DIY Dining Table Playhouse / Fort

I’ll be honest. This project is time-intensive (for a moderately skilled seamstress such as myself), and you need to have a sewing machine and basic sewing skills in order to make it. However, it’s not complicated, and it doesn’t have to be even as complicated as I made it. Also, while it looks pretty awesome (if I do say so myself) in the photos, you (an adult) wouldn’t be as impressed if you saw it up close – but since my critics are almost 3 and 1.5, they still think that it’s the coolest thing ever.

These types of forts were my ‘pinspiration’ – though I’ll be quite honest that most of them are WAY better – and also WAY more time-intensive than mine turned out to be! (And it took long enough to make mine as it was!)

I used all scrap material that I had in our cupboards – an old brown curtain, part of a white flat sheet (we use duvet covers instead of top sheets, so when we get sheet sets, I always keep the flat sheets for crafts & paint sheets), an old shower curtain, an old sheer curtain, and some small scraps of fabric. The only thing that I bought for this was the iron-on adhesive.

The process for making a dining table playhouse is fairly simple.
1. Measure the tabletop length & width, and then the height of the table.
2. Cut fabric for the top of the table and each of the sides of the table, leaving a 1/2″ to 1″ seam allowance (be consistent with whichever you choose), including the bottom edges. To reduce on the cutting and sewing, I had a curtain that was long enough to use for the top and the back.
3. Decide which piece will be the ‘front’ of your house. Measure and cut a front door. I ended up just cutting two slits and didn’t cut the top of the door, so that the door just hung down.
4. Decide how many you windows you want to make, then measure from the sides of the fabric (to make sure the windows will be straight!) and mark the windows with pins all the way around. Cut the fabric out. 
5. Sew all of the cuts that you just made with a Zig-Zag stitch in order to ensure that the edges won’t unravel (don’t worry about zig-zagging the sides & tops of the walls).
6. Press your seam allowance on the bottom (floor-side) of each of the 4 wall panels. Sew.
7. If you would like to have screens in your windows, cut pieces of a sheer curtain (white mesh) the size of your window PLUS a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Pin on the inside of the wall, covering the window, and sew. 
8. I chose to put basic flowers on the front of the house. I drew  2 basic flower shapes on a cereal box, then cut them out and used them as a pattern to cut flowers out of bright coloured scrap fabric. Then, I traced the same amount of flowers onto the iron-on adhesive, cut them out, and followed the directions on the adhesive package in order to put them on the house. I used the strongest adhesive that Fabricland sold, since I didn’t want to sew around the flowers.
9. To assemble, place your roof on the table. Put something heavy on top so your house won’t slide off as you’re pinning. Place the front of your house, wrong side (what will be the inside) facing up, on top of the roof, lining up the edges of fabric along the roof line. Pin. Flip the wall down so that it’s hanging from the table. Make sure that you’re happy with the line along the floor. Repeat the process with the back wall of the house (if your roof and back wall are not the same long piece of fabric). Sew the roof line on the front and back along your seam allowance.
Repeat the process with the two side walls, making sure that the bottoms of your walls are all about the same distance off of the floor. 

Once all walls are sewed on to the roof, flip the house inside out and place over the table again. Pin the side seams of the walls together, from table all the way down to the floor. Sew all four pinned seams. Cut some of the excess fabric off of the tops of the seams where the walls and roof all meet together, then press all of the seams with a hot iron. 
10. Trim all threads.
11. You’re done! 

See – I told you that it was a long process – but if you’ve done a little bit of sewing before (I’m not talking clothes-making, just straight lines, zigzagging, etc), it’s straight forward. Just give yourself some time – I ended up staying up until 2am the two nights before we did our gift exchange in order to get it done in time! Also, I watched Dawson’s Creek on Netflix while I was doing it, so it’s possible that that slowed the process down a little bit….

I’ll be honest. I would LOVE to buy the kids one of those large, amazing, plastic or wooden playhouses. I loved playing in them when I was little & visiting other kids’ houses. However, we just don’t have the space for one. This fort hardly takes up any room when it’s not in use, and while yes, it does get all wrinkly (see photos above) because there’s really no great way to fold it up wrinkle free, the kids love it and they couldn’t care less that if it’s wrinkled!
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Jenn vanOosten

I live in Hamilton, Ontario, and love my city. I'm a Netflixer, choral music geek, bookworm, inventor of recipes (I take Artistic Licence on EVERYTHING that I make), wife of one, mother of two, and owner of a neurotic Schnauzer. I respect people who respect others. I love good food that's well done, but my favourite lunch is KD & hotdogs. With ketchup. I'm addicted to Clearance Shopping. I will ALWAYS get the product that I want at the price that I want, eventually.

6 comments

  1. Look pretty easy..One could pick up some sheets at a thrift store.

    Coffee is on

  2. What a darling playhouse/fort and a great use of fabric scraps, too. Great job! — Jan

    • Thanks, Jan! It’s a constant battle in this house to minimize the amount of ‘stuff’ in here, so I figured that I might as well use ‘stuff’ that’s already in the house so that I wouldn’t have to bring more in and further contribute to the clutter! :)

  3. For kids, a fort like this seems the most wonderful thing they have seen yet. Nice post.

  4. This has been on my list forever. you did a great job!

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