During our staycation last week, we had one day that wasn’t panning out the way we had planned. Originally we had planned on taking a hike and visiting a beautiful swimming hole. But, due to the tremendous (and wonderful) amount of rain we have had recently, the swimming hole was closed.
Jeremy and I were at a loss as to what to do. We could go camping at the lake, we could just go play at the lake all day, we could go to breakfast then go swimming at our neighborhood pool…the list went on and on. Finally at 11pm, we went to bed and decided to talk to the kids about it in the morning. While we were at breakfast it was decided we would have an easy day at our neighborhood pool, then go home and have hamburgers and s’mores for dinner. Not too shabby I do say.
Then I had a BRILLIANT idea. The children love to make forts. They are constantly taking my kitchen chairs and blankets and making forts. I am constantly tired of not having anywhere to sit and having to fold all of said blankets when they are done. I mentioned to my engineer husband that I wanted a fort frame for the kids. He got the excited look in his eye, and before I knew it, he and the three older kids were off to the hardware store for supplies.
What resulted is the coolest fort ever. We can’t have a treehouse where we live and I have always been so sad that my kids won’t have anywhere like that for their various “clubs” they invent. Now they have it. This is super easy to make, not too expensive (all we had to buy was the PVC pipe and it was about $30) and we can take it apart for storage pretty easily.
Since I know you want to know how to make this awesome fort, my sweetheart has kindly agreed to give me all the measurements and actual terminology for the connector thingies (what? they’re not called that?) that he used.
Super Awesome Fort Tutorial
This is completely customizable. You can change the lengths of the pipe to suit your family and the space you have to set this up. Ours is big enough for all 4 kids to play in comfortably and for me to stand up in – 6 feet by 4 feet by just under 6 feet tall at the top of the roof.
- PVC Pipe – 3/4 inch
6- 4 foot lengths
4- 2 foot lengths
3- 6 foot lengths
4- 41.5 inch lengths
2- 33.75 inch lengths
8- 2 inch lengths
6- 90 degree push fit elbows with side outlet (I hope you know what this is because I sure don’t!)
If the side outlet is threaded, then you also need 6- 1/2 inch male thread to 3/4 inch female push fitting adapters.
8 – 3/4 inch push fit tees
4- 3/4 inch 45 degree push fit elbows
2 3/4 inch 90 degree push fit elbows
- Sand Paper
- Sheets and safety pins for the outside
For the size fort we made, you need to first either get someone to cut your PVC pipe at the store, or do it yourself. Cut your pipe to the dimensions above.
After you cut it, be sure to sand the cut edges so they fit properly. This is a great job for those little helpers who want to do something.
Next, lay out the base of your fort using 1 six foot and 2 four foot lengths (there is no pipe in the front of the fort, so this is just for the sides and back). Connect the corners of the six foot and four foot pipes with the elbows with the side outlets. You will have the push fit on the 4 foot length side and going up for the wall of the fort. The threaded will connect to the six foot length in the back.
Now take 4 of your four foot lengths and connect them at each of the bottom corners. On the front corner you will need to use your two 3/4 inch 90 degree push fit elbows.
Once you have your “walls” up, you start to construct the ceiling. You will be mirroring the bottom now with the exception of adding an additional 6 foot length in the front. Connect these using the 90 degree elbow push fit with side outlet.
Now it’s time for the roof. You could leave it as it is, but then the kids can’t stand up in it very easily. So Jeremy added a little dimension to the roof. Now you will need your 3/4″ push fit tees. You will attach these to the corner and put in your 2 foot lengths. This will give an angle upwards to give more height to the roof.
At the end of each of the 2 foot lengths attach 3/4″ push fit tees and 3/4″ 45 degree elbows. In the front and back place the 33.75″ lengths and on the sides place the 41.5″ lengths.
It should now look like this:
Now for the easy part – covering it! I found an old King fitted sheet that works perfect for the roof. For the sides I used twin flat sheets and brought them around to the front too. There is a small opening when it is “closed” but it works perfect. I used a queen flat sheet for the back and pinned it all together. One of my friends suggested using shower curtains for the walls also. This is a great option if you don’t want to mess with safety pins, and personally, I think it is brilliant!
Eventually I will sew all the pieces together so the kids can just take it on and off easily. But for now, this works and the children love it. It is pretty big, so it can’t stay forever in my living room. I would love to set it up outside, but since we have fire ants like crazy in the yard, that really isn’t an option. I think it will find it’s new home on the back porch before long and by taking out the long sides, we should be able to take it apart pretty easily for storage.
*Now, since my husband is a mechanical engineer and designs things for a living, I wanted to share with you what he did when I asked him to help me write this. It was immensely helpful for me when figuring out how to write this out. This way if my instructions are as clear as mud, at least you have this handy little picture and guide to help you
A: 3- 6 foot lengths
B: 6- 4 foot lengths
C: 4- 2 foot lengths
D: 4- 41.5″ lengths
E: 2 – 33.75″ lengths
F: 8- 2″ lengths
G: 6- 90 degree elbow with side outlet (push fit)
H: 8- 3/4″ push fit tees
I: 4- 3/4″ 45 degree push fit elbows
J: 2- 3/4″ 90 degree push fit elbows
K: if on G, your side outlet is threaded you will also need 6- 1/2″ male thread to 3/4″ female push fitting adapters