house.) The mid-sized version requires two pieces, and is 4'-1" high and 4'-7" across inside; note that this version requires two sheets of plywood, cut identically. The large version, big enough for adults, is 6'-4" high and 7'-1" across inside; note that this requires five sheets of plywood cut identically.
The individual triangles meet at an angle of 130.2°. You can use either bent metal brackets or pieces of wood to join the seams.
2'-9" version (1 sheet) | 4'-1" version (2 sheets) | 6'-4" version (5 sheets)
A Dodecahedron is a regular polyhedron with 12 pentagonal sides. This one requires six sheets of plywood - it's huge! 5'-8" tall inside, 7'-5" across. Unlike the other plans on this page, this one has a floor, so it can be put up on stilts or hung in a tree to make a wild treehouse. Alternatively, you can leave the bottom and top out, and get away with only five sheets. The sides meet at an angle of 68.4°.
This tower is eight feet tall and 4'-10" across. The upper floor is 5'-6" above the ground, leaving a 30" wall to keep the kids from falling off. Four 2x4s support the floor, and a ladder connects the two floors. It is shown with "murder holes" in each wall, but of course, they're optional. Five sheets.
I haven't worked out the details of this one yet, so there is no cutting plan available. It's 13'-6" tall overall, though the highest point a kid could fall from is only 8'. Turning the castle 45° makes each leg a brace, so it should be good and strong.
© 2003 W. E. Johns