Build a play castle
Can't decide between a fort or a playhouse? Try building this two-story play castle instead.
© Steven Dewall
When a windstorm knocked over an old oak tree in the Wincklers' spacious back yard, the tree was removed and a bed of river rock was put down in its place.
Now with two kids bounding with energy and imagination, the Wincklers wanted to build a kid-friendly play structure for the whole family to enjoy.
Designing a structure that a 6-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl would both love was a little bit of a challenge, but all I really needed to do was think like a kid and use the same vivid, child-like imagination.
A traditional playhouse wouldn't do, nor would a classic fort, but, I realized, I could combine the two, incorporating a giant drawbridge, treasures and costumes, and get a 'castle' perfect for slaying dragons or holding court with neighborhood pals.
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Here's everything you need to complete this project:
- Chop saw with 12-inch blade
- Circular saw with 7-1/4-inch blade
- Table saw with 12-inch blade
- Framing nail gun
- Air compressor and air hoses
- Screwdriver bit
- Measuring tape
- Carpenter's pencil
- Extension cords
- Chalk line
- Compass or string and a pencil
- Eye protection
- Ear protection
- Finishing nail gun
- Finishing nails: Nail length should equal twice the thickness of wood. For example, if wood is 3/4-inch thick then use 1-1/2-inch nails.
- 2-by-6-inch pressure-treated studs (floor)
- Tongue and groove plywood (floor)
- T1-11 ship lap plywood (walls)
- 2-by-4 studs (walls)
- 2-by-6 planks (second-story floor)
- Ring shank nails
- 12 pre-fabricated concrete form tubes; 4-feet long, 12 inches in diameter
- 2-by-2-inch wood mounting strips
- Exterior house paint
- 3/8-inch nap roller covers
- Extension pole
- Paint trays
- 4 concrete blocks with metal ties pre-installed
- Handrail dowel; mounting brackets and screws
Optional drawbridge and door details:
- Chain or rope
- 4 eye-bolts
- 4 nuts
- 4 washers
- Wrench (to tighten nut for eye-bolt)
- Pre-fabricated exterior door
- 2 sets of hinges and mounting screws
- Door knob (non-latching, non-locking)
Any real castle needs a moat, a drawbridge, and a catapult. Just making the roof jagged doesn't make it a castle! Let the kids learn about medival warfare by experiencing it! Fashion a battering ram and spears and bows and arrows! Good clean fun!