If you’re on Instagram, you’ve probably seen a lot of beautiful tree houses which make the most amazing addition to your small world play! However, this year I am enforcing a ‘new toy’ ban so my husband and I devised a plan to make our very own custom DIY tree house for our small world play!
We started this project by heading to Kmart to stock up on some cutting boards. We found two perfect boards that were very similar in tone and texture so we grabbed those – the Long Acacia Serving Board and the Wood Serving Platter. Next we headed to IKEA and grabbed one of their mini FASCINERA cutting boards! We also got some wood glue and dowel from bunnings. See the full list of tools and materials we used at the end of the post!
My mum lives on 12 acres just down the road from us, so next we headed to her house to find some branches for our tree house. My husband found some great branches that had forks in them – we knew they’d be perfect! We also collected a bunch of other branches to use for ladders, fences and our swing!
When we got home, my husband got to work cutting the pieces of branch to size. We worked out how we wanted the platforms to sit and then he picked out branches that would be suitable. He used a spirit level to make sure all the pieces sat evenly. It was a bit of a fiddly job but not too tricky once he got a good technique happening! He found that the circular saw made it a lot easier to get the branches all even but this wasn’t totally necessary – a hand saw can work just as well.
Next, he drilled holes in the cutting boards and pieces of branch and cut the dowel to fit inside to help add some stability to the platforms. You could just screw it all together but it won’t look as nice. This was a bit tricky to line up, so he used a piece of chalk inside the hole in the branch to work out where he needed to drill the hole. He then glued it all together and left it to dry for 24 hours.
While we waited for the tree house to dry, my husband started planning some extra features like ladders, a swing, some fences, bridges and some beautiful little small world trees! We decided not to attach any of it so that the tree house is more open ended!
To make the ladders, he found two pieces of branch that were fairly straight and similar in size. Then he used a thinner branch which he cut to size for the runs. He also glued all of these pieces together and let sit for 24 hours. To make the little fences and bridges, he used a similar technique by cutting smaller branches down to the right size and gluing with the wood glue.
The kids also helped to make some small world trees. My husband drilled several holes in the top of a piece of branch. Then the kids helped to stick some artificial plant leaves into the holes which they then filled with the wood glue. They turned out SO well!
It all came together so beautifully! When we set it up for the kids to explore, I also added some mossy pebbles and our homemade rainbow peg dolls (made by my mum @myteachingcupboard) which the kids LOVED using with their new tree house!
All up, this project cost us a grand total of $40 and didn’t require any expensive tools that most homes wouldn’t already own. You can see exactly what we used below!
- $15.00 Long Acacia Serving Board – Kmart
- $8.00 Wood serving platter – Kmart
- $7.99 FASCINERA Chopping Board – IKEA
- $6.59 Tarzan’s PVA Wood Glue – Bunnings
- $2.63 9.5mm wide dowel – Bunnings
- Several branch off-cuts from the garden
- Hand Saw
- Drill + 10mm drill bit
- Pen knife
- Spirit level
- Chalk stick
- Circular saw (not necessary but made it easier to get the branches level)