Tree House for Kids: 8 Free Plans and Essential Building Tips

Despite all the video games, gadgets and different devices, even today kids are still fascinated by tree houses.

Having their own space outside the house to do whatever they want has an almost magical appeal to children.

It doesn’t matter if it’s small or big, fancy or simple, for boys or girls; it’s definitely a space to have fun and spend the whole day, or even night, creating adventures and fantasy worlds.

We’ve collected detailed diagrams, photos, step-by-step building instructions, and tips, that will help you build a safe and sturdy house that your kids or grandkids can enjoy for years to come.

This can also be a great opportunity to spend some time with your kids and build the tree house together. The fun starts with building it and continues as you can use it as a playhouse.

As the main occupant, the kids will certainly want to help you pick the best model for their needs (and fantasies), along with assisting with the planning and customization.

Depending on the age of the children, they can also take part in the actual building process.

Even if you don’t have any tree on your property, you can still build an awesome playhouse on stilts. Technically it’s not a tree house, but we’ve added some examples below anyway.

If you are just starting with woodworking, maybe you should first have a look at our blog: Woodworking for Beginners: 4 Tips to Craft Like a Pro. With the basics under your belt, you’ll be good to go 😉

Keep on reading and let’s get busy!

Free Tree Houses Plans

  • 1. Deluxe Tree House Plan

Deluxe Tree House Plan

Image courtesy of The Wood Plans Shop

Tree or no tree, you will be able to build this free-standing tree house.

The Wood Plans Shop brings you a materials and shopping list, photos, diagrams, and plenty of step-by-step building instructions.

Inside this tree house, there are bunk beds and plenty of room to play out adventures. Outside, there is a pulley system for treasures and a ladder.

If you look closer, you will see that the tree house above includes a lookout tower!

2. Tree Playhouse

Made with Happy Tree House

Image courtesy of Made with Happy

Alli from Made with Happy shares a complete tutorial about how to build a high-quality, low-budget playhouse.

In a 4-series post, she walks you through how to construct the base and frame, floor, roof, walls, and window.

Cute little thing!

3. Modern Magic

Modern Magic Dornob Tree House

Image courtesy of Dornob

If you’re looking for an ultra-modern tree house plan, this free plan from Dornob will help you build a modern tree house with an interesting shape and different windows ranging from tiny to huge.

Photos, written instructions, and diagrams will help you build this unique tree house.

In our humble opinion, this one is actually one of the coolest projects on our list.

If you stretch your imagination a tiny bit and paint the house gray, you are going to have an AT-AT in your backyard!

4. A-Frame Tree House

A-Frame Outdoor Life Tree House

Image courtesy of Outdoor Life

Outdoor Life shares a free plan to build an A-frame tree house with a wrap-around deck and ladder. Constructed from 4×8 plywood sheets, this tree house can be built in a tree or as a free-standing structure.

They have detailed diagrams, instructions, and a materials list.

5. World-Class Backyard Tree House

Popular Mechanics World-Class Backyard House

Image courtesy of Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics presents a tutorial on how to build a tree house in your backyard.

Although they don’t provide a clear list of the materials or give very structured how-to explanations, you can walk with Logan Ward as he explains his experience building his tree house.

6. Tree House in 16 steps

Instructables Makendo Tree House

Image courtesy of Makendo / Instructables

Makendo is an Instructables member providing 70 different projects. One of them is a tree house that he has built twice due to the tree outgrowing his first build.

This project has lots of pictures and a detailed step-by-step guide.

Pretty neat! Thanks, Makendo.

7. House with a porch

Instructables House

Image courtesy of Bloomie972 / Instructables

Another cool Instructables project is brought to you by Bloomie972.

Again, you’ll find tons of photos and detailed information about this project.

Enjoy!

8. Simple Treehouse

Yea Dads Hom House

Image courtesy of Yea Dads Home

Mark from Yea Dad’s Home, made a very simple tree house that you can enjoy with a hammock or a tent.

He shares a list of materials and lots of photos of the different phases of construction.

Tree Houses Building Tips

  • Safety First

As you are going to be working with wood and handle different types of tools, be prepared and be safe.

Safety Glasses can protect your eyes from flying debris, dirt, dust, or spills. Choose one that also is fog and scratch resistant, so they can keep up with you for a long time.

If you are going to be working under the sun, there are also Safety Sunglasses models available.

Don’t forget about your hands. Look for gloves that offer a good grip, high level of cut resistance and don’t compromise your dexterity.

NB: Do not use gloves when operating power tools. If a moving part of a power tool touches the glove it can pull the gloved hand towards the machine.

Loud noises, such as the ones produced by power tools, have been proven to cause hearing loss. So keep in mind to use some ear plugs as well.

Finally, besides offering protection, a work apron is definitely a handy piece of equipment. If you are more of a tool pouch kind of man, or woman, it also keeps all the tools you need for the job well organized.

The Houses Building Tips

Family Handyman shares 8 bits of advice and tips for building, attaching and furnishing your home in the treetops.

The tips range from attachment techniques and site choice to assembly techniques, design ideas and more.

Types of Woods for a Tree House

Choose a tree that is sturdy enough to support a tree house.  Remember to check if it’s mature, healthy and strong.

Deciduous trees tend to have denser wood, which can support heavier loads, such as:

  • Oak
  • Beech
  • Maple
  • Ash
  • Hemlock
  • Cedar
  • Douglas-fir

When you’re going through the plans for the tree house, keep in mind that trees grow and move.

It is important that your structure allows room for this tree expansion without jeopardizing the stability of the tree house.

Building Permit

Despite the fact that is a more boring subject, checking if a permit is needed or not may save you from a lot of headaches.

Sometimes the authorities force tree house owners to tear down their beloved custom tree houses and pay fines.

Tree Top Builders give you a list of pros and cons to getting a building permit.

And how about you? Have you ever been thinking about building a tree house for your kids? Share your dream tree house with us in the comments below.