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School Playset DIY

My daughter says she wants to be a teacher when she grows up and she loves to play school, so I created a playset to help spark her imagination.

 photo DIYschoolplaysettutorialbyRobynWellingRobynHTV_zps77835cb5.png

It was simple to make, is easily customized, and it hangs on the wall so it doesn't take up any of the valuable floor space in her room - nice. You can make one yourself, and in no time your little teacher will be ready for class.

Note: this was originally published on my old craft blog, apparently before I learned how to properly operate a camera. Please excuse the craptacularly low quality of some of these photos. I would take new pics, but I built this two years ago and let's just say that my daughter (who still plays with it often, by the way) has loved some of the accessories beyond recognition.

What you'll need:

As I mentioned, this project is easily customized to fit the materials you have available and your child's preferences. Your supply list will vary depending on what you include with the playset, but here's what I used.
  • a piece of plywood, 2' x 2.5' (I recommend deciding on what you're going to include and determining the layout of the items, keeping in mind the amount of wall space you have available, to figure out how big your plywood board should be)
  • hardware to hang the board on the wall
  • cup hooks
  • red paint
  • dry erase board with dry erase marker
  • 5" x 7" self-sealing laminating pouches
  • self-adhesive Velcro squares
  • white paper or cardstock
  • zippered binder pouch
  • empty lotion bottle
  • small clipboard
  • chipboard tag, white letter stickers, and ribbon (for the hall pass)
  • cardboard, clean cloth diaper (or other natural fiber fabric), and stapler (for the erasers)
  • chipboard clock hands (or cardboard to make your own) and a brad to attach them to the clock
  • items to put in the zippered pocket (I included flashcards and star stickers)
  • scissors, glue

What to do:

First you'll need to create the elements that will be included with your school playset.
  • Print out a US map and blank calendar from the computer on white cardstock, sized to be 5" x 7" each. Cut them out and laminate each one using the laminating pouches according to the package directions. I then cut out another 5" x 7" piece of white cardstock and drew a blank grade sheet on one side, and a blank checklist on the other (I did these by hand, but you could also create these on the computer). I laminated that using another laminating sheet.

  • Print a round clock face from your computer (mine is 4" diameter) and cut it out. I mounted it on cardboard for added stability and coated it with clear silicone for durability, but that's optional. Affix purchased or hand-cut clock hands to the center of the clock using a brad so that the hands can move.
  • For the heading, I cut S, C, H, O, and L on my Provo Craft Cricut machine (4" high so they'd be the same height as my clock, using the Plantin SchoolBook cartridge) from white cardstock. Alternatively, you could cut these freehand, use large stickers, or print the letters on cardstock and cut them out.
  • For my dry erase board, I found one that was spiral bound with several different pre-printed backgrounds. I removed the spiral, and inserted three keyring rings that are used to hang it from cup hooks (see photo), so that it can be taken down and flipped to use different backgrounds. However, you can substitute a plain dry erase board if you like. If your dry erase board doesn't come with a dry erase marker like mine did, make sure to get one.
  • For the cup to hold the marker and erasers, I adapted an idea I found here for cutting an empty lotion bottle. I punched a hole at the top, and since my bottle had a sticker label I just peeled it off and left the cup plain white; if your bottle's label is printed directly on it, you might choose to cover it with fabric as the inspiration tutorial shows.

  • For the dry erase board erasers, I cut four pieces of cardboard approximately 3" x 4", though you'll want to make yours whatever size fits in your lotion bottle cup while leaving room for a marker. I stacked two of these pieces together for extra thickness and wrapped them with strips cut from a clean cloth diaper (you can use any soft, natural fiber fabric) and stapled it around the edges (if you have time and patience, you could sew around the edges for a nicer look). I repeated the process with the other two pieces of cardboard to create a second eraser.
It's at least 67% less lumpy in real life
than it appears to be in this photo.

  • To make the hall pass, I used a chipboard tag (if you don't have one, cut one from cardboard and cover it with colorful paper). I spelled out "Hall Pass" with white letter stickers, and tied a white ribbon through a hole in the tag (see photo).

Now to create the background and assemble the playset!

  • Determine the size of your plywood as stated above, and paint it red. This may take several coats. You could use any kind of wood, but plywood is what I had available.
  • Lay out your elements on the board once it is dry, and determine the final placement of everything you want to include.
  • Note that I spelled "SCHOOL" along the top, using the clock as one of the "O"s. When you like the letter placement, glue the letters and the clock into place.
  • Add Velcro squares to the corners on the backs of the blank calendar and map, according to package directions. Use the Velcro to attach the map and calendar to the plywood background; attaching them with Velcro gives you the option to remove, rearrange, or replace them later. If you have a regular dry erase board (instead of the spiral-bound kind I used), you can attach it with Velcro squares in the same manner.

  • For elements that will be hung from cup hooks (in my case, the dry erase board, zippered binder pouch, small clipboard, and lotion bottle cup), determine where you need the cup hooks to be and screw them into the plywood.

  • Then just hang your items on the cup hooks, fill the zippered binder pocket with school-related accessories, tuck the erasers and marker into the lotion bottle cup, and clip the grade sheet/checklist onto the clipboard. Attach hardware of your choice for hanging the playset on the wall, or screw it directly to the wall if you wish. You're ready for school to be in session!

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


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