This weekend we set out to build a sand box for the kids, in a quest to make the back yard more of a destination for fun through the summer months. Quickly realizing that we were going to build something, the kids threw around ideas for an alternative to a sandbox, and settled on a lemonade stand or a performing stage.
Laying in bed, we sketched out a plan, the project seemed easy enough. I mean, we’ve never built anything before – but how hard could it be, right? Olivia added a rope-raised curtain and spotlights to my design, and we made the trip to Home Depot to buy screws and brackets (it’s also where we found those adorable teal kids chairs, perfect for the audience).
How We Made It
12ish 2×4″ boards
4-5 2×10″ boards
metal corner brackets
100-120 2.5″ long screws
1 string of solar lights
1 8′ curtain rod & curtains
tools: measuring tape, drill, saw, staple gun, screws
Start with the base. We framed a platform for the bottom of the stage, that was 8′ long, and 4′ wide. Enough room for the two kids to perform on the stage. After simple framing the bottom, we covered it with 2×10 boards, because that’s what we had on hand.
Build the sides. We made the stage 5′ tall because we didn’t want a structure that was going to be higher than the fence, but we wanted something tall enough for the kids to perform in. We used one 2×4 on the front, and one on the back corner, attaching them at the top. We repeated this process on the other side, then connecting them in the front and back. For a bit of added support, we used an extra piece in the center.
This was the first time we’ve built anything together – and there were glares, there were tears and there was even a temper tantrum in Home Depot. There were disagreements on how to do things, there was advice from Google, and from helpful neighbours, and a nap break – it was kind of awful, at first. Then, the structure was coming together. We could see the light at the end of the tunnel, divorce was off the stage. With the exception of a few supports to add to the side in the future – we were finished, the backyard play stage was ready for its first performance – with the addition of a few accessories.
Add a Curtain Rod. I had plans to initially put the curtain rod behind the frame on the top, and add a rope to allow the kids to pull it up, from the back, but we put that idea on the back burner and went for traditional curtains that were lightweight, and made from a durable fabric that could be thrown into the washing machine. We found an inexpensive (under ten bucks) curtain rod and attached it to the front, completing the stage appearance.
Finishing Touches. On a quick trip to Homesense, I found everything that I was looking for. The perfect striped curtains (I’ll likely stop by and get another set, for additional coverage in the front and to hide those ‘behind the scenes’ performances until they’re ready) and a set of solar string lights that we attached to the front of the play stage, using a staple gun.
The first day we had attempted anything to build anything – and on a whim, and we survived. Later, we sat around a fire in the backyard after the kids went to bed, in awe (I was probably more in awe, I think Jamie was watching Hockey) of the fact that we built that.