Firehouse Playset

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When we brought Grace home as a brand new baby, amid all the happiness and excitement of welcoming your first born into the family, I secretly felt like I had gone to prison. Because I had been stripped of every freedom, even the most basic and essential.

The freedom to sleep, the freedom eat.  The freedom to use the bathroom, to take a shower, to have an uninterrupted thought.  I was no longer free, but rather held captive by a baby demanding to nurse every hour, night and day.  A baby that punished me by screaming for hours if the phone rang, the dog barked, or if left with someone other than me.  
The job of a stay at home mom is not filled with soap operas and naps.  For me, it was survival, just making it through another endless night of walking a crying baby, another feeding, followed by another diaper change, with no end in sight.  People ask me why we have not had more children, and I openly tell them I just am not strong enough to take care of a newborn again.
But this week, I feel like something even harder has happened to me.  I feel like a even more basic freedom has been taken from me.  I feel empty.
I have been denied the freedom to put my daughter to bed.  To play with her, to hug her, to care for her.  That might have been prison, but this is the dungeon.
Last week, I boarded an airplane, and I did not gate check a car seat.  My daughter stayed home.  I have somehow without intention become a working mom.
And I tell you, being a stay at home mom is the hardest job on earth.  But being a working mom ... is the most impossible job on earth.  Because we mom's, we can handle no sleep, exhaustion, selflessness, but this being away from our children is so much more difficult.  My arms are definitely stronger than my heart.
Today, I am so happy to be back home.  My husband and I attended the BlogWorld Conference, and had some meetings in Los Angeles last week.  I thank you everyone for your patience with me, as I have not been able to keep up with comments and emails.  I can't tell you how glad I am to be home, even if the temperature difference is a full 60 degrees from California to Alaska!
As the Holidays approach, expect me to focus on posting plans for toys and gift items - for those of you without children I do apologize. I'm definitely skewed toward children's projects, just because I am a mom, and my world revolves around a preschooler - but we will I promise get back to regular furniture projects.
I am so happy to introduce today a Firehouse Playset.  It's only fair, after building the dollhouse!
Now for some Firehouse Inspiration!!!
image from Zillow
image from PBase
Best luck building!
Keywords: 
firehouse, firestation, playset, wood toys, kidkraft, landofnod, boy dollhouse, fire dollhouse
Dimensions: 

1 - 1/4 sheet of 3/4" hardwood plywood (shown in PureBond Formaldehyde Free Birch Plywood)
2 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
1 - 1x4 @ 4 feet long

Common Materials: 
2 inch screws
1 1/4 inch finish nails
wood glue
wood filler
120 grit sandpaper
Tools: 
measuring tape
square
pencil
safety glasses
hearing protection
drill
jigsaw
nailer
sander
countersink drill bit
Cut List: 

3 - 3/4" plywood @ 15 3/4" x 15 3/4"
2 - 3/4" plywood @ 15 3/4" x 8"
4 - 1x2 @ 18 1/4" (legs)
4 - 1x2 @ 15 3/4" (side trim)
2 - 1x4 @ 17 1/4" (front trim)
2 - 1x2 @ 17 1/4" (Bottom trim)

Project Type: 
Skill Level: 
Estimated Cost: 
Style: 
General Instructions: 

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Step 1

Have your hardware store cut the plywood into strips 8" and 15 3/4" wide, by four feet long as shown in the diagram. If they are really nice, they might even do your crosscuts :) Remember that the saw blade takes up space, so measure, cut, measure cut and so on to get the most accurate cuts.

Step 2

From all of the shelves, notch out the corners as shown above with a jigsaw. Sand any rough edges.

TIP: Cut holes out with a hole saw kit on the top and middle story to add a fireman's pole :) just make sure you place the holes so they don't conflict with your interior wall placement.

Summary: 

Build a solid wood firehouse playset with these free simple easy plans! Made of solid wood, this sturdy playset will last and last!

Step 3

Now cut the doorways out of the interior walls. You can make doorways larger or smaller to fit your child's needs.

Step 4

Mark on all of the legs the placement of the middle story. Attach legs as shown in diagram.

Step 5

Add your interior shelves. You won't need much - glue will do the trick, but it won't hurt to add a few nails to keep the walls in place.

Step 6

Flip the whole project upside down and nail bottom trim on starting with smaller pieces.

Step 7

Now add the longer trim pieces to finish out the bottom. You can also add wheels underneath to make the playset mobile.

Step 8

Now flip the playset back over and attach top trim as shown above, flush to bottom of top story.

Step 9

Step 9 Instructions: 

Cut desired shape out of 1x4 front/backs and attach with finish nails and glue.

Now it's time to paint and accessorize!!!

Finishing Instructions

Preparation Instructions: 
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.

Comments

Thanks for the great plans, Ana! Even those of us without kids have nieces and nephews that need holiday gifts! This is great!

awwww Ana - thanks for sharing this part of you with us. Our baby #2 sounds like your baby - hence no baby#3 :) And our now 2-year old baby #2 is going to love this plan, but I think his dad might love it more! (no more playing in the barbie house! lol)

Thank you Anna for the validation of all moms hard work. My number 2 was like your number one. There is a five year gap between her and number 3. Number 5 just came in July and she is truly an angel. Every single one is different. Oh yes I am also 42. Tired? yes, but happy, happy, happy. Thanks again for all you do. You are inspiring!

I was thinking it would be neat to add a fireman pole to this house, to give it more firehouse character...would there be any way to put a hole in the second floor and maybe use a thick dowel rod?

I love the idea of a fireman pole too! The easiest way would be to just cut a hole in the middle story, to one of the corners so you are not hitting an interior wall. Then just run a wood dowel from the bottom story to the top.

A tad more difficult would be to cut holes in the middle and top stories, and then run a metal pipe up, with the top end of the metal pipe bent into a candy cane shape to secure back down to the top floor.

Love it! We are a big, extended family of little boys, so this will be fun to try. I think I may try to figure out how to include a fireman's pole, too :-)

Love it! We are a big, extended family of little boys, so this will be fun to try. I think I may try to figure out how to include a fireman's pole, too :-)

Get a "hole saw" for your drill and cut a round hole in the floor of the second floor. Sand the edges to get rid of splinters.

For the pole, I would use copper pipe and pipe end brackets, or a thin piece of conduit and brackets.

Just... thanks.

--a mom who can finally be reasonably - but not completely - certain that her kid will not burn down the house if she takes 30 seconds to go potty alone.

That is by far the best summery of the difference between a stay-at-home/work-outside-the-home mom I have ever found. That is why we can never judge each other. As rough as it is being home, being away must be a strange mix of relief and torture.
Thanks for being so relatable. I love reading everything you type, even if I'm not planning on building for awhile.

So cute!! How was your trip to CA? How did Grace do without you guys for 5 days? I'm guessing better than her mom and dad;-) That's been my experience at least... I used to have to go out of town for work and my munchkin was fine.. it was her mom that was a mess:-)

I'm a first time mom going through exactly what you described, Ana. Thank you for sharing how difficult it was for you at first, being a stay-at-home mom. All my friends who have children describe their lives in such glowing tones, I was beginning to wonder if I was the odd woman out. It feels so much better to know that there are others who've felt the same as I do...and that things do get better, and babies grow up into amazing kids like Grace. :) Thanks.

Hang in there! I went through the same when I was a first time mom and, like many military spouses, I was very alone and far away from any family. There were many nights of exhaustion and many more tears shed by myself and my baby. Demanding babies are tough but they grow up to be amazing. My former colicky baby is now 15 years old and 6'2" tall and makes up tenfold for every sleepless night by being a wonderful person.
And I would gladly go back to those nights, when I was my baby's only comfort and we shared that special mother-baby bond. I would rather relive that complete loss of freedom than preparing to send my baby off to college in 3 years.
Being a first time mom is a challenge, but it might help a little to realize that you will never experience a more unconditional love than your baby has for you.
Good luck!

Ana,

I love your work! I'm a newbie to your site, but I'm also a new fan!

Your words (Author's Note) echo my own experience. I think you captured the essence of that mother-struggle we all face. Thank you. I'm very touched.

Emily

Ana, I dont know how I missed this post when you first posted it :/ Anyways, my daughter was like yours when she was born, and it was horrific. I often tell people I have PTSD from my first one, Im not having more. Because it was horrific. Now, almost divorced, and playing a single parent to a 2 year old, while share parenting - Ive learned not to have my daughter at home half the week. You think its rough being a SAHM, or being a working mom? Try working 40 hours in 4 days with no kid, and then being a 100%SAHM 3 days a week with kid. Super hard on the heart, and body.

Will be making this for one of my grandsons, as soon as Christmas is over
Daughter will be here in Feb. To pick it up. She lives in Texas.

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