Cheerful Home

Project Playroom– Building a Reading Loft / Fort / Indoor Treehouse: The Building Continues

Posted on: July 20, 2009


A trip to Lowe’s for the paint and an 8′ slide, and the treehouse is functional, albeit not safe for a 2 year old yet!

We left off last time with the basic frame done.  Hubby did the floor panels next, cutting two large rectangles first, since our dimensions were too wide for a single plywood sheet.  We used 1″ thick plywood that we had in the garage leftover from other projects.  Once he had sheets the rough sizes of what we needed, he cut out notches for the posts. 

Finally, he did the angled cut for the corner where the slide will go.  Then he attached the floor panels to the beams using long drywall screws (I think he said inch and 3/4, but not sure, whatever he had on his workbench).


After the floor was in, I painted the beams, inside and out, and the bottom of the floor/ceiling of the first level.  I didn’t paint the top of the deck/floor panels because I’m going to cover those with carpet and a mat.  I didn’t paint the posts because I found a “glove” for them on clearance at Home Depot– it is basically a lightly padded vinyl wrap that has velcro attached.  While I was painting, I went ahead and painted the climbing wall panel brown too, since it was a bright yellow. 

  I used Valspar paint, less than a quart, in “Shutter Brown 2007-9A” satin finish.  Really wish I would’ve been patient enough to paint all of the pieces before we started building so I wouldn’t have had to paint upside down, but que sera sera, I’ve never really been a patient type, and hey, brown paint on my forehead looks good, right? 

Next step was attaching the stabelizer/support pieces on the ground level across the back/corner two sides.  Did this with carriage bolts.  Didn’t do the front sides or angled corner.

Because the monkey was trying to “slide” on the new slide while it was on the basement floor flat, his sweet daddy went ahead and attached the slide to the angled corner using more carriage bolts.  We forgot to count these in our original count of carriage bolts, so add in an impromptu trip to the store here.  This is an 8 foot long slide from Lowe’s.  It was $81.  Probably could’ve saved some cash by watching for and buying a similar slide on Craig’s List, but at the time we did this project, there was only one listed, it was dirty yellow, 2 hours away, and the seller wanted $50 bucks for it.  Since ours is an indoor treehouse, I splurged on the new, clean slide.  Did have a $10 off $50 purchase coupon though, so slide really cost us about $75, including tax.

The climbing wall panel is actually a piece of an old climbing wall I bought from a gymnastics gym going out of business.  You could easily make your own– it is just a piece of 1″ thick plywood, with holes drilled in a random pattern to attach the rocks.  The size of the holes should be the size indicated on the package for your climbing rocks.  (Both Lowe’s an Home Depot sell packages of climbing rocks, as do many playground supply websites.)  On the back side of the panel, pound a t-nut the size of the hole into each hole.  The you just screw (really it takes an allen wrench, but I think you still screw it in– maybe “attach” would be a better word) each rock in to a hole using the bolt that came with it. 

We decided to make the climbing wall angled instead of straight up and down, since our moneky is only 2.  When he is older, we can always cut it shorter and make it straight up and down to save floor space.  To make it attach, hubby used 2×4’s, and attached them to the inside of the posts on that side of the structure.  He cut the ends of the 2×4’s that would attach to the wall panel at a 55 degree angle, and attached using long drywall screws.


I painted the panel brown, but it was yellow underneath, and in the process of attaching rocks got all scratched up and now yellow is showing thru.  Already needs a touch up!  Maybe I should’ve sealed it first?  Oh well, I’m going to give it a few weeks, since I’ll bet it will get more scratches soon.

Last thing we did on this day was to use a bolt cutter to cut off the ends of the bolts sticking out of the structure so the moneky won’t bang into them.

The treehouse is a hit with the monkey, who immediately started climbing and sliding– whee!  Next steps are to cover the posts with the “gloves”, attach the plexi-glass panel to the other side where there is currently nothing except a great place to fall out of the treehouse, and to put the mat and carpet on the top level.  Then we can move in the toys and figure out where we are going to put in lights and canopies for the top of the “tree.”  I’m really pleased with this project so far– such a fun place to play!


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