Make Your Own Play Barn

We’re learning about farming, gardening and where our food comes from this spring.  Since both of my kiddos are young and learn primarily from play still, we created this DIY  play barn from cardboard, Popsicle sticks, and construction paper.

If you’d like to make your own, here’s what you’ll need:

·         Two small cardboard boxes (one for the main structure of the barn, and the other to cut into pieces for the roof)
·         Several sheets of scrap paper
·         Black construction paper
·         Lots of popsicle sticks
·         White glue
·         Hot glue and glue gun
·         Garden clippers (for cutting the popsicle sticks)
·         craft knife
·         Scissors

Step #1: Create the Windows and Doors

Tape the box into its full form, so none of ends are open.
On one side of long sides of the box, draw a rectangle about one inch inside the perimeter of the edge of the box to be the opening flap. Draw windows on this side if desired.

Draw the doors and windows on the other sides of the box as desired. 

It’s not a bad idea to check your dimensions at this point to see if they will easily accommodate a discreet number of Popsicle sticks (like 2 or 3 sticks wide between the door and the edge of the barn rather than 2.5 or 3.5 sticks wide). If you are a little bit off, it’s easy to leave small gaps between sticks to make up for it. 

When you’re satisfied with your doors and windows, make the needed cuts.

Cut along the solid lines, the dotted lines for the barn front doors will be folded. To make it easier to open them, score along the dotted line on opposite side of the box.

Cut out roughly 1/3 of the top of the box to allow access to the hay loft. 

Chobie helped by drawing in wires with a marker during the cutting phase.

Step #2:  Cut the Barn Roof

Using the second cardboard box, cut the shape for the ends of the barn walls that will support the roof. These wall extensions will be attached to the short sides of the barn structure, so be sure to measure the short ends to use as a base for the wall extensions.  I did a gabled roof, but  you can use triangles instead.

Cut 2-4 rectangles (depending on the style of roof you choose) that match the widths of your wall extension patterns. Attach wall extensions to the walls of the barn. 

Cut two small squares the height of a single Popsicle stick for the stall walls for inside the barn.

So all together you should have these cut pieces:

Step #3: Cut the Popsicle Sticks

Using the garden clippers, cut the rounded end off of the popsicle sticks and then cut them to the needed lengths. 

We did the cutting and the gluing at the same time so I was able to custom cut the sticks to the needed lengths as we went.


Step #4: Glue the Sticks in Place

This is probably the longest step. Like I said, we actually did cutting and gluing at the same time.


Step #5: Building the Roof

Line your roof pieces up in order so they match the dimensions of the wall extensions. 

Cut six strips from your scrap paper to use to glue the pieces of the roof together. Attach one strip to each side on both surfaces of the roof pieces, leaving a small gap between the pieces of the roof. This is done so that the roof with be flexible enough to bend into the desired shape when attaching it to the walls.

Cut out several scalloped strips from the black construction paper to make the roof shingles. Don’t glue them on yet.

Step #6: Attach Roof

Using a similar method to what you already did to attach the roof pieces together, attach small strips of paper on the wrong side of the barn roof, folded at 90 degree angles.

Using hot glue, so it dries quickly, attach the folded strips to the inside of the wall extensions. Leave the strips off the last section of the gabled roof (or half of the roof for other styles) so that the top flap can be opened during play.
Now, glue the shingles onto the roof.

Step #7: Trim the Windows and Doors

Cut popsicle sticks to the desired sizes to make frames for the windows and doors. 

If you want, make a ladder to the hay loft, or divider walls for the barn stalls.

Use small strips of cardboard to make interior walls. Attach the strips of paper (that will be used to attach the walls to floor of the barn) before you put the Popsicle sticks on. 

Step #8: Paint as Desired

We chose a classic red and I made some hex signs from construction paper.

I also made these little felted sheep to go with the barn. It was a pleasant surprise to find out that craft felt and real wool do, in fact felt together.  

 We worked on this project over the course of two weeks. So both kiddos were really happy to see it finished.

Are you going to make a toy barn? I would love to see it! 

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  1. This turned out great! Thanks for sharing at #Pintorials :)

  2. This is a fantastic diy barn! I bet all your little animal guests would love to play in there! #Pintorials

  3. This is a brilliant idea! Love the felt sheep too! Thanks for linking up with Tuesday Tutorials #pintorials

  4. This is so cute and would be a great activity for my granddaughter.


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