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Do It Yourself - Most Popular

Build Your Own Treehouse - The Perfect Hideaway for your Little Ones Print E-mail
Written by Mike C.   

Every child dreams of having a treehouse.  A treehouse can be a difficult project, but if you have help it can be much simpler.  These tree house plans are for a simple design.  However, let your creative juices flow to construct a treehouse beyond your child’s imagination.

Tools

  • Jigsaw
  • Rip Saw
  • Electric Table Saw
  • Electric Drill
  • Spirit Level
  • Ratchet Spanner plus Set of Heads
  • Chisel
  • Carpenter Square
  • Large Drill Bits - 14, 16 and 18mm
  • Two Hinges
  • Four Eyebolts
  • Bag of Clout Nails
  • Hammer
  • Stepladder
  • Long Ladder
  • Safety Rope
  • Chain Hoist
  • Cloth Bag
  • 30-6 inch Coach Screws with Heavy Square Washers
  • 8- 8 inch Coach Screws with Washers
  • 32-4 inch Coach Screws with Washers
  • 2-3 inch Utility Hinges
  • ¾ inch Self Tapping Panhead Sheet Metal Screws
  • 4 × 3 inch Wood Beams – 20 ft
  • 2 × 6 inch Pine Planking – 64 ft
  • 2 × 4 Timber for Roof Joists and Walls – 2 ft + 152 ft + 184 ft
  • Pine Decking to Cover Platform – 49 sq ft
  • Pine Decking for the Ladder – 27sq ft
  • "Shiplap" Planking – 84 square ft plus 49 square ft for the roof

Materials

Choosing a Tree

This is a very important step.  The most important thing to consider is the health and age of the tree.  You will want to choose a middle-aged tree.  It should not be too old or too young.   You do not want a diseased tree.  They could become diseased at the root, at the core, or in the trunk.

Pay attention to the height of the tree, as well as the branches.  The thickness and angle of the branches are important as they will determine whether you have weak or strong support for your platform.

Constructing and Supporting the Platform

It is important to understand that you will be resting this construction project on a platform, rather than a foundation.  Therefore, your platform should be extremely sturdy and stable to ensure that whatever type of tree house you create will be able to sit safely on top.  This platform will decrease damage to the tree and keep it from swaying as much when there is a lot of wind.

These instructions are based on a 7x7 ft platform.  You will need the 2x6 inch pine planking.  Determine the height of the base from the ground.  7 feet off of the ground is a good height for children.  It is possible to go higher, but lower will be safer and easier to make.

Steps for Making the Platform and Floor

  1. Pre-drill holes for the coach screws.
  2. Place four wood beams around the tree.
  3. Anchor them with the coach screws.
  4. Support the planks with safety rope until they are secure.
  5. Use a chain hoist and the ropes to position the framing before you bolt it into place.
  6. Support the platform with the 4x3 inch wood beams.  The trunk will be uneven, so you will likely have to cut them down to size.  Cut a 90 degree triangle with two saw lines for the corners.  The platform sits on a flat surface at all four corners.  This is where the strength comes from.
  7. On the end of both sides of each beam, measure 4 inches.  Draw a line from the opposite edge to the point.  Repeat this step to give you two diagonal lines.  When they meet, this is the center point.  Measure it twice and cut from the edge inwards.  Cut straight down on one of the cut edges.  Measure and cut.  Once these steps have been taken, you will end up with four ends that will fit snugly inside the corner of the main platform.
  8. Attach the four diagonals to the trunk with 8 inch coach screws.  The screws will go four inches through the beam and four inches into the tree.  Once in place, the platform will not tip.  Add 2x6 bracers to any gaps in the platform.
  9. Screw the pine decking for the floor straight into the bracers and main beams of the platform.  Shape around the tree with a jigsaw.  Leave a small gap to allow for tree movement.  You will also want to create a square in the flooring large enough to be a door unless you choose to make the door in the wall.  See instructions below for the trap door.


Steps for Making the Walls

This treehouse is a simple design of a rectangle with a ledge.  Assemble the rectangle on the ground and then hoist it into place.  Each wall will need 4x2 inch beams. You will use 4-inch coach screws to hold them together.  Ensure that you have a drill powerful enough to drill the screws straight into the wood without pre-drilling as this would take too much time to do.  Once in place, screw the walls into place.

The walls will feel unstable until the roof is attached.  You will need to cut a door out of one side if you choose to put the door in the wall and not the floor.  Cover the lower half of each wall with overlapping shed planking.

Steps for Making the Roof

NOTE-It is important that you use a safety rope at this stage.

  1. Cut 8-2x4 ft joists to size.   This size will depend on the angles involved.  Allow at least four feet for each joist.
  2. Take out a triangle near the end so they will fit neatly over the top corners of the wall.
  3. Use 8-6 inch coach screws to anchor to the tree.
  4. Place the four diagonal joists for the corners in place.
  5. Add 4 joists between them (one to each side).
  6. Ensure the roof is even by using a spirit level.
  7. Tack plastic roof membrane to the 8 joists with clout nails.
  8. Nail strips of overlapping shed planking (shiplap planking).

Steps for Making a Trap Door

The trap door will make the tree house a safer place to be.  This is based on a 16 by 16 inch square.

  1. Measure between the nearest framing members.
  2. Cut two treated 2x4s so they fit snugly between them.  Cut two more to 14½ inches.
  3. With a carpenter’s square, mark out the square on top of the decking.
  4. Drill a 1/8 inch hole in each corner.  This will allow you to locate the square from the underside of the deck.  Line the square up so the two sides are parallel to the closest framing members.  Draw lines between the holes on the underside of the platform to create a 16 inch square.  Draw another square around this one that is ¾” larger on each side.
  5. Line up the two 2x4s that you cut previously to fit between the framing members.  These should line up with the outside square you drew.  This will position them with their centers directly underneath the trapdoor square.
  6. Drive 3-inch treated deck screws through the outsides of the framing members into the ends of the 2x4s.  Drive at least three screws in each end of each board.  Place the two 14 ½” 2x4s to line up with their outsides on the two remaining lines of the outside square.  This should be perpendicular to the 2x4s that were just installed.  Screw them into position.
  7. Cut along one edge of the trapdoor square on top of the deck with a circular saw.  Attach two 3-inch utility hinges with ¾ inch self tapping panhead sheet metal screws.
  8. Cut the rest of the trap door with the saw.
  9. Bore a one inch hole two inches from the opposite edge of the hinges and 8 inches from either side of the trap door (which makes it centered).  This hole will be used to lift the trap door up.


Attach a ladder and your kids will be ready to decorate it exactly how they want.   This is a basic treehouse.  You could make your own tree house design.  Make a palace for your little one.  The main thing to remember is that you need to have support for your platform and a secure trap door.

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