HealthyHandyman is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

4 Free DIY Pirate Ship Playhouse Plans

Last Updated:

Galeon Figure

Any kid would love to have a playground in their backyard. Buying one can be prohibitively expensive, and for some that’s where the idea stops. But you can wow your family, spend a fraction of the money, AND get the kids out of the house this summer by building your own playhouse.

Pirates never go out of style. Transform your backyard into a high seas adventure! Because building a pirate ship playhouse for your own crew of adorable scallywags has never been easier.

In this article we’ve collected 4 free DIY pirate ship playhouse plans for various skill levels. You will also find helpful tips, breakdowns of materials & tools, and safety information. Everything you need to get started right.

Parent, or superhero? Let your kids be the judge.

HONEY JOY Pirate Boat Wood Sandbox

Image credit: HONEY JOY Pirate Boat Wood Sandbox, Amazon

Before You Start

Read the Plan

Before you swing that hammer: read over your entire plan! It may sound like a no-brainer, but you can save yourself costly mistakes by reading thoroughly and compiling all the materials before you begin.

Locate a solid foundation

If your playhouse will be directly on the ground make sure the building surface is flat, level, and slightly larger than the structure. For something off the ground 4x4s, concrete blocks, or a separate deck make secure foundations. Stiffen up a platform and prevent wobble by cross bracing it with wood or cable.

Buy lumber in bulk

Most hardware stores offer bulk discounts and delivery for lumber purchases. If available, we recommend taking advantage of those services to save time, money, and hassle. Get all your project supplies – paint and hardware included – in one easy order!

Wood pile

Image credit: Wood pile by antmoreton, Pixabay

1. Small and Simple DIY Playhouse Plans from Paul’s Playhouses

Small and Simple DIY Playhouse Plans from Paul’s Playhouses

Paul’s Pirate Ship is the smallest playhouse on our list. What is lacks in size, however, it makes up for with thoughtful design and straightforward instruction. With access to the right tools, even novices will feel comfortable tackling this project.

All of Paul’s recommend pressure treated wood for all exterior structures, and GRK brand screws. GRK screws are self-tapping (no need to pre-drill a hole) with countersinking heads that enable you to drill screws in flush to the wood or just beneath it without needing to buy a special countersink drill bit.

This playhouse is about 4.25 feet tall and 8 feet long. It is ideal for smaller children, with its portholes for peeking and a crawl through entry. But folks with a grander plan shouldn’t discount it – the size and detailed prow shape would also make it a great addition to a larger structure too.

Materials Needed Lumbers Needed Tools Needed
GRK 3” R4 multipurpose screws (8) 5/4” x 6” x 8’ Pencil
GRK 2.5” R4 multipurpose screws (2) 5/4” x 6” x 10’ Hammer
GRK 4” structural screws (optional) (6) 2” x 4” x 8’ Hand saw
  (4) 2” x 4” x 10’ Tape Measure
  (1) 2” x 4” x 12’ Speed Square
  (1) 2” x 6” x 8’ Drill & impact driver
  (4) 2” x 6” x 10’ Circular saw
  (3) 4’ x 8’ x ⅝” Sander
  Pressure treated plywood Jig saw (optional)
    Miter saw (optional)
    Chalk line (optional)
    Reciprocating saw (optional)

2. Wide Deck DIY Pirate Ship Playhouse Plans from Instructables

Wide Deck DIY Pirate Ship Playhouse Plans from Instructables

Folks interested in building a larger, closer to actual ship-shape playhouse should take a look at these pirate ship playhouse plans on Instructables. This one has a wide deck to accommodate your entire crew.

This project is not for beginners. The instructions just aren’t specific enough for us to recommend it to anyone below an advanced skill level. However, if you have a woodshop, intermediate skill, and ambition you could blow your kids’ minds.

A couple strong points of this build are the clear diagrams and explanations of trials and errors. For example: why his initial idea for a mast failed, and what he did about it. A skilled craftsperson may find it worthwhile to hear someone else’s thought process and solutions.

Materials Needed Lumbers Needed Tools Needed
Cement (6) 2’ x 4’ x 6’ Drill
Paving stones (2) 2’ x 4’ x 5’ Table saw
Screws (2) 2’ x 4’ x 3’ Router
Plywood (2) 2’ x 4’ x 3’6” Shovel
  (2) 2’ x 4’ x 3’9” Pencil
  (2) 2’ x 4’ x 4’ Posts
  (2) 2’ x 4’ x 4’6” Rope
  (3) 2’ x 6’ x 6′ Ship wheel
  (2) 2’ x 6’ x 3’ Canvas drop cloth
  (5) 2’ x 4’ x 3’ Wood glue
  6” x 6’ x ¾” fence boards for the hull  

3. Huge and Elaborate DIY Pirate Ship Playhouse Plans from Instructables

Huge and Elaborate DIY Pirate Ship Playhouse Plans from Instructables

If you’re looking for a playhouse with significant challenge but huge payoff, check out these elaborate pirate themed jungle gym plans on Instructables.

If you’re new to building structures, don’t even think about trying to use these plans. No diagrams or cut lists are included, and many of the tools & hardware are industrial strength. Advanced craftspeople should also note that it took months of work and around $3000 to complete

Nevertheless, we do think it worthwhile to peruse this design for many fun and useful ideas. Here are just a few: Culled lumber lots can save you up to 75% on wood. Use windows from an outlet as secret entrances. Consider thick rubber mats to catch any reckless slide users!

Materials Needed Lumbers Needed Tools Needed
Screws Unspecified, but a lot Impact driver
Slide   Chop saw
Spiral slide   Drill
Swings   Grinder
Rubber impact mats    
Paint    
Expanding foam    
2 rectangular Anderson windows    
3 square Anderson windows    
300’ of rope    

4. Swing Set DIY Pirate Ship Playhouse Plans from Instructables

Swing Set DIY Pirate Ship Playhouse Plans from Instructables

This pirate ship playground on Instructables is roughly the size of a normal swing set… but way cooler. The builder of these plans gets full points for style and creativity. They took the basic idea of a swing set with a ship on top and added special touches, like a gangplank & old wagon wheel for steering.

We only recommend these plans to more advanced craftspeople, due to the from-scratch build of this playset. Materials and hardware are talked about in a general sense, and there are no explanations of technique or diagrams to work from.

However, even novices may appreciate the details that make this playset so awesome: A vintage wagon wheel turned into a ship’s steering. Diluted paint for a sunbeaten, rugged look. Cosmetic boards are whimsically offset. And real driftwood added on for a seafaring feel.

Materials Needed Lumbers Needed Tools Needed
Quikrete 4’ x 4’ boards Pencil
6” lag screws 4’ x 8’ boards Drill
Deck screws 4’ x 10’ boards Shovel
Fence staples 2’ x 12’ boards Level
Metal L bracket plates 2’ x 4’ x 8’ posts Jig saw
Swing Fence pickets Router
Paint Fence posts Paint sprayer
8’ fence post Pre-cut steps Sander
5” diameter pipe    
Canvas drop cloth    
Rope    

Final Thoughts on the 4 Free DIY Pirate Ship Playhouse Plans

There’s no better way to enjoy spring and summer than playing outside with your kids. And since pre-made playgrounds can be expensive, why not build one yourself? So, bring on the next family project and prepare to set sail on pirate ship playhouse of your dreams!

Considering incorporating a tree into your playhouse? Check out somewhere like TreehouseSupplies.com for quality kits, zip lines, and more. You should always get professional opinions & equipment when thinking about doing your own rigging – especially from trees.

For an in depth look at playhouse safety, we recommend the Outdoor Home Playground Safety Handbook from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Have fun, and happy sailing!


Featured image credit: Galeon figure by Gellinger, Pixabay

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!