building a handmade hideaway : the walls

This post brought to you by our friends from Flood Wood Care. All opinions and thoughts are 100% ours.

Hey, there you amazingly adventurous people! So anyone attempted your own little humongous fort yet? We’d love to hear about your progress! Today, I’m {Jamin} here with the second installment of building your own Handmade Hideaway. If you missed part one regarding the DIY Deck, click here to catch up, and start your own project this weekend!

This process is fairly simple, and requires only basic tools and carpentry skills. So let’s get started. Our Hideway deck is 10 ft x 8ft. The ‘house’ or ‘bungalow’ part of our hideaway is 5ft x 8ft and we only have three walls: two sides and a back.

Here’s what you’ll need: 

• Skill saw, miter saw, table saw… or get the guys at your local hardware store to cut for   you. (But you will need a skill saw for the siding.)

• Drill, screw gun, nail gun or a good old fashioned hammer.

• Screws or nails, whichever you choose (2 ½ to 3 inch)

• Level

• Carpenters square

Cut list: 

• (11) 2 x 4 x 10 (cut at 5 feet)

• (2) 2 x 4 x 8

• (1) 2 x 4 x 8 (cut at 2 feet)

• (Approx. 42) cedar fence boards with the rounded tops cut off.

Supply list :

• 1 1/4 inch screws or nails (large box)

• 2 1/2 inch screws or nails (large box)

• 3 inch screws or nails (small box)


First things first: While we opted to wait until later for our staining process on the deck, we thought we would go ahead and discuss it, because you can stain before you build the rest. Personally, we like to stain last, but some people prefer to get it out of the way so there is no edging with it at the end. At any rate, here is the simple process.

For this portion of our project we had some friends come alongside us to make our hideaway come to life. The good folks at Flood Waterproofing were kind enough to offer us some of their amazing new waterproofing stain. What I love the most about it, is the simplicity of it. With most wood finishes, you have to wait two to three days after prep, to make sure the wood is completely dry before you apply the finish — but with Flood One Coat, you only have to wait a few hours. You can apply OneCoat while the wood is still damp. You can prep and finish in a single day. We’re all about time saving techniques around here. Things can get a bit harried with three kiddos in the mix.

And just to encourage you to go build on your own, our friends at  Flood® Wood Carewant to give you a chance to win some free products Flood® Sweepstakes (The winner will be provided all the supplies for their deck stain, plus $2,000 for a deck party!) Trust me you’ll love it… we’ll be using some more on our next back yard project {coming your way, soon!}

So, if you do the staining now or later, we highly recommend you pick up some Flood® OneCoat Waterproofing Finish from Home Depot and follow their instructions on how toapply it. Keep in mind, your wood may need to be cleaned first to help the stain absorb. Also make sure to check out all the different shades, as they can custom mix it, too.


We will start with the framing of the walls, building all three walls will follow the same process, but we will start with the two sidewalls. (Note I use screw and nail interchangeably, you can do either whenever I use one of them.)

• First, lay out two of your 2 x 4 x 5’s parallel to each other, on their side, with about 5 feet between them. (The top board is known as your plate and the bottom board is called the rat seal, I know gross right?)

•Lay one 2 x 4 x 5 (also called a stud) on its side in between the plate and the rat seal.

• Do the same thing at the other end. Then nail or screw these in, coming from the outside of the plate and rat seal you laid down into the top, or cut ends, of the stud.

• Then come in 18 inches from both sides, and screw or nail another stud in place. This should leave you a 2ft of space between the inside studs.

• Now we need to frame out the window. Measure the width of the inside studs. It should be 24 inches. If not, change the cut size above of the (1) 2 x 4 x 8.

• Once cut, measure up from the rat seal 22.5 inches and level off the board, then screw/nail it in (the bottom of the board you are screwing in should be at 22.5 inches). Then measure down 12 inches from the plate, level off and screw it in. (The bottom of the board should be at 12 inches.)

• Next, measure from the underneath side of the bottom board you just screwed in to the rat seal and from the top of the other one you just screwed in to the plate. It should be 22.5 inches and 10.5 inches respectively. Cut two studs to length and screw them in the center of the window frame you just fixed.

•Now you have one wall built.

• Repeat this entire process, and you will have your two smaller sidewalls built. Tada!

•To build the longer back wall, repeat this same process with the 2 x 4 x 8’s as your rat seal and plate at about 5 feet apart.

•As before lay one 2 x 4 x 5 (also called a stud) on its side in between the plate and the rat seal.

• Do the same thing at the other end. Then nail or screw these in, coming from the outside of the plate and rat seal you laid down into the top or cut ends of the stud.

•Then come in 18.5 inch from the center of one stud and screw or nail it in place.

•Continue measuring in 18.5 in from the center of each stud to the location of the next stud. (There should always be 18.5 inches between all of your studs except for one, which will be closer to 19. That is simply because of the number of studs and the division doesn’t work equally. You can choose where you want more space, but we are only talking 1/2 inch so it is no big deal.)

Adding to the deck

• Place the back section of the wall on the deck. Line it up on the deck where it is flush on both sides, and on the back edge of the deck. Screw the wall down into the deck. Use 2 1/12 inch screws and place at least one between every stud.

• Then place a sidewall up on the deck. Make it flush with the outside of the deck and butt it up against the back wall so that it is flush. Screw the wall down into the deck. Use 2 1 1/2 inch screws and place at least one between every stud. Then come back and screw both ends of the walls together using 3 inch screws.

•Repeat the above step for the other sidewall.

Adding the siding

•This might be the simplest part of building the hideaway.

• First, measure the side of the house so that you will know how long to cut the fence boards (It should be about 5ft 3 inches).

• Once the boards for the side are cut, simply start at the bottom of the frame of the house and the top of the deck. I like to start on the front end, not the corner. Level off the cedar fence board that has had the top cut off and begin screwing or nailing it in to each stud. (Two nails or screws per stud.)

• Don’t forget to measure and cut the boards around your windows.

• Also, the boards will not run the length of the back since it is 8 feet long so you need to make sure all your boards end on the middle of a stud, because you will need to start the next one on the same stud. This means the backboards will be roughly 58 inches and 38 inches(but measure your own to make sure) if all your studs are placed correctly. (Make sure to stagger these boards so that you don’t have one giant seam running up the back of the wall. Alternate which end gets the 58 inch board.

Once you have all the boards screwed in, sit back and enjoy some sweet tea and begin bragging to all your friends about what a great craftsman you are!

We will be back soon with the next section of the Handmade Hideway: railings and shutters. In the meantime we’d love to hear about your progress!

Have an inspired weekend, everyone!





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Responses to building a handmade hideaway : the walls

  1. Rasonda says:

    Awesome tutorial. I am seriously seriously considering doing this.

  2. CRystal says:

    Hi There! Found you over at Brooklyn Limestone. Love this project and how you broke it down into simple steps. Can you tell me about how much the total project cost?

  3. Sarah Thacker says:

    I’m totally planning on doing this, might even start this weekend. My kids are growing up…I don’t want to look back and say, “I wish I would’ve…” I’d also be interested in a cost breakdown. :)

  4. Marj says:

    Going to start this next weekend! Can you tell us about how much this project is?

  5. Kara Dolchan says:

    We have been working on our swing set fort for a little over a month and I was looking for ways to frame the fort portion and get a window in it. This is. Perfect! I showed my husband and we are going to start on one wall today after we finish up the railing. You can see it here on my new blog. I am so glad your doing a tutorial. I love the roof, does it get hot being metal? I would love to use that tutorial as well. We plugg along steady and slow so no rush, I am just super excited about this. Thanks!!!

    • Hey Kara! Our roof, personally, does not get hot because it stays in the shade all day long. so that is probably something to consider depending on the location of your own hideaway. At the same time, Our roof also goes up to six feet, so it stays out of our children’s reach, as well. ;} I hope that helps! I can’t wait to see what you do!

      • Kara Dolchan says:

        Thanks! That is something to think about. In other news we did put together our first wall and secured it. My ds LOVES his window and ” sells” things to us through it! It had a window and door way. Our fort measurements are different, but I still referred to how you all laid out the boards and used cedar boarding. It looks fabulous! One wall cost us about 60 bucks including screws. Idk how that compares to you all. We have 3 more to go. Thanks SO much!

  6. Rebecca says:

    After many endless hours of trying to find the perfect playhouse for my twin girls, I was amazed when I came across your blog. I LOVE yall’s creation and the tutorials…..can’t wait for the remaining ones. Also, curious about cost if you do t mind sharing. You have inspired me to begin ASAP! Thanks!!

  7. Nikki G says:

    Wow, I LOVE this playhouse – so cool! I have one silly question though: I’m wondering since one of the walls is made of curtains – is that enough to keep the inside of the house protected from the elements (thinking of thunderstorms, etc.). I might live in an area where this is more of an issue than it would be for you – but just curious because I LOVE how this house looks and think it would be so cute to build one like it for my son one day! Thanks!

  8. Carolyn says:

    Wonderful playspace. I want to build one for my grandkids! You are inspiring! Can’t wait for the next installment

  9. I would like to know if there any times that you may need someone to build these for customers that are not capable of building it themselves due to the lack of tools or any other reason?

  10. Krystal says:

    Hi Ashley and Jamin, wanted to know if you mounted this to cement?

    • jamin says:

      Krystal, no I choose not to, simply because of the size and with 6 legs it would take a whole lot for it to tip over. I had 5 people standing on one side and it never budged. If you are worried about it sinking, we live on a clay based soil, so that’s not an issue for us, might be in other areas. (Especially prairie soil) I will probably go back and put a paver under it to help with rotting. I also didn’t want to sink it in concrete, because it was easier for me to build and then move into place and arrange as I wanted. With that said, I never went to engineering school I just know what works for us, so if sinking it in concrete is a concern of yours, you might want to add a post hole digger, shovel, wheel barrel and 3 bags of concrete to the supply list.

  11. COLLEEN N says:

    Great design and tutorial- love this space. I’m in the process of designing ours and I was curious what the finished size and height from the ground your windows ended up. I also have three small ones that are part monkey and don’t want them to even think about climbing through the windows……

  12. Michelle Trousdale says:

    I’m so grateful for your blog! My husband and I started construction over the weekend (with pictures posted for our Facebook friends of course) and we have had so many comments! We are down to the roof and painting (YAY)! If I could point out one thing (I always appreciate tips from others, I hope you don’t mind) – when you are placing the siding on the walls, your instructions indicate to cut them at varying lengths for the back wall. We ran all of our siding vertically (walls are 5 ft, fence boards are 6ft) so we didn’t have to do any additional measuring and cutting. Depends on the look you want I guess. Thanks again for your wonderful tutorial!

  13. John Fields says:

    Just started this last weekend for my daughter, she loves it by the way……Walls framed and ready to add to the deck and I noticed the roof and rafters are installed in your photos but I didn’t see a supply list or the steps to add these. Do you have the steps for this part?

  14. jenny says:

    This will be our project for the july 4th weekend! So excited…could you not use sheets of plywood in place of the fence boards?

  15. Dana says:

    I may have missed it somewhere, but what is the finished height of the walls? What is the pitch of the roof? I am attempting to fill out an approval form for my HOA. :)


  16. Tenley and Jamie Courtney says:

    We saw this on Pintrest and decided this was perfect for our granddaughter who is 2 1/2. The project began May 20th, 2014! As of today we have the deck almost built! Living on a large lake, we decided to put the four main legs 2 feet into the ground with some concrete. So excited to chart the progress, for CBC’s memory book. Although, she will never forget watching us “personally” build a playhouse for her instead of just buying a prefab one! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Trey R. says:

    This is an awesome. Currently building this for the kids – will post pics when finished.

  18. Jeannine says:

    Could you please email me your stain colors. The white,the blue and even the floor. We are in the process if building this same house and I love your colors….