The official first project of the Handbuilt Holiday series for 2018 is an indoor playhouse also known as an over the bed kids loft. Kids of all ages love a loft space and yes you can build it for them using free plans from Ana White.
A DIY tutorial to build an indoor playhouse kids loft over a twin bed. Make your kids dreams come true with free plans from Ana White for this awesome loft.
Ana and I are back for a sixth season of Handbuilt Holiday where we share gift project ideas in time for the holiday season. In case you missed the previous years projects you can find the entire catalog here. There are a variety of gift ideas ranging from big builds to easy small projects, things for young babies and toddlers all the way up to adults and everything in between. If you’re looking to build and make a holiday gift you are bound to find something perfect for that special person. We post a new gift plan every Friday leading up to Christmas and we are so excited to share this indoor playhouse kids loft as our first gift idea this year.
If you have 8 foot ceilings this playhouse will fit. Ana designed the structure at 94 1/2″ tall which fits just right under 96″ ceilings. The design also accommodates a standard twin mattress (39″w) to fit between the leg openings. You can add this loft to your kids room without sacrificing too much space because the bed still fits underneath!
Honestly I think Ana outdid herself with this kids playhouse design, it’s all around perfection. The built-in ladder keeps floor space clear and doesn’t poke out into the room or create a tripping hazard. My favorite part is the loft space above. It makes a great hiding place for kids and adults!
This playhouse is most likely suitable for ages 4 – 12. I did find my 14 year old daughter up there enjoying the view but I think it’s probably best for young kids. The loft area has plenty of space for 2-3 kids. Below is my 11 year old 5’4″ son in the loft for size comparison:
I painted the back wall with chalkboard because it’s a favorite and for the side wall (without the eave) I opted to create shelves between the legs using the studs. It’s super simple and adds a ton of storage and nooks for kids to keep all their things. Short bungee cords attached to the studs help keep books in place.
The built-in ladder is simply genius. At first I was nervous that the weight of a person on the ladder would pull the loft forward but not to worry it’s completely sound. As an adult (over 130 pounds) I gave the ladder multiple test runs and the loft is plenty heavy on it’s own. I opted to attach the vertical ladder pieces and rungs from the interior so you would not see the screw heads.
There really is no need for handles on the ladder but how cute would vertical pipe handles look painted in a bright fun color?!
The ladder also creates a nice barrier for the bed space which keeps the sleeping area a bit cozy. Below is the view from the interior side of the ladder, you can see there is still plenty of foot space so kids aren’t getting their dirty feet all over the mattress every time they go up to the loft:
I would have given anything to have this cool loft in my bedroom as a kid. Alas I’m extremely grateful to be able to build it for my kids and even more excited to share the free plans with you so you can build it for your kids!
- miter saw
- pocket hole jig
- drill & drill bits
- 3/8″ hardware (hex screws, nuts and washers)
- 2 1/2″ wood screws
- jig saw
- construction adhesive
- tacker and staples
- cedar shakes
Below are a few building notes and progress photos of the installation in action. Please read through Ana’s plans entirely before beginning and be sure to leave comments if you have questions.
Once you have the four wall panels complete it’s time to assemble in the room. Start with the back wall and use clamps to hold the side walls in position while you predrill holes for the bolts.
To attach the sistered stud legs I used (3) 3 1/2″ long – 3/8″ bolts on each leg. One at the base, one just under the loft floor, and one at top. Be sure to use a washer on both sides of the studs and secure with a nut.
Predrill a 3/8″ hole and then ratchet the bolt into position.
For the loft floor I opted to use (4) 2×3 studs as joists so the floor would sit almost flush with the 2×4 frame:
I used 3/4″ MDF for the floor piece because I had it on hand. I recommend plywood only because it’s probably more kid proof with spills etc. Notch out the corners as needed and lay the floor piece in position:
For the roof I added cedar shakes because it’s just that much cuter! The shakes extend 1 1/2″ over the front and sides. Use construction adhesive and staples to hold the shakes in position. Be aware of your staple size when attaching to 1/4″ plywood below. Once you reach the edge use a jigsaw to cut off the excess.
To attach the roof portion to the playhouse use clamps to hold the roof piece in position and then secure with 2 1/2″ spax wood screws from the interior:
At the lower roof portion where it sits on the eave I used straight mending plates to secure to the leg:
I hope you enjoyed this fun indoor playhouse over the bed kids loft. Be sure to share your projects and tag us on social media, we love seeing reader creations.
Also check back every Friday for a new gift project plan as we continue with the Handbuilt Holiday series. And don’t forget to follow along on social media with sneak peeks!
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