How To Make A No-Wood Backyard Castle Playhouse For Girls

Turn an appliance box into a fairy tale castle for some lucky young princess. Easy instructions, and no carpentry is involved!

What little girl doesn't love a playhouse? Especially one that is suitable for playing princess? Yes, every little girl needs her own castle. With these instructions, you can make a castle playhouse even if you aren't skilled in working with wood!

To make the playhouse, you will need an appliance box. A box from a washer, dryer, or range will be about the right size. Turn the box so that the opening is to the bottom.

Draw a door on the side of the box you wish to make the front. The door should be about 2 ft. high at its highest point, and should be arched (something like the doorway of a doghouse.) Draw a straight vertical line down the center of the doorway. This will form the opening of the doors.

Paint the box with gray paint (except for the doors). Or you can use any color that you think would be suitable for a castle, like pink! Use interior latex or tempera. It may take several coats to cover the printing on the box. When the paint is dry, draw brick lines with a black magic marker. You may want to use a yardstick to insure that you make straight lines. First draw horizontal lines about two inches apart all around the box. These represent the layers of bricks. Now draw short lines on each layer. These lines will make the individual bricks. Each brick should be about 6 inches long. Be sure to stagger the lines on each successive row so that they look like real bricks.

Paint the doors brown, and draw wood grain patterns on them. Draw a small diamond shaped window on each of them if desired.

When all the paint and ink is dry, you can cut the door and windows. Using a utility knife cut the door up the vertical line and 1/3 of the way down from the top over to each side. Fold the doors forward to make an opening into the castle. For doors that can be shut when the little princess is inside, make a hole where the doorknobs would be. Place a length of shoestring through the each hole and tie it into a loop. This loop of string can be used to pull the doors shut.



The windows of a castle are usually long and narrow, with an arch at the top. Castles were designed to keep a village or family safe from enemies, so the windows were made such that an arrow could be shot out, but not shot in very easily! Draw some of these narrow windows on each wall and cut out with the utility knife. Suggested dimensions for a window are 12-18 inches tall by 2-3 inches wide.

It might be fun to attach clear colored plastic over some of the windows (on the inside) to represent stained glass. This type of plastic is often available inexpensively as report covers, and is easy to cut with regular scissors.

Collect 4 large oatmeal containers or cylindrical ice cream containers to form the towers. Paint them to match the castle. Draw on the bricks in the same manner as you did for the castle. Using a utility knife, carefully cut the top of each tower in the characteristic squared castle design, and glue them to the corners of the roof. Cut a little window for a doll to look out, if desired. A longhaired fashion doll would make a good Rapunzel!

A flag attached to the top, or perhaps one on each tower would be fun. A dowel rod with a triangle shaped piece of colorful fabric glued on makes a flag. Look at castle pictures to get ideas for other shapes of flags.

Since this is a fairy tale castle, it might be fun to glue glitter or colored jewels around the windows. These can be obtained inexpensively in the craft section of department stores.

Any windows left open can have a silky curtain attached to the inside of the top of the window. Tapestry printed fabrics can be glued onto the inside walls if desired. Castles often had tapestries displayed on the walls.

Colorful and ornate fabrics for flags and other play props are often available inexpensively at thrift shops, especially if you don't overlook cast off clothing to use for fabric. Sequined, embroidered, and jeweled fabrics can sometimes be had for a song.

Instead of a flimsy construction paper crown for your little princess, consider making one of felt, with a Velcro closure. Two layers of felt with heavy interfacing between make a stiff durable crown. Glue or sew on sequins, jewels, or metallic trims.

If your little princess is less than 4 years old, please supervise her closely when playing in the castle, or anywhere. Limit the use of small items, such as jewels, which could pose a choking risk, and don't make streamers long enough for a child to get tangled up in.

This castle will provide girls with lots of medieval pretending fun in the back yard. A few knights might come by to play, too! The castle will not stand up to rain, however, so be prepared to move it into a garage or play room when inclement weather threatens.

© High Speed Ventures 2011