DIY Playhouses and Cardboard Castles for Kids

I’m Bored! Let’s Make a Playhouse

What parent hasn’t heard that “I’m bored” phrase over and over on days when outside play just isn’t an option?  (I’m aware that most of us also hear it no matter the weather!)

Children love DIY playhouses!  I’m sure you remember a time when you had an indoor playhouse as a child.

I remember making them with my kids; they were all slipshod because we did our best using whatever we had on hand.  

My daughter loved using the sofa cushions and would balance the cushions next to and on top of each other.  That was short-lived fun since it was constantly falling apart.

I also tried the popular card table playhouse, but the blankets we used wouldn’t stay put, even though we put pillows on them. 

(Nice, heavy pillows; mom was too tired to fetch something bigger and heavier, and the sofa pillows were right there in the living room!)

You can see I was not a very good engineer when it came to DIY playhouses.

We did have one successful cardboard playhouse that took up the floor space of our living room. I cannot take credit for it.

My parents came to visit from out of state, bringing with them all sorts of cardboard along with a huge refrigerator box.  

Grandpa could make anything, and my son wanted a pirate ship.  It turned out to be the most amazing cardboard playhouse, and we even pulled it outside for birthday party fun!

Why Make a DIY Playhouse?

DIY tents, forts, teepees, cardboard castle playhouses...they all offer a place for the kids to hide out and dive into imaginative play. Sometimes they just need a quiet place for alone time, and playhouses are perfect for that.

It gives parents the joy of quietness and an amazing fantasy world for the kiddos.

Having a playdate?  The DIY playhouses are so much fun for a couple of friends to play games of pretend.

AND….DIY playhouses are much more economical than buying a ready-made playhouse.

What Playhouse Shall We Make?

If you are not sure where to start, we have great ideas for indoor fabric and cardboard playhouses that you can create for your kiddos.

Many of the ideas are sewn playhouses that fit over the top of a card table. The tutorials we have found will have you making a wonderful place to play that is attractive AND doesn’t involve afghans and pillows! 

The Line Up of DIY Playhouses

Scroll down to see what we have found for you. We will start with the fabric playhouses:

We found you some perfect, easy to follow patterns that can be personalized with fabric that your child likes. Most of these drape over a card table, dining room table, or use PVC piping as the foundation.

Some sites show how to create exciting and unique DIY playhouses that begin with using an old sheet! 

If you want to get all in, there are fun, themed playhouses to sew with your favorite fabrics.

Looking for cardboard playhouses?  Check out the cardboard castle!

You can learn to create fantastic and budget-friendly DIY cardboard playhouses using giant boxes.  The sites below will show you how!

We even have very creative and fun dollhouses and playhouses for dolls! If you'd like to see more on doll crafts, take a look at our doll craft videos!

Trust me; you don’t need a superhero grandpa in order to make the perfect playhouse with the tutorials below!

DIY Playhouses and Cardboard Castles for Kids

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 Barn Card Table Playhouse

Barn Card Table Playhouse #ad

Have hours of barn raising fun with this barn playhouse which cleverly sits on a card table supported by a PVC pipe structure. Affiliate Link to

 Card Table Playhouse Pattern

Card Table Playhouse Pattern #ad

This slipcover is designed to fit over a standard card table to create a Playhouse that will keep the kids busy for hours. Designed to fit a standard 34-inch x 34-inch x 28-inch card table. Includes a roof, windows and a door with a closable flap. Affiliate Link to Amazon

 McCall's Children's Playhouse

McCall's Children's Playhouse #ad

CHILDREN'S PLAYHOUSE: To cover 33" W × 33" L × 29" H card table. Includes pattern pieces and sewing instructions. Affiliate Link to

 Teepee and Mat Sewing Pattern

Teepee and Mat Sewing Pattern #ad

TEPEE AND MAT: Package includes patterns and instructions to make Tepee. Affiliate Link to Amazon

Army Bunker Tent

How to make a army bunker tent. Obsessively Stitching

Beach Dollhouse

Beach Dollhouse

The beach dollhouse can be completely made (furniture and all!) from scrap wood, pre-cut blocks & dowels, a little paint on paper, and some fast-growing wheatgrass. Barley and Birch

Bunk Bed Fort Tutorial

Transform the bunk bed into a fort with this tutorial. A Lemon Squeezy Home

Car Wash - Toy Car Wash

Grab things from the recycle bin and craft supplies to make a car wash for toy cars. Kids will have fun creating it. Filth Wizardry

Card Table Bakery

Idea for make a card table bakery. Making It Sweet

Card Table Fort

This card table fort is just what a little girl would enjoy with a door, a window and some garden flowers. Make It and Love It

Card Table Playhouse

This post includes step-by-step directions and pictures on how to sew a card table house. Mary-ed Life

Card Table Playhouse Idea

This blogger is showing the playhouse she made in order to give you the inspiration to make your own. Sew Much Ado

Card Table Playhouse Tips

With these simple guidelines, you'll be on your way to creating a fabulous playhouse for your little ones. Nothing Fancy

Card Table Tent

Here's a tutorial for a basic tent so you can make one for the kids you know! Old Days Old Ways

Cardboard Castle

A simple no-fuss play castle out of a computer box, duct tape and an additional box. A Little Tipsy

Cardboard Playhouse

Using large cardboard boxes as a playhouse is nothing new but this one is especially cute. Take a look! A girl and A Glue Gun

Cardboard Playhouses

Cardboard Playhouses

Do It Yourself for making kid playhouses. A Beautiful Mess

DIY Outdoor Children’s Playset

DIY Outdoor Children’s Playset

This DIY outdoor treehouse and playset will be the perfect addition to our backyard. The DIY Nuts

Doll House

Doll House

How to make a dollhouse out of cardboard. Dad Life Lessons

Doll House for 18" Doll

Doll House for 18" Doll

A video showing the doll house made for an 18 inch doll using tutorial by My Froggy Stuff.

Doll House Tutorial

Doll House Tutorial

A step-by-step guide in how to create your own doll house with just a few materials. Craft Bits

Fort Building Ideas for Kids at Home

Fort Building Ideas for Kids at Home

The idea for this fort-building activity is very simple and uses common materials. The idea is shared with you because of how well it works and how much fun it is to create forts. Teaching Ideas

Giant Cardboard Rocket Ship

Check out this cardboard rocket ship and then use your imagination and make one for your child or children. Filth Wizardry

Gingerbread House

Create a life-size gingerbread house with this tutorial. Alpha Mom

Ice Cream Shop

With this tutorial, you can make a cute ice cream shop. Childhood 101

Light-Up Playhouse

Light-Up Playhouse

Here are the steps this blogger used to create a light-up rainforest-themed cardboard box clubhouse. Toddler Meal Tips

Patterned A-Frame Tent

Make a colorful tent for your kids to relax under this summer. Krylon

Platform Treehouse

Platform Treehouse

Step-by-step instructions on how to build a platform treehouse. Repurpose and Upcycle

Play Castle

Play Castle

An easy step-by-step tutorial on how to make a cardboard castle. Twitchetts

Shoe Box Doll House

Shoe Box Doll House

How to make a dollhouse from a shoebox. My Poppet Makes

Super Mario Playhouse

Super Mario Playhouse

An old house-shaped bookshelf can be made into a DIY Super Mario playhouse. Down Red Bud Drive


You can't beat this tent for a great project. It looks great, fits more than one kid at a time, is easy enough for beginning sewers. Obsessively Stitching

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