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:

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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.

Note Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and place a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the sales price and will send you virtual hugs.

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51 Comments

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    September 16, 2010 at 10:21 am

    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.

  • Reply
    Heather
    September 16, 2010 at 10:42 am

    This is truly amazing! What a great project for the mama, and a wonderful play idea for the little ones. Just wonderful.

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle (ART IN HAND)
    September 16, 2010 at 11:10 am

    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!

  • Reply
    sherri/the claw
    September 16, 2010 at 11:19 am

    This is a fantastic idea. I LOVE IT! I also love how quick and easy it would be to put away, and doesn’t seem too hard (or was it?) to make.

  • Reply
    The Orchard
    September 16, 2010 at 11:21 am

    That is fabulous! We must make one of those for winter as well! Love it!
    Tricia

  • Reply
    The Orchard
    September 16, 2010 at 11:22 am

    P.S. I like the new photo of you!

  • Reply
    marylea @ Pink and Green Mama
    September 16, 2010 at 11:48 am

    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

  • Reply
    kimberly
    September 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    butterfly wishes and wonderland dreams
    September 16, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    oh my i LOVE it wish i had a sewing machine now my girls would LOVE this!!!! maybe its time to ask gammo to make one for christmas :)

  • Reply
    Christine
    September 16, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Brilliant! Wonderful idea.

  • Reply
    Scented Sweetpeas
    September 16, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Fantastic, I want to live in that cute little house!

  • Reply
    Dawn Lange
    September 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    That’s really pretty. Makes me a bit nostalgic for the playhouse we made a couple of years ago.

  • Reply
    MaryAnn F. Kohl, art author
    September 16, 2010 at 11:45 am

    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 …

  • Reply
    Jo
    September 16, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    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!!

  • Reply
    Jessica
    September 16, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    That looks so great! I wonder if I could do it.. hrmm
    Happy birthday to Daphne. :) x

  • Reply
    penny
    September 16, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    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 :)

  • Reply
    Dawn Lange
    September 16, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Yeah! Here is a photo of it if the link works.
    http://www.facebook.com/people/Dawn-Lange/1080961589#!/photo.php?pid=628936&id=1080961589&ref=fbx_album

  • Reply
    rae
    September 16, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    i love it!! and we are giving sienna’s bedroom windows the same treatment currently! ;)

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    September 16, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Yes, I know! :) Sheets, blankets, and pillows are still more interesting than a pre-constructed fort.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    September 16, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Nope, wasn’t hard to make!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    September 16, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Thanks. :)

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    September 16, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    September 16, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    I’ll have to check out FamilyFun. I need to re-subscribe one of these days!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    September 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Oh yeah! That huge cardboard castle?

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    September 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Thanks for all the comments everyone!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    September 16, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    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?

  • Reply
    amy
    September 17, 2010 at 12:51 am

    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. :)

  • Reply
    Aussie Mum
    September 17, 2010 at 1:57 am

    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.

  • Reply
    Lucia
    September 17, 2010 at 5:51 am

    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!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    September 17, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Yes, it’s pretty much a fitted tablecloth, with windows and doors cut out. It fits quite snugly, but is easy to remove.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    September 17, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Wish I could see a pic! Red pom-pom fringe sounds awesome.

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    September 17, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I wish you did, too!

  • Reply
    CatieP
    September 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    What a marvelous idea!

  • Reply
    Jenna
    September 19, 2010 at 7:43 am

    I really love your blog, I came here via Shivaya Naturals. I can’t wait to make this for my almost one year old!

  • Reply
    Booandbubbles.wordpress.com
    September 19, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Ooooh, this is an absolutely fabulous idea!

  • Reply
    amber
    September 24, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    amber
    September 24, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    ooops, sorry–didn’t mention the author/illustrator. it’s eliza kleven. :)

  • Reply
    Lacey
    January 15, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I LOVE this!

  • Reply
    Nikki
    January 28, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    that is sooooo fantastic!!! what a wonderful idea :)

  • Reply
    Kathleen Newton
    February 1, 2011 at 11:08 am

    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!

  • Reply
    Gherkin
    February 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    This is fab!

  • Reply
    Erin
    February 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    jefra
    March 17, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    you make this look so easy! it’s darling.

  • Reply
    Jackie
    March 24, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Wow! What a great idea! I only wish I had the sewing skills to create it.

  • Reply
    Anne
    April 15, 2011 at 10:12 am

    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.

  • Reply
    Melissa
    May 22, 2011 at 9:14 am

    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)

  • Reply
    Jess
    June 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Hey, I made one of these too – http://needledown.com/2011/06/week-4-table-fort-success/
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply
    Hillary
    October 19, 2011 at 8:32 am

    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!! :)

  • Reply
    lindsey
    January 5, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Very fun. We have that book too!

  • Reply
    AJ
    March 23, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Thank you for the inspiration. Here’s my quick and dirty effort: http://pinterest.com/pin/354165958166371115/

  • Reply
    AJ
    March 23, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    By the way, that needledown URL in the comments above is a porn site.

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