Tips on Creating the Ultimate Kids Playhouse

 

Tips on creating the ultimate kids playhouseWe recently built this ultimate kids playhouse as the centerpiece to what has become a really awesome playroom for our kids.  This space used to be a largely unused sitting/entry room and I couldn’t be happier that it is now one of the most used rooms in our house.  The creation of this play room, and more specifically the playhouse, has solved several issues for us:

  • It gives the kids a place for active play during inclement weather
  • It gives the kids a shared play space so that their bedrooms can be more private
  • It adds attractive lighting to a room that had no built in lights
  • It greatly adds to the square footage since there’s space above and below to play in
Constructing the Kids Playhouse

To start we measured out our space and sketched up a rough plan for the ultimate playhouse using Visio.  If you are going to include an indoor slide make sure there will be enough room between the end of the slide and the wall. We have 55 inches of clearance between the end of the slide and the wall and I don’t think I’d cut it much closer than that.  You don’t want anyone to face-plant into the drywall! When planning you can use the good ‘ol Pythagorean Theorem to calculate how far out from the edge of the playhouse the slide will end.

We framed it out using 2×4’s making sure that everything was square and level.

B and M constructing play house

Then we screwed down 1/2″ sanded plywood for the floor and covered it with a remnant carpet pad and carpet. My father in law, who is a very skilled carpenter and makes everything look way too easy, took over for a while at this point.  He did all the detail work including the pine board panels, arched window and doorways, the awning and the adorable flower box and shutters.

Adding Some Functional Details

I had been scoping out playhouses on pinterest for a while and thought it was a great idea to put pegboard, chalkboard and white board walls inside, so we did that.  Pegboard puppet storage near the window

The kids often like to put on puppet shows through the window of the playhouse so we put the pegboard right next to the window to conveniently store their puppets.

Reading nook underneath the playhouse

We turned the area below the kids playhouse into a cozy reading nook.   The bookshelf used to be sitting on a desk so it is the perfect short height to fit underneath the playhouse.  It is screwed to the leg of the playhouse so that it can’t be tipped over.  And the green pad that you can see on the floor in the picture above is actually a pack n play mattress that we repurposed for this and it fits perfectly in the nook (plus it’s great that when the kids get it dirty I can just throw the sheet in the washer!)

Let There Be Light

We needed some great lighting in this little nook so we put some battery operated LED push lights (that the kids can reach and push on themselves) on the ceiling in the nook. But we quickly realized that the batteries weren’t lasting long so we hard wired the little push lights so that we could plug them in.  You can still push them to turn them off so they can be operated independently of the other lights in the kids playhouse.

Install lighting that kids can use

You can see the little hardwired push lights in the picture above along with a small remote control that we hung just inside the reading nook.  The remote controls the outlet that all the playhouse lights are connected to.  In addition to the reading nook lights we also installed LED string lights around the inside of the playhouse, and a porch light on the outside wall of the playhouse near the door.  The porch light looks adorable and actually functions really well to light the whole room since it is positioned near the center of the room.

Inside the playhouse

The kids love their playhouse, and we love watching them enjoy it!

I would have loved having a playhouse like this as a kid! What about you?

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DIY Felt Paper Dolls with a Fold and Carry Doll House

felt doll pin

Fold and Carry Felt Doll HouseI’m always a fan of handmade gifts for kids so when I saw this free fold and carry doll house pattern on Pinterest I knew that I had to make one for my daughter along with some felt paper dolls to live in it. I had fun picking out the fabrics (most of which came from my stash, but a few were from a fat eighth quilters sample pack). It was the first time I’ve ever done applique and I’d have to say that it was quite a successful first project – but very time consuming!  Inside of Fold and Carry Felt Doll HouseIt was fun and easy designing and appliqueing the individual panels, but sewing the panels together and attaching the binding was a bit tricky.  The areas where multiple corners came together got a bit bunchy, but for the most part the binding did a good job of covering the imperfections.  Just make sure that you clip off any excess before wrapping and sewing the binding.

I also decided to add an accordion pocket to the back of the house to store the dolls and doll clothes in. As an added bonus the pocket has a button down flap to keep it shut and my daughter loves practicing buttoning with it.  To make the flap I cut 2 identical pieces of fabric slightly shorter across the top than the width of the pocket it will cover, and slightly wider at the bottom than the pocket width.  I would suggest adding a layer of interfacing to the pocket flap too to give it a bit more stiffness.  With right sides together and the interfacing on top sew around the edge leaving an opening to turn.  Turn right side out and close the turn opening while topstitching around the whole edge of the flap.  Position the flap where you want it over the pocket and stitch in place along the top edge.  Add a button hole to the flap and sew a button on the pocket.Flat Doll House with Accordion Pocket on Back

I used the fusible web and Annie’s Soft and Stable like the pattern recommends, but the template plastic wasn’t necessary – I just used cardboard instead.

Of course once I was done making the house I had to make a couple felt “paper” dolls and outfits to go with it! I searched the internet for a while and settled on these dolls to make, but I came up with a face I liked better to embroider onto the dolls. I used 2 strands of thread for the backstitching and french knots on the eyes and mouth and only 1 strand of thread for the backstitching on the nose. You can see the resulting felt paper doll below.  I think she turned out pretty cute! What do you think?Embroidered Felt Paper Doll FaceDoll clothes are easy enough to make, just use your doll to trace out patterns for clothes. You can use any fabric that you want, just make sure to sew felt onto the back so that the clothes will self stick to your felt dolls.

Felt Paper Dolls