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How to Build a DYI Tree House

Updated on September 21, 2011

If you are like me when I was growing up I always wanted a little place I could call my own. Just small backyards play area that I could use. So I could play pirates with neighborhood friends on the weekends. So my dad got some wood together and made a little tree fort for me in one of the small trees in our back yard. I remember playing in it with friends all summer and throughout my childhood. Now that I have kids of my own I thought it would be nice to have them experience something from my child hood as well. So I decided to build a small tree for t for them in one of the trees in our yard

What you will need to build a tree house:

1. Ladder

2. Hammer

3. Drill

4. Saw

5. 2x4, 2x6, Plywood

6. 1-3 inch nails

7. Tarp

8. Staple Gun

9. Rope

Choosing the best tree:

While looking for the ideal tree you want to make sure that the one you are choosing is healthy. Ideally the larger the tree the better but, looks for a tree with at least a minimum diameter of 16 inches. You do not want to put the tree house to high in case of an accident so look between 5 to 10 feet from the ground so that there is not to much height but just enough. Also the tree needs to have the capacity to hold weight at a lower level so make sure the lower branches are sturdy and able to support the estimated weight that you have concluded.

Wood to Start:

Start with the platform when building and using at least 2x6 boards that have been treated for outdoor use. Place the boards as close to the trunk of the tree as possible. As well as make use of the 2x6 boards with the lower branches so that they fit snuggly and are secured at the base. The purpose of the use of the boards and base within the diagonal branches for support is to minimize and movements the tree house would make. Galvanized nails are good to use at this point because they are safe for the tree and will allow the strength to be easily distributed across the platform.

Building the Floor:

Once the platform has been securely built it is time to add the floors to the locations. The best wood to be used for placing floors and dividing the weight is plywood usually 2 ply or thicker is greatly encouraged for strength. Using either the 2x 6 boards or the 2x4 boards you have got use them to connect each of the 2x6 boards in parallel for so you can add the ply wood to a stable 2x4s. Nail the x4s in place to make your floor joists. Then take the ply wood and cut it to the desired length and place on the floor joist. Do not forget to cut the curves in the boards so that you are allowing space for any tree branches to still come through.

Build the Roof:

Building the roof of the tree house is going to follow a similar pattern you would have for your own house. This provides consistent strength and durability which you want to make sure is consistent. Using the 2x4 boards you can attach them at an angle to each corner. Then join them in the middle with same size board at each end. If you want to use a tarp for a roof then adding the 2x2s in a rectangle form and then adding the gables centrally it will save some money but still provide protection. The frame should then be covered with the waterproof tarp and stapled in place.

Build the Door and Windows:

There are a couple of options for doors or windows. If your budget is limited then just cutting rectangular holes for the door and windows will suffice. But, if you have a little more to work with then having the option for Plexiglas can also make it a little safer for the young ones that are playing in it. But, when adding them think of the suns location so that there is as much light as possible from each direction to be able to light the tree house during the day. As well as what type of access you are planning to use on the tree house weather it is going t be by ladder or a hanging rope.

Protecting the Wood:

Unusually a good outdoor polymer is sufficient to protect against the elements talk with your building authority where you live for the best choices.

Additional Advice:

As well always check with your local ordinances to make sure that you are in proper zoning locations for that type of add-on to your yard some municipalities have laws and regulations regarding adding anything to the home.

Always, Practice safety and always have fun!!


Submit a Comment

  • kidsnchocolate profile image


    6 years ago from Midwest, United States

    We are attempting to build one slowly but surely now. This is a great hub and very informative. Thanks for the good tips!!

  • Gypsy Willow profile image

    Gypsy Willow 

    7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

    I love tree houses, I would love to make a big one to use as an artist's loft! Great hub.


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