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DIY Wooden Playhouse for Kids

This wooden playhouse will bring your kids hours of creative play! Read on for the plans we used, the customizations we added, and lots of details of this DIY backyard playhouse.

modern wooden playhouse
modern wooden playhouse
kids playing in a playhouse
pink playhouse door

During the backyard renovation, we kept talking over different ideas of things to include for the kids. We didn’t have a great space for a climbing structure or swings. But there was this one perfect little area where a wooden playhouse would fit just right.

So our little playhouse came to life! It’s already been a source of total joy for the kids (and us, in both building it and watching them use it). We’ve had a ton of questions about various parts of it on Instagram so here’s a breakdown of the whole thing!

Psst – if you like this content, be sure to check out some of our other kids’ ideas too!

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Deciding to Add a Wooden Playhouse to Your Backyard

In thinking about the logistics and cost of building a playhouse, we wanted to make sure of a few things before we committed to the idea. It’s probably smart to discuss some long-term considerations like these before you build, too.

  • We wanted to be sure that whatever we built would be entertaining for them for at least a few years. So we needed a space that was somewhat adjustable, depending on their likes and dislikes as they change over the years.
  • In the same vein we wanted to build something big enough that they’d fit in for a few years to come. Henry’s already four feet tall, so we needed something perhaps a little taller than the average wooden playhouse.
  • Another goal was to create something that, once the kids had outgrown it, we could easily pick up and move so that theoretically another family could enjoy it in their backyard.
  • Finally, we wanted it to aesthetically fit into our backyard, but not be so “designed” that the kids would be turned off by it, or think it just looked like another grownup space.

Plans for a Kids’ Backyard Playhouse

We found these cute, modern playhouse plans and bought them for $12 on Etsy, and pretty much used them as a jumping off point but customized them quite a bit. So if you use the same plans and notice our house looks quite different, that’s why. Here’s what we changed:

  • added 24″ to the height of the building
  • tongue-and-groove siding, instead of plywood siding
  • 2×3 boards in the interior, instead of 2×4 boards
  • widened the door frame
  • added a dutch door
  • created shutters to the window
  • added plexiglass to upper transom windows
  • finished interior walls with plywood
  • eliminated front porch
  • added a mailbox

The plans were a great place to start, but because we used 2×3’s instead of 2×4’s and heightened the house, we adjusted pretty much every measurement. So don’t be afraid to adjust the plans to your space!

Below, you’ll find instructions for anything we added to the wooden playhouse plans.

how to build a wooden playhouse
how to build a wooden playhouse
how to build a wooden playhouse
how to build a wooden playhouse
how to build a wooden playhouse
how to build a wooden playhouse

How to Customize Your Wooden Playhouse Build

Creating a Dutch Door for a Playhouse

  1. Measure your door frame. Cut a piece of plywood that’s 2″ smaller on all sides than the frame. Cut this in equal halves to create a top and bottom for your dutch door.
  2. Trim both pieces of the door with 1×2″ wood. You’ll need to cut 45 degree angles on each corner to create the trim. Paint if desired.
  3. Hang both pieces of the door on hinges in the door frame. Ensure that the pieces can swing past each other easily and also can close easily in the frame.
  4. Once hung, attach sliding latches from the top pieces to the bottom piece on the interior of the door, and from the bottom piece to the door frame on the exterior of the door. This ensures that no kids ever get locked in or out.
pink playhouse door
pink playhouse door

How to Add Simple Faux Shutters to a Playhouse

  1. Measure the width and height of your window frames. Cut 1×4″ wood (or something similar) to the height of your window frames, minus 1/2″. Cut as many as you need to cover half the width of your window, minus 1/2″.
  2. Lay the pieces together and ensure all ends are even. Then cut two small 1×2″ cross pieces that will lay across at the top and bottom of the shutters to hold all the slats together. Nail these in to create your first shutter.
  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 to create more shutters. Then, create two for each window. Paint if desired.
  4. Hang shutters on the wooden playhouse using hinges. Be sure that they’re hung so that when the shutters are open, the side with the cross bars is visible. If you like, add latches or hooks to the insides of the shutters so you can latch closed.
modern wooden playhouse

Decorating a Kids’ Wooden Playhouse

After we figured out all of the building logistics, adding stuff inside was the most fun part! We originally put Maggie’s DIY play kitchen out there, but the kids opted to take it out and just keep some of the play food. We added a simple play table. Four little stools fit under the table.

If you look closely at the photos you’ll be able to see a couple of different versions of the furniture arrangement. I have a feeling it will keep changing to accommodate the kids’ play ideas.

We cleaned up an old cabinet that my grandmother made (which was in my wooden playhouse as a kid!) for toy and book storage. And otherwise, we just added some floor pillows to crash on.

I used some simple IKEA frames to hang some art that the kids have chosen over the years, and added some pompoms and other yarn treasures that we brought back from some Mexico trips.

But my favorite part is maybe the mailbox on the outside. 🙂 Also, we added some gold house numbers to make it feel like a real little house for the kids. The numbers we added are actually our own address, but I Photoshopped them out here and just added 123 because, ya know, privacy.

kids playing in a playhouse
playhouse ideas
modern wooden playhouse
playhouse ideas
playhouse ideas

Should You add a Playhouse to Your Yard?

Bottom line, we loved building this together for our kids. It’s something that I think is going to get many hours and days and years of use. And it’s something that can grow and change with them.

If you have the space and the inclination to create a wooden playhouse, I say go for it! I’d love to answer any questions that you have, so drop them in the comments. xoxo

playhouse ideas
playhouse ideas
modern wooden playhouse
modern wooden playhouse
Yield: Wooden Playhouse Door and Shutters

How to Customize a Wooden Playhouse

modern wooden playhouse

A Dutch door and shutters are really adorable ways to customize a wooden playhouse!

Active Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Difficulty Difficult
Estimated Cost $50

Materials

  • plywood
  • 1x2 boards
  • hinges
  • sliding latches
  • hook latches
  • screws
  • nails
  • paint

Tools

  • hammer or nail gun
  • drill
  • paintbrush

Instructions

    1. Start by creating the Dutch door. Measure your door frame. Cut a piece of plywood that’s 2″ smaller on all sides than the frame. Cut this in equal halves to create a top and bottom for your dutch door.
    2. Trim both pieces of the door with 1×2″ wood. You’ll need to cut 90 degree angles on each corner to create the trim. Paint if desired.
    3. Hang both pieces of the door on hinges in the door frame. Ensure that the pieces can swing past each other easily and also can close easily in the frame.
    4. Once hung, attach sliding latches from the top pieces to the bottom piece on the interior of the door, and from the bottom piece to the door frame on the exterior of the door. This ensures that no kids ever get locked in or out.
    5. Measure the width and height of your window frames. Cut 1×2″ wood (or something similar) to the height of your window frames, minus 1/2″. Cut as many as you need to cover half the width of your window, minus 1/2″.
    6. Lay the pieces together and ensure all ends are even. Then cut two small cross pieces that will lay across at the top and bottom of the shutters to hold all the slats together. Nail these in to create your first shutter.
    7. Repeat Steps 5 and 6 to create more shutters. Create two for each window. Paint if desired.
    8. Hang shutters on the wooden playhouse using hinges. Hang so that when the shutters are open, the side with the cross bars is visible. If you like, add latches or hooks to the insides of the shutters so you can latch
      closed.

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