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Pallet Teepee Tutorial The Kids Will Totally Love This

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Pallet Teepee Tutorial The Kids Will Totally Love This

Post by AlleyRose on Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:27 pm

Pallets have so many uses and we have shared lots of great projects with you over time. The Pallet Playhouse has been very popular and when we saw this Pallet Teepee we fell head over heels! What a brilliant idea this is and how much fun will the kids have! The good news is that you can use scrap wood for this project.
We have even found a tutorial that shows you how to make your own Pallets. Kids need to get outside more. 

Cedar Play Teepee: A How-To
• 5 – 4x4x10 cedar fence posts
• 4 – 2x2x10 cedar
• 2 – 2x4x10 cedar
• 30ish 6′ cedar fence pickets
• 1 stump, at least 20″ in circumference
• 15 – 6″ hex screws (the hex top helps prevent stripping)
• 2 1/2″ decking screws for base
• 1 1/4″ decking screws for siding

Step 1

My plan was still pretty fuzzy at this point. I wasn’t sure how to attach the square posts to each other at the top. We cycled through a few ideas, then settled on attaching them to a center stump. Jacob found a 3′ section of a rough cedar post so we used that. To come up with the angles, I cut the bottoms of each post at 20 degrees off square. Then I placed them on a 2×4 to keep them flush, and placed the stump in the center. Once I had it all lined up I used a square and another 2×4 to create a center cross and mark the angle for the top that I needed to cut. (and yes, I realize this looks like some sort of strange occult practice here! I had to take a photo of my strange triangle markings and the great sun flare  )

You can see above that the left post has been cut at the top, and I set my 2×4 to mark the post on the right.

Both angles matched, so I marked the rest of my 4×4’s and cut them all the same.
Step 2

Now it was time to attach it all together. I decided a tripod would be the easiest way to start. My stump was exactly 25″ in circumference, so I marked 4″ for each post (cedar is typically true cut, so a 4×4 really is 4″ x 4″) and left a one inch gap in between them. I screwed the first two in laying on their sides, and then it was time for the third post. I was assembling it alone, taking advantage of nap time. So I propped up my post with cedar fence pickets. Probably not the safest idea, but I like to live on the edge sometimes. I used two screws per post just to set them in place.

Just as I had finished screwing the posts in my mom pulled up to head over for Charlie’s Christmas program at school, so she helped me tip it up and set it into place.
Step 3

Once I had the three legs set where I wanted them, I propped up the last two and stood on a stool and screwed them in. As I was building it in place on very unlevel ground, I was more concerned with a solid foundation rather than a wobbly “level” structure. So each post is set at a different level. Once they were all in where I wanted them I added another screw for stability.
Step 4

Now to keep those posts from moving. I tried to get all my sides evenly spaced, but somehow I got off on my measurements. I cut five 2×4’s at 45 degrees off square, 65 1/2″ from long point to long point. I set them into place and adjusted my posts as needed. It turns out that the four walls are even, and the front entry side is slightly larger, which worked for me.
Step 5

Next I attached them with 2 1/2″ screws toenailed into the 4×4’s. Three screws on each side. It was quite sturdy. It was starting to look like a real teepee!
Step 6

Now it was time for the 2×2’s. The sides needed a center support for the fence picket siding, to keep them sturdy and not bowing or warping over time. I cut the base at 20 degrees off square like the posts, but since I bought 8′ sticks instead of 10′ they were too short to reach the stump. So we had to improvise. Dad to the rescue!

Since you will be smart and buy 10′ sticks because you learned from my mistake, you can just mark the sticks where they need to be cut instead of having to do our crazy jig. My dad (who is the king of rig-em-ups) had these metal strips with holes in them. I’m not entirely sure what their original purpose was for, but we made them work well enough. We bent the metal in the center and screwed them down into each 4×4 post from the front, then made sure the 2×2 would be flush by holding a fence picket over it, and added a screw in from the metal behind the 2×2. Confusing? You bet. Functional? Yup! Whatever works, right?
Step 7

Time for the picket siding. I had built the entire frame all by my lonesome during the day, but now the baby was awake and my husband came home so it was his turn. He was in charge of the siding. He held up a picket starting at the bottom and used a pencil to mark the angles. He attached the siding with two screws in the center and one on each side. We may go back and add more later, but we ran out of screws!

He just used a scrap piece of 2×4 to make a spacer so they would all be even. But since the sides weren’t exactly level, they don’t line up perfectly. They’re all slightly off from side to side, but the evenness of the gaps tricks your eye into thinking it matches.
Step 8

Once we got five gaps up, it was time to stop spacing. And break for some air guitar on a picket. Because that’s what the cool kids do. Anyway, we wanted to keep it closed at the top to give it a more “official” teepee look. You can keep with the slats if you like, and just make the gaps smaller. Or whatever. It’s your teepee! The beauty of DIY is making it however you like it. We stopped at the top once the 2×2 ran out. I like it because it gives a bit of air venting and there won’t be any water pooling up at the top to rot out the wood.
Step 9

Finish out all four sides with the pickets. Looks pretty legit now, right??
Step 10

Time to finish out the front. He used some scrap 2×4 to bridge the gap in the front to create a brace. Figuring out these angles is tough, so I wish you luck. Ours aren’t perfect, there’s no double bevel, just a single cut at 30ish degrees. Then we cut a scrap 2×2 at 20 degrees at the base and marked the top. These are attached with 2 1/2 inch screws.
Step 11

Next there was more marking, cutting, and screwing in pickets. Hooray!
Step 12

To gussy it up we found a skinnier cedar post for the lintel of sorts. Jacob just pre-drilled a hole and used some giant nails from my dad’s shop to drive into the 2×4 support beam. The bark was flaking off so I decided to just go ahead and peel it all off so it wouldn’t look like a shedding beast.

And then we called ‘er done!

It took two days, building during nap times and the brief hours after work before sunset. So maybe 15 hours total. We spent about $250 on the project, but costs will vary with the price of lumber. You *could* go a bit cheaper with treated wood, but personally I don’t think it’s worth it. Not only for the chemicals, but that treated wood needs to set for a while and can warp quickly because of the pressure treatment drying out. Besides, cedar is a lot prettier! And delicious to smell. And is a natural deterrent for pests and bugs.
So if you’re looking for a fun addition to your yard this spring, I highly encourage you to think about a teepee! I like our version as it’s not permanent. It’s not set into the ground, nor does it have a platform. So if one day our kids grow out of it or we’d like to move it all we need are five or six strong backs to do so   And we saved so much money by doing it ourselves, not to mention the pride we get seeing our daughter’s happy face (and soon faces, once our baby Caroline gets big enough to enjoy it along with her sister). Even if Charlie does *sob!* seem to think only daddy built it for her. Her toddler memory decided to get a bit selective and forget the day mom worked on it while she played outside. Ah, well. At least she knows one parent built something for her, that’s good enough for me!

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