I have had a few questions about how I built the slide for the tree house. I have worked on this post for a while but still feel like it only makes sense in my head, because that’s where it came from. I will work and tweak this post, but here is the best I’ve got for right now… I’m not gonna lie, the slide wasn’t the easiest part of the tree house. In part because I had no plans that fit what I was trying to do, also because I didn’t have the tools I needed to cut angles on a wide board and after going crazy trying I finally begged a neighbor for help (thanks Nielsons for being so nice about me interrupting dinner!)
- Melamine board, cut to desired width and length (have the guys at the hardware store do this for you)
- Wood board for support
- L brackets
- 2×2 wood, 8′ long
- 2×4 wood scrap piece for support
- paint (if desired)
- drill, screws
- sandpaper, sander
Before starting, decide how you want to support your slide. Mine is attached to the tree house on one side (the base and the support beam), the back wall resting on a 2×4, and with a wall board on the third side. The kiddos climb from the tree house to the slide so I don’t have a ladder, I think that’s a whole new beast!
Step 1: Determine how long, steep, and high you want the slide to be. Let’s just start by saying whatever plan you use, a 45 degree angle on your slide is ZIPPING. Way, way too steep a pitch (would make a fun water slide though…). My dimensions are:
- 17″ wide
- from the floor to the seat board 5’2″ tall
- from the back wall to the end of the slide 5’10″ long (this includes the 12″ platform at the top of the slide you sit on before sliding down).
- The kick board (under the end of the slide) is 11″ tall, 6″ from the end of the slide, so the drop-off point of the slide rests 6″ from the floor. I wish I would have cut the kick board taller so the slide rested more like 10 or 12 inches from the ground, it would have been easier for the kids to get off.
- 35 degree angle, I originally made it 45 degrees but that is way to steep.
Step 2: Cut the melamine board. I had the guy at Lowes cut my melamine board. Melamine is the material used in closet shelves, among other things. It often comes with a slick, white laminate coating– great to use to avoid slivers and slick for a slide. It is also very heavy, edges can be sharp after it is cut, and dense, so best to have either a big saw or the hardware store cut it for you– which is free by the way. I bought it in a 4×8 board (because I used the left overs to build the rock climbing wall), but if you’re building a smaller slide or you don’t need left overs just use a melamine shelf and cut it to size. My melamine cuts were all 17″ wide and the lengths were 12″ (seat), 6′ (slide), and 11″ for the kick board support under the slide.
Step 3: Angle the melamine board. Each of your three pieces need one end cut at a 55 degree angle. I didn’t have a saw that could do this, thanks Nielsons for rescuing me!
Step 4: Build the seat support. With 4″ screws attach a 2×4 into the wall studs to support the weight on the slide seat. I reinforced mine with an L-bracket. The 2×4 is 17″ wide:
Step 4: Build the outer support. Your slide will need to be supported (obviously), one side of mine is connected to the support beam on the tree house with L-brackets and the other side is built resting on 2×2 pieces of wood connected to a piece of ply wood (I used the left over from this 4×8 piece of wood to build the swing and the stool for the tree house). First I cut a 10″ piece of 2×2 with a 55 degree angle at the end. The slide seat will rest on this piece. This piece is 10″, not 12″ to allow room for the 2×4 attached to the wall built in step 3. It is attached 52 inches from the base of the board and matches the height of the 2×4 on the wall on Step 3. Then I cut a 44″ piece also at 55 degrees and attached it to the wood board with 2 1/2″ nails. Put this piece under the seat support and match up the angles. Make sure it’s level! You can drill from both sides of the board for added strength:
I allowed a 2″ space at the rear of the board because a 2×4 is holding up the seat of the slide. Next, I drew out a pattern that would match the tree house theme (wavy tree tops) and cut. The boys wanted a passage under the slide and I don’t think it compromised the integrity so I made a newspaper pattern and cut away:
Step 5: Because hands are going to be all over this board (and at top speeds!) sand the heck out of the edges and then paint.
Step 6: Attach the side board to the 2×4 support on the wall (Step 4) with L-brackets. I had to cut out a small nitch at the bottom for my baseboard to allow the board to sit flush against the wall.
Step 8: Attach the melamine board to the supports. You’re gonna need two people for this step. Start with the seat. Rest the seat on the 2×4 and the 2×2 support board, with the angle outward, attach with 2 1/2″ screws from the bottom (or if you drill through the melamine, make sure you sink the screws so they don’t snag clothes or skin, ouch!)
Next take your 6′ long board and place your the angled end underneath the seat’s angled end. Attach to the support beam with L brackets:
And to the wall board with 2 1/2 wood screws. Here’s what it looks like from the underneath when the boards are attached:
When the seat board and the long board are secure, attach your 10″ kick board so the 6 foot board slide part rests on top of it. The slide will have about a 6″ drop off. (I wish I would have made it more like 10 or 12 inches.)
Step 9: Sand down the edge and apply paintable caulk on the seat to slide transition.
Stand back and love it.
I painted mine to slow down the slide and to blend in with the tree house. Make sure you, not your littles, take the first try down!