FREE PLANS:  Build a Notched Board Playhouse!


FREE PLANS: Build a Notched Board Playhouse!

Notched boards fit together like giant Lincoln Logs

By Dave Van Ess

Playhouses are a hassle to move and are often resigned to sit in one place for years. This portable playhouse can be reassembled with ease and can travel to wherever a child’s imagination takes it. You just cut notches in strips of wood and let the kids design and build their own playhouse, Lincoln Log-style.

Making the Playhouse

I made my first playhouse from cedar fence slats. If I made a second one, I’d have the home center rip 1/2″ (1.3cm)-thick exterior-grade plywood into 5-1/2” (14cm)-wide strips.

Regardless of the type of wood, make the notches the same width as the thickness of the wood (it can vary slightly). Use the cutting diagram to mark and cut the boards to size. Cut the notches with a scroll saw and sand them until the boards fit into them easily. Sand everything smooth. Then, start assembling, using the photos as a guide.

I’ve included measured drawings for all of the slats I used for my playhouse, but I’ve also included a number of other slats to inspire different designs. The half slats (with notches on only one side) can be used to make lean-tos or other add-ons to the main structure. Just like you spent hours coming up with different configurations for Lincoln Logs, the children in your life will spend hours building different playhouses.

After you create your own playhouse, post photos (including the number of each type of piece used) on our forum,


  • Exterior plywood, 1/2″ (1.3cm) thick: 4 each 4′ x 8′ (1.2m x 2.4m) cut into 5-1/2″ x 6′ (14cm x 1.8m) strips OR cedar fence slats, 1/2″ (1.3cm) thick: 44 each 5-1/2″ x 6′ (14cm x 1.8m)
  • Sandpaper


  • Scroll saw blades: #5 reverse-tooth
  • Sander


Click here to download the measured drawings, assembly guide, piece count, and cutting diagrams.

About the Author

Dave Van Ess of Chandler, Ariz., is a retired engineer who has been woodworking for nearly 40 years. He has introduced more than 200 Cub Scout leaders to the joys of scroll sawing.




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