Playhouse Plans: Building An Outdoor Fort For Kids

Quick and easy instructions on how to build an inexpensive outdoor fort from plywood, including a list of supplies, tools and materials.

Building an outdoor fort for kids does not have to be an expensive or time consuming project. Of course, once you get the basic structure in place, you can add on details to make the fort as elaborate as you want to or just leave the details up to your child's imagination.

For this project you will need 3 equal-size pieces of plywood, a good size to try is 2-feet by 4-feet. Three 2- by 4-feet pieces of plywood will make a fort that is four feet tall with walls that are two feet wide. You will also need sandpaper, a pencil, brown outdoor paint, 6 metal hinges with screws, a screwdriver, and several heavy rocks or concrete blocks. These supplies are available at any hardware store and many general retail stores.

Optional supplies include additional paint colors, varnish, and a drill. If you would like to add a wooden floor to your fort, a fourth piece of plywood and three metal stationary brackets will be necessary.

First, sand each piece of plywood all over to avoid getting splinters while you are building the fort.

Then, lay the three pieces of plywood side-by-side on a flat surface with their sides touching and the bottom and top edges lined up evenly. Measure the length from top to bottom where the pieces of plywood meet. This length will be the height of your finished fort, so make sure this is the height you want before moving on to the next few steps. Divide the length by four, and mark the plywood at each of these three intervals.

Screw in metal hinges at each of the places you have marked on the plywood. There should be three hinges at each seam. These hinges connect the outside pieces of plywood to the center piece.

When you stand the fort up, both sides should fold from the center to form 90 degree angles.

If you would like to build a fort with a wooden floor, now is the time to add the floor. To add the floor you will need a fourth piece of plywood and three stationary metal brackets. With the outside of the fort standing, place the fourth piece of plywood in the center where the floor will go. Make sure that the floor is level and the outside is standing straight before you begin attaching the metal stationary brackets. Measure the width of the floor and divide by four. Mark the plywood at each of these three intervals. Attach the metal brackets to the floor first. Then attach them to the front piece of plywood so that the front of the fort is at a 90 degree angle from the floor.

Now you are ready to paint the fort and add details. Paint the fort brown on all sides. Add additional colors for details at this time if you want. If you want the surface of the fort to be more durable, varnish the surfaces instead of painting. To create peepholes, just drill holes through the wood at various heights.

Stand the fort outside and keep it stable by placing heavy rocks or concrete blocks around the base on the inside and outside.

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