Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Terrific Tuesdays- Fun with PVC Pipe

Hi! I'm liZ from over at Simple Simon & Co. There my super seamstress sister-in-law (who's name also happens to be Elizabeth) and I post all our ideas, projects and creations. This summer we have been really focused on things to make and do with our kids so we were a little more than excited when we heard about Terrific Tuesdays. (I only wish Terrific Tuesday happened everyday.)
It seems that everything I've made for my kids this summer involves PVC pipe. (I think that is because it is easy to cut, put together, is relatively cheap and is easy to move around.)
So here are a few of our favorite summer PVC projects:
This first one is a target for my 6 year old.
Ours sits on a three tiered frame so we can use it for baseball pitching and football aiming (and a new discovery...the sling shot!) Or we can use it for a game my husband built 2 summers ago that uses golf balls on rope.
Here's a really terrible photo of the golf ball game being played...The object is to stand at different distances away from the frame and then fling your roped golf balls in an effort to get them hooked on one of the frame bars. (Like in the photo above.)

We make up different points for different distances and bars---and we usually use two sets of frames one in front of the other to make it more challenging. The kids love it but we've also used it at family parties where all the adults want to play.
Ok...so how do you build the frame?
If you want one like this you will need:
1 inch PVC pipe cut into various sizes:
*3 pieces at 29 inches (for 3 the horizontal bars)
*4 pieces at 15 inches (for the feet)
*2 pieces at 10 inches (for the vertical pieces connecting the feet to the 1st horizontal bar)
*4 pieces at 18 inches (for the vertical pieces from the bottom bar to the middle then the middle bar to the top)

Other PVC parts:
4 caps (to cap of the ends of the feet)
2 elbow joints (to attach the top bar to the sides)
6 T joints (to attach all other pieces)

That's it. It's easy.
However----if you want to make it easier....
When we use the frame for just a target we take out the middle bar so the balls don't bang into it. And you don't really need the bottom bar (although we keep it in during target practice for added stability).
So...you could build one without the center bars which would make you supply list look like this:
1inch PVC pipe cut into the following sizes:
*2 pieces at 46 inches (for the sides)
*1 piece at 29 inches (for the top)
*4 pieces at 15 inches (for the feet)

Other PVC parts:
*2 elbow joints (to connect the top bar to the arm)
*2 T joints (to connect the feet together and to the sides)
*4 caps (to cap off the ends of the feet)

So there you have it...no middle bars...smaller list and easier to assemble. And either way it will work for your target.
***Note: You can glue all the pieces together if you want, but we don't. We like to take them apart to store them during the winter months.
Oh! And as for the actual target...I used a leftover piece of canvass from another project. (I wanted something heavy because I knew it was going to take a beating.)
I cut it 29 inches by 38 inches and then turned all edges under and gave it a quick sew around. (If I had a surger I would have just used that.)
Next I sewed on some ribbon (the most boyish kind I could find in my stash) to the top on each side so I could attach it to the frame.
***Note after much use, this afternoon I'm also going to attach one piece of ribbon to the bottom corner of each side of the target as well. The wind is always blowing here and I think it would be better to attach the bottom of the target to the sides as well to prevent it from blowing up during "practice".)***
Then I painted it with some fabric paint (which you can buy almost anywhere---I've even seen it at Wal-Mart).

Ok... so NOW your done. It sounds a little complicated but this project is so fast and so easy to make your boys will be playing in less than an hour (especially if it's hot enough outside to dry the paint quickly).
Alright...if that wasn't enough PVC pipe building for you here is the summer hit on our street.
It's pure mayhem!
For this project we cut PVC pipes in different lengths and then drilled holes everywhere.
And then made a arch way perfect for riding through...

...or running underneath with your buddies...
We also cut and drilled other pieces that can be taken apart, rebuilt and configured into different shapes for water fun on the lawn...I think the boys actually have more fun building the pipes than they do running through them with the water...
And while I'd love to take credit for this idea of summer time perfection I've seen variations of it all over the Internet. (Two of these places are here and here )
So there you have it...3 of our favorite PVC projects for kids for the summer. They are all super easy to make and at least one of these is used everyday here at our house.
I'm so glad we were invited to share some of our ideas. Spending time---fun, creative time with our children is one of the greatest joys in life. And we are looking forward to all the other great ideas coming up on Terrific Tuesdays!
Thanks for having us!


  1. I love that they aren't glued so the kids can build and rebuild them! Awesome...

  2. Those all look super cool! I love them!

  3. Thank you again for inviting us over for Terrific Tuesdays! We love this idea!

  4. Great projects! And they don't look too difficult! :)


Thank you for commenting! I read each and every comment.