Our PVC Pipe Fort Build

My husband would be cursing the website Pinterest right now, if he knew what it was. He thinks that I get all my “great” ideas from the Internet and Blogs. But lately, I’ve been overloaded with awesomeness and good finds from Pinterest. Angry Kid was attempting to make a fort this morning with the pillows on our freshly made bed. He made more of a mess than a fort though. I texted Angry Husband, “I want to make that fort that I sent you last week via email.” I’m a good wife like that, I email him my ideas and/or projects.  It is a joke amongst my more crafty friends that I outsource my projects. It is probably a good thing that my husband has lots of tools.

PVC Playhouse
The people in my household only give me a limited amount of time to photograph these “projects”. I didn’t even get a chance to clean up the dust and debris from the PVC. Also, my son was getting ready to work on some kind of project with the green granola bar box. He is “re-purposing” the box, or perhaps, making a mess.

I saw this project on Sweetest Littles and thought that it would be perfect for Angry Kid. Angry Husband agreed over a week ago. I don’t think that he knew how soon he would be building this. In the original blog post, there were no specific instructions or a tutorial. I’m don’t think that she knew how many people were trying to make this project. Angry Husband looked at the picture and some of the measurements that the original poster wrote in the comment section.

We took a trip to Lowe’s and bought the following items for the PVC Fort and/or Playhouse:

{Note 1: Make sure the fittings say “SLIP” otherwise they are threaded} 

{Note 2: We used 1″ PVC Pipe because they had all of the fittings in stock in that size. We were trying to go with 3/4″, but 1″ is rather sturdy}

We used the following tools in our PVC Pipe Fort Build:

  • Powered Miter Box Saw (Can also PVC Pipe Cutter, or Hacksaw)
  • Rubber Mallet

*IMPORTANT: If you are having your local hardware store cut the PVC Pipe for you, here are the lengths of the pieces needed:

  • (9) Pieces cut in 50″ increments.
  • (3) Pieces cut in 42″ increments.
  • (4) Pieces cut in 34″ increments.
  • (4) Pieces cut into 1 3/4″ increments.

{Note 3: You can ask the employees at your local hardware store to cut the PVC for you.  We had a powered miter box saw, so it was pretty easy for Angry Husband.  PVC makes a mess though.  Maybe sure  you have a broom and dust pan handy if you cut it with the miter box saw.}

My husband was moving rather fast with the assembly and I was trying to keep our son away from the power tools (table saw). I was able to get a picture of the progress with my iPhone. The assembly should be somewhat self-explanatory. You insert the long pieces of the PVC Pipe into the fittings.

Our latest and greatest project! Just add PVC!
PVC Fort and/or Playhouse Instructions

It would be really difficult and dumb to do a piece by piece tutorial for this project. Instead, I numbered the pieces in the photograph above. Each number is something significant involved in the construction of the PVC Pipe Fort and/or Playhouse Build.

1.   1″ White PVC Schedule 40 Slip Elbow These were used in the bottom front corners of the Fort. Two of these were used. One on the left and one on the right.

2.  1″ White PVC Pipe This piece is 50″ long.  All of the long pieces in the basic square formation of the fort are 50″ long, except the sides which are similar to #4

3.  1″ White PVC Pipe This piece is 50″ long.  All of the long pieces in the basic square formation of the fort are 50″ long, except the sides which are similar to #4

4.  1″ White PVC Pipe This piece is 42″ long. There are three pieces this length.

5.  1″ White PVC Schedule 40 Slip Side Outlet Elbow   Eight of these were used in the Fort, in the corners were three pieces of pipe matched up.

6.  1″ White PVC Pipe This piece is 50″ long.  All of the long pieces in the basic square formation of the fort are 50″ long, except the sides which are similar to #4

7.  1″ White PVC Schedule 40 Slip Side Outlet Elbow  (Similar to #5)

8.  1″ White PVC Pipe This piece is 42″ long.

9.  1″ White PVC Pipe This piece is 34″ long. There are four pieces that go together to line up to make the roof.

Notes for assembly:

A. Fit the long pieces together in a square and follow the numbers (visual) to see where the fittings go.

B. In order to fit the roof utilizing the (4) 1″ White PVC Schedule 40 Slip Tees to support the roof, you must use (2) lengths of 42 inches length of  1″ White PVC Pipe with a  1″ White PVC Schedule 40 Slip Tee  at each end.

C. Cut (4) short pieces of 1″ White PVC Pipe approximately 1 3/4″ long that will fit into the outside end of all (4) 1″ White PVC Schedule 40 Slip Tees  allowing connection to the base square. This piece will go between the 1″ White PVC Schedule 40 Slip Side Outlet Elbow  and the long piece (#4). You can then affix the (4) 34″ pieces of 1″ White PVC Pipe at an angle.

D. We used the rubber mallet to tap all of the fittings and joints tight. Otherwise, it can become loose.  Once you have tapped them with the mallet, it is firm.  The pieces are still loose enough to be taken apart.

We don’t have a fancy cover for our playhouse. As I said, this was somewhat last minute. I don’t sew. Plus I want to learn. Anyone want to hold my hand and teach me? So I dug in the linen closet and found some extra sheets. I was very precise (not really), and threw the sheets over all of the PVC. Angry Husband was smart and asked me to bring in the clothespins from the garage. He secured the multiple flat sheets together with the clothespins.

Angry Kid immediately dove into the fort and/or playhouse.  I say fort, because that is what he calls it.  I think a fort is the same thing as a playhouse, right?

PVC Playhouse Covered with Sheets
Angry Kid in the playhouse

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138 comments
Lisa
Lisa

Why are the top side pieces (#4) only 42 in long when the parallel bottom piece 50 in long?

GdaddyBee
GdaddyBee

I was able to use only 7 pieces of pvc. Cut it myself. Had small pieces left over.

My grand daughter will love it.


DianeSauerborn
DianeSauerborn

To the person building a larger tent for their deck.  Might I suggest using a larger diameter (one inch) PVC pipe for increased stability.  As the length of the pipe increases, the tendency to bend and or break increases.  If I was making an extremely large tent I would use metal pipe with screw on fittings.   I used the galvanized pipe with fittings 12 years ago to make a jungle gym attachment to the kid's tree fort in the woods.  It is just as sturdy as ever and I did not even put any footings in so expected it to eventually collapse.   The trees act as braces for the unit so I suppose they are like footings.

mpaigepatterson
mpaigepatterson

Do you know about how much the PVC costs? At least, in your area?

Amanda
Amanda

Thank you SO much for the measurements and great directions!! Just went to my local Lowes and got all the pipes. They were so nice they didn't even charge me for cutting them! Im going to turn it into a tiki hut for my reading center in my preschool classroom! :)

DianeSauerborn
DianeSauerborn

I made a frame identical to the one you made except for the measurements years ago as an aviary for my canaries.  I sewed extra strength nylon pet screening around the frame by hand which took a very long time.   It would be easy to sew a cover by machine for the fort if you use soft fabric.  The screening had to be hand sewn because of it's thickness.

maraxlv
maraxlv

Thank you for saving me time!  I am making a sensory "room" to slide over wheelchairs.  Lights, etc. attached to it but I can still see my students!  Many, many thanks for doing all the math!

imzmom
imzmom

Great tutorial! Thanks so much! I saw this on Pinterest too and I really want to make it for my 5 granddaughters. Great job! Thanks!

Cindy

DecoPapel
DecoPapel

!Excelente idea! Me encanta y estoy segura a mi nieto le va encantar. Atodo niño le gustan estas cosas en su habitacion.

Karen Merritt
Karen Merritt

If you can't get the fittings at your local hardware store or need plans go to PVC Fittings FORMUFIT. I have never ordered anything but it looks like they have it all. Good luck. Karen

Karen Merritt
Karen Merritt

I just bought some of the supplies today to make my grandson a tent. This will be the third pvc project I have made. I love working with pvc. MY husband rolls his eyes when he sees me come in the door with more pvc and fittings. I have drawn out two other projects I can't wait to make. I have too many irons in the fire right now.

Zoabmom
Zoabmom

Going to take this same idea and add another bar and make it a fantasy dress up wardrobe for my soon to be 3 year old daughter and all her dress up dresses and Disney Princess Costumes all over my house

C
C

I'm very interested in making this for my deck-- I'm renting an apartment in Florida, where it's beautiful and sunny and HOT most of the time and my outdoor space doesn't get used because of the relentless sun and mosquitoes. Do you think this could be zip-tied to an existing deck? My deck is 8x8 -- would that be the dimensions I would need for the PVC? Sorry for the "silly" questions, but I've never done anything like this before!

Jan
Jan

Kids are all grown up but I'm going to make a temporary green house to start plants for the garden.

Sara
Sara

Thank you so much for outlining the specific directions on this!! I followed you from another blog where you commented that you tried this and had listed the directions.... soooo helpful!! I can't wait to make this for my little girl for her 2nd birthday. Now just to convince my hubby to join in on the excitement and help on the project :) Thanks again!!

Lexy
Lexy

Did you find that the piece was pretty stable without the extra bar at the bottom or would you recommend it?

Jack Jasilionis
Jack Jasilionis

I had my Daughter,Jessica for the long Xmas weekend of 2012.Her friend went home a day earlier and soon found herself bored.She wanted a project to do.I was doing a couple of plumbing projects in the house with pvc and she remembered pvc projects and so did I.We got online to check pvc projects and Jess wanted to do the fort project.I looked up the material needed to start the fort.I decided to use 3/4 pvc fit/pipe since I use it all the time(im a hvac installer).We didnt have alot of time to act since stores were closing for the weekend (Xmas Eve).We went to Home Depot for some fittings,they didnt have them,We went to a local crafts store,they didnt have them.Time ran out,I had to take her back to her Moms,but before we left,I found several plumbing suppliers that carry these fittings.I get Jessica for New Years Eve and New Years Day.Guess what we will be doing???

Amanda
Amanda

We just built this last night, much easier than I expected. We plan on using sheets until I get motivated to sew something, which *may* be never! Thank you so much for posting this tutorial.

Naisha Page
Naisha Page

Hello i live in pennsylvania and i added up the cost of supplies of PVC for this and in my state it came to 33.80 including tax. 1" PVC Pipe 9 @ 2.33 = $20.97 1" 90 degree 40 sch slip elbow: 2 @ .66 = $1.32 1" LASCO 90 degree sch tee: 4 @ .86 = $2.44 1" LASCO 90 degree 40 sch side outlet elbow: 8 @ 2.05 = $6.05 i hope i contributed. this tutorial has been helpful to me. thanks.

Anna
Anna

Amazing!! I'm going to attempt this to re-create the much loved Super Mario Bed Tent made of weenie-pvc that has been duct taped to my son's bed. He loves his bed-tent.... or Fortress of Solitude or Bat Cave or Power Ranger Samurai Dojo depending on the mood and current super hero favorite... :)

Ashley
Ashley

I want to build one of these for my kids but it will need to be easy to disassemble. Is that possible with the PVC or is it fairly stuck once it's assembled?

Harry
Harry

This is just BTW. Made one of these today and total cost without the sheets was $25 from Home Depot but with 3/4 PVC Slip Pipe. Also of note. The cost is even less as I have 3 10' 3/4 PVC pipe left over that will go to another project that I have in mind. Thank you though for the great idea.

Peggy Sutherland
Peggy Sutherland

Very Cool! When our girls were little, Toys R Us sold smaller kits like this with plastic fitted covers - we had Antz and Mickey Mouse themed ones. Those were meant to be taken down and stored occasionally, and so they had a piece of elastic threaded through the tubes so reassembly was easy. The kids always had so much fun with it!

Bunny
Bunny

Well I don't have kids but I have four legged "furkids" and I have been struggling with trying to find some kind of shade shelter for them in the side yard. This will work perfect as I have a shade cloth I can put on it. thank you so much for the details, it is appreciated.

Dave Oberg
Dave Oberg

You must have a really big house, so I'm making one a bit smaller. Mine will be 3'wide x 3'tall x 4'deep, with a steeply pitched roof. Making it this size will also result in a much more efficient use of the pipe, with less waste. The smaller version uses the same number of fittings, but only 5.5 pieces of 10' pipe. Also, those side outlet elbows are nowhere to be found in Anchorage, AK, so I'm waiting for some I ordered from an online outlet located down south.

Jen
Jen

Thank you SO much for this tutorial! I just assembled a fort for my kids - we're "camping out" in the living room with a movie tonight - and it was incredibly simple to put together with your instructions. A tip for anyone who doesn't own a saw to cut this (or doesn't want to make the mess with one) and can't get it cut at the store - a PVC pipe cutter is worth the small investment! I had all my pieces cut in about 20 min, including measuring and marking. I made one small change - I made the sides of the fort 60" long so my kids could sleep in it (my son's 4'6"). For anyone else who wants to make it that length, that would mean instead of 9 pieces at 50", you'd want 7 pieces at 50" and 2 pieces at 60"; then instead of 3 pieces at 42", cut them at 54 1/4" (for the pieces at the upper sides and apex).

Heather
Heather

I work for a preschool and funds are pretty low. I was wondering, about how much did all the PVC cost you? I want to add this into my classroom as the library, but I'd like to know how much it costs. Thanks!

Kerry
Kerry

Thanks for the plans! I am going to get shower curtian rings and a shower curtain to hang for the lower half. I will cut off the excess. Cant wait!

suray Hanada
suray Hanada

Thank you so much for the tutorial. I saw a cute one on pintrest too!!! I can't wait to do this for my little girl. My husband is going to hate me for this I know... but its such a good idea

Nikki
Nikki

First I want to say thank you for this! My son is 3 and loves tents ! I found this at 11pm last night and stayed up till 4am trying to draw up plans and a shopping list for a 5'Wx5'Dx6'H monster tent lol. Best 60$ ever spent! 40 on frame supplies and 20 on 4 single packaged twin flat sheets that I will sew together to cover it . Now I'm ready to make a outdoor one for us adults but with water proof tarps. And one for my son for outside with one smaller one as a garage for my sons f150 power wheels with tarps to save it from rain! Dang Pinterest I'm about to be busy! Since I'm the fix it gal in the family it'll be my job not the husbands. ........ Thank you again!

mike
mike

wife talked me into making this today, was super easy with your parts list and cut list. thanks!

kalla
kalla

I was wondering if you could tell me how many elbows or fittings i need. I dont know anything about PVC pipe or construction for that matter, but I am wanting to make this my "reading fort" for my classroom :)

Patrick27
Patrick27

@Lisa This fooled me at first, too.  The angle isn't great in the picture, but the roof isn't quite as long as the lower cube part.  That's where your 42" pieces go.  You'll use your side outlet on the corner, then T's slightly inside to create the roof.

angryjuliemonday
angryjuliemonday moderator

@maraxlv No problem! Glad that I could help. The math is key to the entire project. There is nothing worse than walking in to the hardware store, buying the supplies, and realizing that you don't have enough stuff for your project!

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

It can be dis-assembled pretty easy, unless you take a mallet to the ends and pound them in tightly.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

Dave, I actually have a tiny house. The PVC Fort took over my entire home office. I love how you downsized it. I have received several emails and several comments about the outlet elbows not being in any plumbing/hardware stores near them. Total bummer!

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

Love how you "camped out" in the PVC Tent!!! So awesome! And thanks for the information about the pipe cutter.

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

Heather, I spent between $40-50 for the PVC. I love the options that Michael gave below.

michael
michael

ive seen some varying costs from the people on this site, but i was able to make my kids one of these exact forts for just over $30, i live in phoenix AZ area so im sure prices vary from state to state, the pipes dont have to be the white PVC pipe u see here. u can get grey PVC (intended for electrical use) for about half the price, i believe i paid somewhere in the $1.20 range for a 8' pipe. the 3-way elbows are the most costly at about $2.00 each. apparently they arent used much in normal plumbing. my wife used old sheets/curtains to wrap it in so no cost there. hope this helps

Naisha Page
Naisha Page

That is so neat. Why stop there? Make a garage! I love it!

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

Wow!!! That sounds awesome!! You sound very busy with all of these fun projects!! I'm glad that my tutorial could help you!

Julie {Angry Julie}
Julie {Angry Julie}

You are very welcome! I'm glad that I could help make a project simple and easy to follow with the parts list, etc.

Jack Jasilionis
Jack Jasilionis

Please do not glue them together.If you use a mallet to assemble ,you can get them apart with channel locks.Smiles

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