Ely’s Playhouse

As I write this, the first coats of paint are drying on my daughter’s new playhouse.
Right now it is just plain white, I’m trying to decide whether to paint it a color and if so, which color might look best on it. Her bedroom is a soft gray with bright pink and ombre pink/white curtains, one wall is painted with silver glitter floated in acrylic. Although our house is an ugly shade of taupe that I would love to paint, I’m thinking the same soft gray I used in her bedroom might look good on her house as well, perhaps with pink trim on the windows and doors and a lighter shade of gray on the roof, as her bedroom ceiling is.  I bought small sample paint cans at Lowes, (7.6 oz size samples are available in almost any color and are very cheap!), these I intend to mix with white to paint flowers on the roof before I’m completely finished and cover them with a layer of acrylic to protect from weather.

Playhouse Frame
Playhouse Frame

We had framing lumber in storage that we’d bought for another project. If we’d had to buy this for the house, it would have been about $30.00.  Here’s what we used to build the house:

10 2×4’s (framing lumber)
2 leftover bits of 2×6 for sills

leftover bit of 2×8 for bench seat
leftover bits of post from fencing for bench  (these were the round posts I used on the yard fence in the spring)
4 4X8 Sheets of OSB (plywood pressboard)
5 1×2’s for trim around windows, doors  (this stuff is cheap, but looks fine painted. About $1.30 each. Much cheaper than what’s marked “trim” at the hardware store)

white severe weather outdoor paint

2 large hinges for the door

cabinet handle to open and close the door

sample paint in primary colors: bright red, deep blue and bright yellow. I can mix these with white or black to get many other shades

Front of playhouse
Front door of playhouse

My friend brought me some old artist’s brushes  to do the flower drawing on the roof. If you don’t have access to these, you could use kids watercolor brushes or even makeup brushes, available at almost any department store.

heavy landscaping fabric

bag of cedar dog bedding

The house is about 4 ft by 4 ft. My husband and I cut out the frame and nailed it together, framing in extra for the windows, door and roof supports.

We covered the frame in thick pieces of OSB. This is pressboard, which is not as pretty as finished plywood, but it is MUCH cheaper. It has a rough raw side and a smoother, more finished side. We kept the rough side facing out, since this would be painted over later. The smooth inside leaves less chance of splinters in little hands.

We notched in leftover bits of 2×6 to make wide windowsills, these I may add flower boxes to later when our daughter is a bit older (she’s only 2 now and not ready to plant flowers just yet). Another piece of leftover 2×8 and part of the posts we used to fence the yard made a perfect child-sized bench seat.

Playhouse side view
Side view of playhouse

Underneath the house I spread a thick layer of cedar chips, you can get this in large bags meant for outdoor animal bedding. Cedar chips are better than hardwood mulch for this purpose since they repel insects rather than attracting them, plus they smell nice too! Over the cedar chips, I put down a layer or landscaping fabric, which keeps weeds away from the edges of the house, covers the cedar chips to keep them from getting scattered and makes a sort of carpet to play on inside the house. I’d like to find a square of boat or outdoor carpet to put over this eventually, just to keep the landscaping fabric from getting torn during play. Our yard is mostly rocks/clay, so the cheap pins that came with the landscaping fabric didn’t work so well, I could only get them part way in before they’d start to bend and warp. I wound up using the house itself to anchor the fabric and just cutting it around the edges.

We added a leftover piece of OSB under the door as a sort of  porch, it helped to hide the edges of the landscape fabric in front. The sides and back I will finish off with rock to match the sidewalk when I finish painting.

I used outdoor window caulk to fill the crack along the roof line, around the eaves of the roof and along all the seams inside the house. This made it fairly weatherproof and though the windows are uncovered, the inside stays relatively dry, even in heavy rain. I let the caulking cure completely before painting over it. The instructions on the tube should give you the curing time; it may vary depending on humidity, temperature, etc.

Front of playhouse
Ely's Playhouse!

I used a brush for the trim work, edges and door and an all purpose roller for the large, flat areas on the walls, door and roof. I’ll probably have at least 4 coats of paint on when it’s finished. This will smooth out the rough texture of the OSB and hopefully protect the house from weather wear. I’m debating on whether or not to paint the inside to make it look more finished. This will probably depend on time and funds, it’s certainly not necessary since I heavily caulked the cracks to protect it from weather damage; it would be a purely aesthetic choice. This is what the house looks like so far. I’ll post new photos once I decide on color, roof design and finish the landscaping.

I’m SO glad to be back to work on projects again! My hand is still a little sore from surgery, but MUCH improved.

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