This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ACE Hardware. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you’re a parent, then you’ve probably been dreading the day when your child starts asking for a backyard swing set or a DIY playhouse. Why? Because they’re typically pretty dang expensive and just daunting to think about. I mean, we’re talking lots of labor and a price tag that can far exceed the thousand-dollar mark once you add a slide and some fun details. Unfortunately I don’t have a way to cancel out both of those things, but I do have a few tips that I think will make buying and setting up an easy DIY playhouse for your kids a little bit easier (and maybe even kind of fun?). Sounds pretty great, right? I think so! Here’s how to do it:
First, this whole project starts with a visit (online or in person) to your local Ace Hardware. They have two really great playset options that I found online that fall between that $500 to $1000 price range, which is perfect in my opinion. Swing-N-Slide Trekker Wood Swing Set has a few more bells and whistles than The Swing-N-Slide Scrambler Wood Swing Set but both get the job done and are great starting points.
If you’re buying online, Ace Hardware does have a free pick up in-store option, so definitely try to take advantage of that. There are more than 5000 locations worldwide with 75% of the US population being only 15 minutes from an store. Say what?! Talk about convenience. Or, you can have it delivered to your home.
Once you have the playset at your house (in a million pieces), here are my initial tips for assembly.
Pick Your Playhouse
You can use any playhouse you pick as a starting point. Most playlets are able to be updated with different accessories as they grow such as swings, or different slides. Pick a swing set or playhouse that can grown along with your children and can be updated throughout the years!
This DIY playhouse is a two-person task and one of them needs to be a “builder”. You know, the person who has a solid understanding of power tools, assembly, and is overall strong. That’s my first huge tip – find someone to join your team who knows what they’re doing if you do not. Maybe that person is in your family, maybe you hire them. Whatever direction you go, just know that this step is CRUCIAL to the success of the project. While I am handy and know my way around a power tool, I knew that my brother would be perfect to help me. We work well together and he’s wicked smart with things like this.
Before you get started you and your teammate need to come up with a plan.
First things first: You will want to separate all the parts and pieces for them before the project starts. This task will take a little over an hour and save them lots of time and headaches. It will also allow you to identify any missing parts (hopefully not!) before you start. While one person separates the other will read the instructions and create a plan of attack including determining the exact location of the playlet, and gathering all necessary power tools and supplies.
Second: One person should be in charge of the instructions to keep things in order. While one person reads the other finds the necessary parts, when you create a flow it will keep things going with a nice forward momentum. You have aprox 15 hours together so it’s important to keep it respectful and fun! Turn on some music, order pizza and find your building groove!
The second option is for those that do not have the skills or someone accessible in their house to assist them. Let me just preface this one by saying that this project will take two full days for someone who DOES know what they’re doing. For someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, let’s say a married couple, it will take about two weeks and then a year of intense therapy to get over all the arguing that took place putting this damn thing together.
If you don’t know anyone who is comfortable with tools, HIRE SOMEONE. If you have no idea who to hire, head to your local Ace Hardware and ask! Ace stores are locally owned and operated, so they know all the handy people in town. They should be able to recommend a few options for you.
Powertools For The Project
For this project we used the MILWAUKEE® M18™ 1/2 in. Compact Brushless Drill/Driver Kit. We went with a kit because did you know drills don’t come with drill bits (which you need several of for this project)? LOL, me either. Invest and get the kit, you’ll be thankful. It’s so easy to use that I found myself over the last week looking for things to hang around the house that I had put off!
We also needed the M18 FUEL™ 6-1/2” Circular Saw Kit. The folks at Ace told us it is the fastest saw in its class, cutting up to 30 percent faster cutting, with 2X more runtime and 3X longer tool life. We have needed a saw for a handful of projects around the house over the last year and when we needed one for this I knew it was time to invest in one. It is super compact and stored in a storage bag taking up very little room, space is always a concern when it comes to things that won’t be used daily. While the thought of using a saw can give one anxiety but I promise it’s super simple and safe to use.
Bottom line, equip yourself with the right tools!
You don’t want to have to stop in the middle of the project because you didn’t make sure you had everything you needed first.
This bad boy requires ACTUAL tools. Ace has TONS of tools and can help you find the perfect fit for any project.
Now before you dive in to building your DIY playhouse check the weather before you start this task. Knowing it will take AT LEAST two days, you want to make sure that the forecast is nothing but clear skies for a few days out. If you have to stop in the middle of the project because of rain, you’ll lose your forward momentum.
You’re basically ready to assemble at this point. This is a huge milestone to reach! My brother, who I owe massively for doing this project with us, felt really good about the project and taking over the heavy building. I decided to use my time making a few simple but impactful customizations. If you know me you know I love myself a good DIY!
Initially, I was tempted to paint the playlet all white because I’ve seen so many beautiful DIY playhouses on Pinterest. But we live in the mountains and the playset was already made out of gorgeous cedarwood, which I thought actually fit the scenery perfectly. So, I decided to just personalize it by painting the rock wall piece of the set.
Initially, I was tempted to paint it all white because I’ve seen so many beautiful DIY white playsets on Pinterest. But we live in the mountains and the playset was already made out of gorgeous cedarwood, which I thought actually fit the scenery perfectly. So, I decided to just personalize it by painting the rock wall piece of the set.
For my inspiration, I had pinned a photo a while back of these striped painted steps that I knew I’d refer back to eventually but had no idea for what. Well, the time had finally come!
I decided to go with an asymmetrical stripe design and I wanted it to be colorful so I picked up Clark + Kensington Satin Designer Acrylic Latex Paint and Primer from Ace in the colors On The Green (green), Chrysanthemum (pink) and October Air (yellow) along with painters tape, a drop cloth and a paintbrush.
Before You Start:
Per the recommendation of the Ace paint manager (thank you SO much for your expertise), I started with a coat of this Zinsser 123 primer and then added three additional coats of the colored paint on top. The paint manager said the more coats you do on top of the primer, the better it would withstand the elements. Since we’re in Colorado and obviously get tons of snow and rain, I wanted to do everything I could to make the paint last.
The key to getting my crisp stripes was measuring, marking and taping. First, I measured each stripe and marked it on the rock wall.
Then, I let it completely dry for about four hours before I went back in and put the tape over the stripes I had just painted so I could do the remaining stripes. The trick to avoiding any bleeding here is to overlap your paint on the tape moving your brush strokes AWAY from the tape. Then, again, when the paint is about 30% dry and still tacky, remove the tape
BAM! Look At That:
As you can see, this method worked pretty dang well. Even I was impressed with those lines!
The last step for my “wall” was adding the rocks! I added the rock to the wall with my MILWAUKEE® drill kit.
*Note: Use the appropriate safety equipment when operating your tool as guided in the manual
This little DIY paint project took me about three hours of work time — it’s an “afternoon” project one would say. The time invested is worth the satisfaction of peeling back the paint tape only to discover you NAILED IT!
And there you have it!
Watching your child(ren) play with something that you spent time creating for them is truly a beautiful thing. Yes there might be a few f-bombs along the way — that is only normal, in the end it will all come together and you will be beyond proud of yourself! Rock those power tools and kill it Mama!
Stay tuned for Part 2 where I will break down all the additional DIY’s and personalization I did on the playset. Yes I went back for more!
Thank you to ACE Hardware for your collaboration in creating this content that so many will find useful and create memories with!