How to build a pirate ship style playhouse

How to build a pirate ship style playhouse

While children are good at imaginative play, it never hurts to bolster their imagination through creating a play area that tends to influence their creativity. A pirate styled playhouse is a perfect example.


Starting with a basic playhouse design and make a list of items you want to contribute to give the playhouse a pirate theme.

  • Sail
  • Pirate Flag
  • Anchor
  • Fog
  • Plank
  • Wheel
  • Eye patches
  • Treasure Chest
  • Treasure

Additional Supplies

  • Weather resistant paint
  • Paint sealer
  • Plywood
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Jigsaw

Clearly, some of the items listed will not actually be part of the playhouse itself, such as the eye patches, but no authentic pirate ship should be without! Other items, such as the anchor, can be painted directly on the ships fade, cut out separately from wood, or made from other materials. A pillow’ anchor made from fabric would be a great addition to otherwise wooden creation.

The sail could also be an extra embellishment made from fabric. In addition, no pirate ship would be authentic without a treasure chest filled with treasure. Using your imagination, fill a chest fashioned from wood or even cardboard with jewels’. Old dress up jewelry, dollar store finds, some old gold cloth salvaged from an old pair of curtains, along with a few old billowy white shirts purchased at a second-hand store will add hours and hours of creative fun.

Making it happen:

Next, decide what materials you will use to build your pirate ship. A facade front on an established or new playhouse is an easy way to tackle the task. Depending upon the size of the current or new construction, draw out a ship on large sheets of paper first, making a pattern that you can trace later onto plywood or pressed board. If the playhouse is two stories high, take this into consideration when planning the design and if possible, make a rope ladder to the second story.

Pre-draw any items that will be painted directly onto the ships fade, and also pencil in any items that will be three-dimensional additions, such as a wheel for steering that actually spins. By doing this, even the most un-artistic person will be able to create a reasonable ship. Thinking in the theme of paint-by-number, you will be able to go back and fill in with paint the parts of your ship. Items, such as the wheel, should also be traced out so all cutting can be done at the same time.

Once your pattern is complete, lay it out onto your boards, trace and cut out, along with accessories such as the wheel, with a jigsaw. Paint and seal all pieces.

No Cut Version:

Not the wood cutting type? Don’t despair! Following the same themes discussed, just paint directly onto an existing playhouse the ideas that we used on the three-dimensional version. Your children will not care if the playhouse is not actually shaped like a ship.

Final Words:

Whatever option you choose, include a few pirate styled phrases in your design, by painting them directly on the ship. A few to get you stared and in the pirate mood:

  • Shiver Me Timbers
  • Ahoy Matey
  • AYE AYE!
  • Landlubbers step carefully.
  • Do you want to walk the plank me Matey?

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