PVC Playhouse & Sunshade: PVC Frame

PVC Playhouse Tent Collage

Today I have the first installment of the how-to behind my PVC Playhouse & Sunshade – how to construct the PVC Frame.



If you follow me on Instagram @jennuinelife, I was sharing sneak peeks of the project as I went.  I started with the PVC frame, which was SO quick to construct – I did this in a half hour with the exception of the cross-pieces on the roof; I added those later.  From a pile of fittings and eight lengths of PVC pipe to a rough frame in no time flat!


PVC Frame Collage

All 3/4″ schedule 40 PVC

All are slip fittings
4 – 45-degree elbows
8 – Tee joints
6 – 3-way corner fittings

8 – 10 foot lengths

PVC Frame Dimensions

Pipe Cut Lengths:
I used a power miter saw to make my cuts.  Alternatively, you can ask for the cuts to be made at the home improvement store, or there are special PVC pipe hand cutters like this for less than $20.

55″ – 9 cuts
43.5″ – 4 cuts
18.5″ – 8 cuts
2″ – 4 cuts

I didn’t use any glue since I wanted to be able to fully dismantle it at the end of the season or if we want to take it somewhere.  The tent design helps push the pipe together, so glue is not required.

1.  Lay out four of the 55″ lengths and use four of the 3-way fittings in the corners.
2.  Insert the 43.5″ lengths into the open end of the 3-way fittings.
3.  Insert the tee joints onto the top with the open ends facing each other.
4.  Place two more of the 55″ lengths into the open horizontal ends.
5.  Push the 2″ lengths into the open vertical ends.
6.  Add the 45-degree joints.
7.  Then put four of the 18.5″ lengths into the open ends.
8.  Place four of the tee joints onto those ends and two of the 55″ lengths between.
9.  Four more of the 18.5″ lengths into the open ends.
10. Add the last two 3-way fittings at the top and the last 55″ length between.

In the next installment I discuss the fabric requirements and the cut dimensions.

Links to all tutorials:
Fabric Requirements & Cuts
Mitered Bindings, Curtains, & Awnings
Sturdy Seams



14 Responses to PVC Playhouse & Sunshade: PVC Frame

  1. cherished bliss July 1, 2013 at 11:12 PM #

    OMG this is adorable! My daughter would have a blast, once we get moved, our basement might just have to have this! : ) Pinning!

  2. Steph @ Three Loud Kids! July 2, 2013 at 5:29 PM #

    This is the most adorable thing EVER!

  3. Cinthea Martinsen January 7, 2014 at 2:28 PM #

    I have one question, how did the frame hold up under the weight of cotton fabrics after rainstorms? My grandchildren are in the Seattle area, so I’m wondering if I’d need to use mostly rip-stop nylon, or if I can get away with pretty cotton’s like yours?

    • Jenn AJennuineLife January 7, 2014 at 2:50 PM #

      I didn’t leave the tent up for extended periods of time as I know the duck cloth can get mildew if it stays wet for long. I left the frame in the yard and brought in the tent – the only difficult part of that is folding it! If you’re planning to have it out through rainstorms I’d say either outdoor home decor fabric, or ripstop would be best. With that said, it did get rained on once, and another time our dog lifted his leg on it and I had to hose it off really well. The PVC frame held the additional weight well. I think wind might be another story and should come down before any big gusts. I hope this helps!

  4. Jess May 8, 2015 at 2:48 PM #

    I’m curious how well the fabric held up through weather over time. Did it fade? Love this and plan to make one for my boy soon!

    • Jennifer May 8, 2015 at 3:11 PM #

      It’s held up really well! I didn’t leave it up for more than a few days at a time because I didn’t want it to get wet and mildew (or the dog to start peeing on it!). We just moved and I haven’t gotten it out of the attic yet to set it up, but I’ll take pictures of it after I do.

  5. Janet August 23, 2015 at 9:20 AM #

    Hi Jenn!

    I am going to use you directions to build my daughter a playhouse for her second birthday. I love that this can be reassembled and moved to different locations because i want to use it in our basement in the winter months but be able to take it outside in the summer. I was wondering how tall the finished structure is. I just want to make sure it will fit in our basement before I construct it.

    Thanks for sharing your plans.

    • Jennifer August 23, 2015 at 8:34 PM #

      I’m not at home right now to measure it, but I know it is within head clearance of a standard ceiling. I’d say no more than seven feet tall? I can stand inside in the center with clearance, but I can still reach the top bar to put the tent over top. I’m 5’8″.

  6. Rachel September 4, 2015 at 8:58 AM #

    Hi! I’m wondering where you found your 3 way corner fittings–neither of our hardware stores seem to have them!

    • Jennifer September 4, 2015 at 9:05 AM #

      It would have been Home Depot or Lowe’s.

      • Rachel September 4, 2015 at 9:53 AM #

        Well shoot! Ours don’t have them. Guess I’ll look online, thanks!


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