Cold weather is upon us mix that in with 2020 “stay home orders” and parents everywhere are dyiiing for some peace and a good way to run off that extra energy that each child seems to have secured in 2020. *CUE INDOOR PLAYGROUND!* I will be sharing with you the supplies needed to make each piece of this indoor playground and how we did it. We found many ideas and kind of pieced them all together to achieve the type of playground that worked for our young and active family. I will break it up into 3 sections.. the loft, the slide, and the rockwall.
I will begin with the loft. Ours is a 4×5 box that we put up 4′ off the ground. We wanted it to be a cool space for them to go to read, play, or just be themselves. If you are going to do the metal pipe for the rails, I suggest seeing what lengths you can get them in and then building the loft to those lengths so you don’t have to get extra pieces like we did (we were going to do a net, but decided the pipes looked so much cooler). let’s get to it!
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Here are the supplies needed for the loft:
4- 8’ 4x4s
2- 10′ 2×6
2- 10′ 2×4
6- 8″ carriage bolts
1-4×8 3/4″ Plywood
4- 1”x 48” nipple iron pipes
4- 1”x 12” nipple pipes
4- 1” x 24” nipple pipe (monkey bars)
8- 1” 90 degree iron elbow (monkey bars)
24- 1” floor flange
Paint Colors used for Loft:
Green: emerald forest
Black: True Black
Directions for the Loft from my wonderful husband since he did it:
Starting with the loft I used 4 8’ 4x4s for corner posts. All the lumber used is construction grade and not treated for outdoor use because, well, its inside. The easiest way for me to make the floor level is to lay the 4x4s down with their ends flush and measure and mark on two adjoining sides of each at whatever measurement you want the floor to be, I used 4 ½ feet. Then bringing them to where you want the loft because it starts getting heavy and bulky after this point you stand them up and I’m sure everyone does it differently, but I made a skirting of 2×6 boards. I simply cut two 4’ 2x6s and 2 5’ 2x6s wanting a loft size of approximately 4’ by 5’. This is approximate, like I said, because you will run one 2×6 flush with the 4×4 corner post and the other will overlap over the other 2×6. If you want a very precise floor space in your loft, you’ll need to account for this. I set the 2x6s overlapping this way because I think it makes it look a bit better in the end, then I screw them into the corner posts at the top of the 2×6 at the line that I made when the 4x4s were laying down. After this it should be a standing structure, though greatly out of square. I would square it up by making sure that the northeast and southwest corners have the same distance between them as the northwest and southeast corners. North south east and west aren’t really relevant but essentially if you cut your 2x6s well and measured your marks on the 4x4s well you should be able to make the structure fairly square by making sure measurements from opposite corners are fairly close to one another. Then make sure your 4x4s are level enough vertically and screw a few pieces of scrap lumber from one side to another side next to it to sturdy it up and hold it square while you work on it. Then I cut 2 2x4s to the length needed to put on the inside of the skirting on opposite sides. So one side and its opposite side will only have a 2×6 on the outside and the other side and its opposite side will have a 2×6 on the outside and a 2×4 on the inside, you can use a 2×6 if you want it’s just cheaper to use a 2×4. Screw in the 2x4s with their top edge at the same height as the 2x6s outside of them. Then I use a long drill bit and drill holes to put in carriage bolts with a washer and lock nut to sturdy the structure up. I used 2x6s on the outside originally so that on one 2×6 I can put 2 carriage bolts and on the other 2×6 on that same corner I can put one carriage bolt. For example, on the north side of my loft I’ve got 2 carriage bolts on each corner you look at and the same on the south, but on the east and west I have 1 carriage bolt centered between the other two on each corner. Whichever side you decided to reinforce with the inner 2×4 will get 2 carriage bolts because one will be in the top going through the 2×6, the 4×4, and the 2×4 and the other will be on the bottom so that on the other side of the corner post you can center a carriage bolt between them. Note, for the bolts going through the 2×6, 4×4, and 2×4 you will need what’s called an 8” carriage bolt, I think they’re slightly longer than this but that’s the size that works best for me. After all the holes are drilled, the bolts are pounded through, and the nuts are tightened down you should be able to take the braces off and the structure should be pretty solid by itself. Also throughout this process I am taking out the screws I had put in, I only put them in to hold it in place while putting the carriage bolts in.
At this point you are going to want to cut 2 2x4s that will run across the inside of the structure to brace the floor. I used face mount hangers to hang in the 2x4s that support the floor. Space them somewhat evenly or just make sure it makes sense where you want your seam on the floor to be and put them in. Then in the loft I cut off the back 4×4 flush with the height of the 2×6 skirting since it is in a corner and would only get in the way. Then to do the next level I got another 4×4 and set it on the side that I wanted at the width that I wanted the door from the lower platform to the loft to be. Then get another 4×4 and cut it so that you have 2 pieces both at the height that you want the platform to be. Repeat the process with carriage bolts you did to make the main structure to make the lower platform. If it’s a bit lower than the main structure you may have to close the gap between the main loft and the lower platform with something, I made sure mine was just over 6” so I could use a scrap 2×6. If your platform is small you probably will not have to brace the floor. I then put some 2x4s on the side of the small platform that we made the ladder on to make it flush. At this point cut plywood for your floor and put it in, I like plywood with a grain finish for looks and depending upon how many braces you put it you may need ½ – ¾“ plywood. Probably not over ¾” unless you didn’t put enough braces in.
Finally, I put some 2x4s under the braces of the main loft to put monkey bars on. We decided on metal pipes for the ladder up the side, the monkey bars below the loft, and the railing to keep the kids from falling. I would definitely build your loft TO THE BARS, not the bars to the loft. We had to add in extra spacers for the pipes and that was more money and more work. On top I wanted to make it look like it was actually built into the room even though it is now a very heavy and very sturdy free-standing structure…that will never leave the room in one piece. For this I ran 2×4’s on top of the 4×4 supporting posts of the main loft. After that I trimmed it with 2x8s because we were a bit from the ceiling yet.
Here are the supplies for the slide portion:
2 -10’ 2×10
we used scrap 2×4’s (he said if you don’t have scrap, get 3 2×4’s)
1 – 1/2″ x 16″ x 10′ Master craft glued Cedar wood
bowling alley wax found here.
8- 1” 90 degree iron elbow (ladder and monkey bars)
8- 1” x 24” nipple pipe (ladders & monkey bars)
32- 1” floor flange
Directions for the Slide:
For the slide I used 2 10’ 2x10s. I cut them at an angle that ran into the lower platform and on the other end at an angle that sat flush on the ground then I made them round with a jigsaw and routered both sides before bringing them in. I used 2x10s so that I could bring the end running into the platform up and over the platform and make it look kind of like it was a bit more built in that it actually is. For this just take a lot of time getting one piece cut perfectly, then trace it onto the other and cut it then router them both. We used Mastercraft® Edge Glued Board for the slide, it’s smooth and it looks nice. It was 16” wide, I think ½” thick, and 10’ long. I angled the edge next to the platform to run into the platform as seamlessly as I could (it’s not all that seamless so I went over it with a sander and sealant later) and on the bottom I just routered it to make it curve to the floor also. After all those pieces are cut and you know they fit as good as you’re okay with, I started attaching the slide to the lower platform. For this the side closer to the loft was near the 4×4 that we put in for the doorway so I carriage bolted (yes, I love carriage bolts) it to that 4×4. Then I screwed a 2×4 into the 2×6 skirting of the lower platform at 1/2” under where I wanted the top of the slide board to be. Either angle the 2×4 or just make sure its corner is a ½” under where you want the top of the slide piece to be. That’s pretty important that it holds the slide up there because otherwise it’ll bend down whenever someone goes down the slide. Then I screwed the other slide edge piece into that 2×4 (that 2×4 is cut at the width you want the inner slide to be) and built a bracing inside the slide from scrap 2×4 pieces. Mine was 5’ on each side of the slide edge piece then again use some face mounts to put 2×4 braces in. Then I set the glued cedar in and originally was just going to attach it with liquid nails, but later put 4 screws in it two at the top and two farther down on the brace and later put sealant over them so its hard to tell they’re there. The cedar is soft enough that you can suck the screws in lower than the board and seal it over them nicely. We then used bowling alley wax to make it nice an slick to go down.
Here are the supplies for the Rock wall:
1 -4X8 1/2″ thick Plywood (he said he would use 3/4 if we did it again)
2×6′ (we used scrap we had)
2 packs of “rocks” + 2 handles + 1 rope found here.
black spray paint- i used this one.
1 2×4 1/3 thick plywood for trim
Paint color used for trim: True black
Paint color used for wall: league blue
Nugget found here.
Pod Swing found here.
Directions for the rockwall:
For the rock wall we had to bolt the rock pieces to a piece of plywood which made it so we had to build it out from the wall since the bolts would keep it from hanging flush. For this I just found some scrap 2x6s and split them, and then cut them to 4’. We chose where we wanted it on the wall and found studs and screwed them into them horizontally, I used three pieces one at the bottom, top, and somewhere around the middle. Then we made the rock wall piece on a ½” piece of plywood, it’s sturdy but if I did it again I’d probably use ¾” plywood. After that was painted and scattered with rocks, I screwed it to the pieces that I had secured to studs in the wall. Then I trimmed it, it was cheaper to buy cheap thin plywood and cut all my trim myself than it would’ve been buying trim. If you do that though just a note make sure you get a blade with a lot of teeth or else it’ll splinter the thin plywood.
thank you to the best husband ever for taking ALL of my crazy ideas and always making them a reality, but better. i love you. a lot.