Play Fences for $3

Does your child spend hours playing barn or farm or horses? Or zoo? Build fold up play fence sections for just $3 each using basic tools! These DIY toy fence sections fold flat, but expand to perfect sized pens.


Projects built from this plan. Thank you for submitting brag posts, it's appreciated by all!

Author Notes: 

Last week was quite a stressful one for me. We dealt with (and are still working out) a few bugs with the site (thanks for your patience!) and let's just say I spent quite a bit of time listening to elevator music.  Is elevator music supposed to calm you?

Well, it wasn't working.  
The only way I know how to deal with stress is to play with the kids or build something.  
And the kids wanted a horse barn.  More specifically they wanted me to buidl them a horse barn.  Sounds like just the therapy for me.
So I went out to the garage and rounded up a few boards ... just to discover that all of the tools are at the Momplex.  
Yep, I was left with a hammer, a 12 volt drill and a jigsaw.  I know I'm quite spoiled to have a compound miter saw and a nailgun at my disposal, so I'm definitely not complaining.  I'm just saying I knew a horse barn was probably not happening today.
Give me a second to think ....  hmmmm .....
A corral ....
Made of fence sections ....
This could be intersting.
It must fold up.
And I only have four 1x2 boards.
And the most basic of tools.
So here's the challenge:
Build two horse fence sections with only 4 1x2 boards (new they cost less than a buck), two sets of recycled hinges (that cost new $1 each), using only a jigsaw (handsaw would work too!) and a hammer and nails, and a drill or screwdriver for attaching screws.
See my nail holes?  I'm so proud, I pounded those with the only hammer not worth enough to make it up to the Momplex.  it's like 4" long.  And doesn't even have a claw for when mistakes happen.  
The fences can open and close, with each piece doubling as a side and a gate.

Simple toys create big imaginations.

Two fences make a corral or pen.  Each section of fence is made from exactly 1 1x2 board, 8 feet long.  I know it's quite simple, something you could make in for the cost of a cup of coffee, probably quicker than Starbucks can serve it up, but it's simple toys that create opportunities for little imaginations to grow bigger.
And fold flat for when big imaginations finally go to bed.
Shopping List: 

2 - 1x2 @ 8 feet long
1 - basic hinge
1 1/4" finish or trim nails
wood glue
sanding block or sander

measuring tape
hammer (can be substituted for brad nailer with a nail punch)
safety glasses
hearing protection
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!

Shown in diagram
Cut List: 

4 - 1x2 @ 31 3/4"
4 - 1x2 @ 16"

Cutting Instructions: 
Cut two legs and two fence rails from each 1x2.
Step 1: 

You will need to build two fence sections as shown here. Use glue if you are using nails.

Step 2 Instructions: 

Add bottom rail. You could actually put a third rail in for extra cuteness, but then you have to buy more boards.

Step 3 Instructions: 

Lay both sections on back as shown above and attach hinges.  And that's it!
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.
Project Type: 
Estimated Cost: 
Skill Level: 


What a fun way to store a pile of stuffed animals! I bet my kiddos wouldn't drag their feet at clean up time if all they had to do was "corral up" their animals! :)

Thank you so much for posting this!! My daughter has been begging for the American Girl horse and stable and this would work great!!

My daughter just got her first American Girl doll, and also wants the American Girl horse and stable. I had already gotten her a rather large horse during the July Target clearance sale so I just need a stable. I had one all planned in my head, but you seriously just made it much simplier. And the folding flat for storage, GENIUS!!! THANK YOU ANA!!!

Wonderful! Thank you ever so much, I was needing more things for Mommy Elf to make for Christmas that would take a little less time, promote imaginative play for out little boys, and fit in our house somehow - you should see the looks my husband has been giving me when I say "chairs" and "table" and "play fridge." Or maybe you really shouldn't =0). I know building something tends to put me in a better mood too, I hope it lasts for you! Perfect perfect perfect. I'm making three as soon as the chairs are sanded. Might even have enough scrap plywood already cut into strips!

My girls have been driving me nuts the past two weeks crawling on the their hands and knees non-stop pretending that they are the last two unicorns alive. They're going to love this. And since we are renovating, there are lots of scraps around (or can be bought without much of a difference on the end of month bill at the lumber yard :D). Hourray! Thanks a lot Ana. :)

My son used to pretend he was a pony. He would have loved one of these. My grandaughter is too young. I will have to save this for next year. Thank you Ana

My son used to pretend he was a pony. He would have loved one of these. My grandaughter is too young. I will have to save this for next year. Thank you Ana