A Playhouse Under the Table

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DIY Kids Playhouse under the Table

As some of you know, I recently sorted through my piles of fabric and in-progress sewing projects and counted a whopping 26 unfinished projects! So of course I had to start a brand new one—this lovely (if I do say so myself) playhouse for Maia and Daphne. At least I used fabric from my existing stash.

We're always draping sheets and tablecloths over tables and chairs to create forts and playhouses, so I thought I'd create a semi-permanent indoor playhouse for the kids to use this winter. I used a dining table as the frame and sewed the playhouse to fit. I completely winged it, but I think it turned out well. I know I've seen this idea before—probably in a Pottery Barn Kids catalog for $200—so it's not new. But it's new to us and Maia and Daphne love it.

Here are a few pics:

DIY Kids Playhouse under the Table

The door is just a slit in the fabric, edged with quilt binding, with ties to hold it open, tent style.

DIY Kids Playhouse under the Table

I meant to edge the window panes with bias tape, but didn't have enough on hand, so just used a zigzag stitch for now and will (maybe) edge it later. As you can see, the window will probably get pulled out of shape quickly.

DIY Kids Playhouse under the Table

Here's a view of the playhouse with the "door" closed.

DIY Kids Playhouse under the Table

Here's a view of three of the five different fabrics I used for the playhouse.

DIY Kids Playhouse under the Table

It's quite roomy inside. Here, I'm reading "Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots" with Maia. Thanks for the book recommendation, by the way!

DIY Kids Playhouse under the Table

View from inside (we've moved it around a bit to find the best place for a big piece of furniture like this).

DIY Kids Playhouse under the Table

So far we like it in this corner, under our in-progress stained glass window, made by glueing colored tissue paper on the window (inspired by Lindsey and company's wonderful window on Filth Wizardry). It's not quite as spontaneous as a fort made of sheet-draped chairs, but a little more permanent and (from my point of view) attractive.

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  1. says

    What a great idea! My kids would love this. And it would be easier to construct and put away than having to fold all the sheets again each time.

  2. says

    To coin a phrase oft used by my 8 and 11 year old boys: “This ROCKS!” However, you can rest assured that they will still from time to time take all movable sheets, blankets, pillows, sofa cushions in the house and use them to construct forts, launching pads, etc., although maybe not quite as much as two boys. At a recent sleep-over event, they collected enough pillows and cushions to fill an entire doorway opening, then took turns crashing through it!

  3. says

    I have a question about the little wagon in the background, the dark red one. Can a toddler push that without it flipping over (most of the time?)? I just saw one in a consignment store and thought about getting it for my nephew when he visits my house …

  4. says

    Adorable!! I saw the canvas one in Family Fun this month and thought oh I can’t wait to make one — then my lazy self said — that’s a lot of work, I’ll just print it out and add it to the someday fun craft inspiration binder…
    Love yours with the sweet fabrics!! Such a good mama you are. : )
    xoxo MaryLea

  5. says

    Love this! We are a homeschooling family of 5 young sons that are preparing to move to a 1300 sq ft. house…thinking of creative ways to use our limited space throughout the winter. I’m thinking this will be a MUST DO!

  6. says

    Yes, the little radio flyer wagon is built for toddlers. It’s actually one of the few things we still have from when Maia was a baby. She used to walk it up and down the hallway over and over. It’s very sturdy. Daphne isn’t so into it yet, but she seems to be on a later walking schedule.

  7. says

    oh I LOVE this. I too am always building cubby houses for my little boys. This is a winner- the perfect christmas gift! I think I might make one for my nephews too!!

  8. penny says

    Hi Jean
    I made my way here from shivaya naturals. I am so glad to be here. My baby is about to turn one and my older daughter is also 5. They have just discovered the love of a blanket thrown over the table and crawling in and out of it and playing peek a boo…..it goes on forever with so much giggling. Thankyou for sharing your playhouse and I think this is going on my project list :)

  9. edarragh@gmail.com says

    Wow – amazing! I would really love to make one of these for my kids (maybe for Christmas?). The sheets aren’t quite cutting it at our house. Is it pretty much a ‘fitted’, long-sided tablecloth?

  10. amy says

    My mom made one of these for us when I was a kid for a card table. She sewed clear vinyl over the windows, and if I remember correctly a boatload of red pom-pom fringe anywhere she could find a spot to justify it. :)

  11. says

    Oh well done you. I’m so impressed that you still manage to get so much sewing and art done with two little ones. I have been planning to make a table play house like this for my boys for sooo long now but still haven’t got around to it. Perhaps this is the inspiration I need. Thanks for sharing.

  12. says

    I love everything about this charming corner from the window to the table house to the happy birthday banner…all so cheery, fun, and happy…wish we lived close enough to come over and play!

  13. says

    Hi, Jean! Love the playhouse! I think I saw something like this on Ohdeedoe once–if I remember correctly, that post linked to one that gave directions (though they probably aren’t needed). Just thought that might be helpful if anyone asks . . . the ohdeedoe site is pretty searchable.
    Also, I meant to comment on your princess post but never did. Have you ever read The Paper Princess books? It’s more about creating a little friend and making paperdolls than being a princess but it’s a beautiful book (detailed mixed media/collage illustrations that you could pore over for days)and has like one or two follow-up books to it. It’s one my daughter and I both really like and it makes us want to get out the paper and pencils afterwards!

  14. says

    A friend’s grandma made him one sized for a square card table. He could set it up anywhere there was a card table, including his grandparents’ house when he stayed the night!

  15. Erin says

    i love this. But THANKS for the book recommendation! My daughter always says “princesses don’t weAr jeans” or do this or that and I always tell her that being a princess is on the inside. I totally need to get that book!

  16. Anne says

    There is a great shop on etsy that sells a great pattern for table playhouses with all sorts of cute appliques I bought her pattern made one and it turned out so cute missprettypretty.etsy.com It’s funny because I looked for table playhouses online like this about 3 years ago for my first grandchild and couldn’t find any then this lady came along and now there are tons of them everywhere I think she started the trend again. You can buy her playhouses or make one yourself. It’s not hard but her pattern teaches how to make larger playhouses, too and has all sorts of cute patterns for dogs, fruit, kitties, flower, butterflies, etc. Totally worth it. Fun project takes a long time but so cute when finished my grandkids play with theirs all the time and has even helped my grandson and granddaughter actually play togehter more. They love the removable stuff.

  17. says

    Hello! Found this on pinterest… had to showcase it on my blog..but linking it back to you. Thanks for the beautiful idea to use with my daughter! :o)

  18. says

    Is it sad that I still remember loving to build forts as a child? This is SUCH a great idea!! My daughter is only 16 months old… but I think I should do this now, so I have it ready… for us!! :)