This DIY wooden play structure is the cutest thing you’ll ever see. It’s a bright red airplane, complete with pretend landing gear, control panels and a seat for the co-pilot. It was designed and built by Jamison Rantz, who writes the DIY blog Rogue Engineer.
Appropriately enough, Jamison is, in fact, an aerospace engineer. Don’t worry, though. Your kids won’t need flight certification to fly this plane. This play structure remains safely on the ground… except in your child’s imagination, of course.
Read on to see how Jamison built this cute DIY airplane play structure. We’ll point you to the project plans, too, so you can build one yourself.
I wanted to design something easy enough that could be built in a weekend by anyone who knows how to use a few common power tools. I also wanted it to actually resemble a plane. With these two objectives, it was not an easy feat. However, after a few iterations in CAD, I had something that I knew I would be satisfied with, and so would the kids.
If you decide you want to take on this project yourself you can get the project plans here. Otherwise, enjoy seeing how ours came together!
Airplane Play Structure
- Miter Saw
- Circular Saw
- Kreg Jig
- Jigsaw (optional)
- Router (optional)
- Tape Measure
- Safety Glasses
- (2) 2-in. x 12-in. x 8-ft. (pressure-treated lumber)
- (1) 2-in. x 10-in. x 10-ft. (pressure-treated lumber)
- (3) 2-in. x 8-in. x 8-ft. (pressure-treated lumber)
- (2) 8-in. Lawn Mower Wheels
- ½-in. x 36-in. Steel Rod
- ½-in. Internal Tooth Lock Washers
- Exterior Paint
- Paint Brush
- (4) Valve Replacement Handles (for accessories)
Step 1: Assembling the Fuselage
First, I cut all my wood according to a cut list I laid out ahead of time. This makes it so much easier, because I know exactly what I need to buy and can make all the cuts at one time, saving me a lot of time going back and forth to the miter saw.
Then with some guidance from my trusty little helper, we had the fuselage of this airplane together in no time.
Once it was assembled we of course had to make sure it was the right size for Brayden and his wingman Riley! We knew already that this was going to be awesome!
Step 2: Installing the Tail
We then assembled the tail and even rounded the corners and routed the edges of the horizontal and vertical tail. Not only does this look good but it reduces the sharp corners that could be hazardous to the kids.
Step 3: Installing the Nose
Installing the nose wasn’t hard but at this point you could really start to see the airplane come together and the kids just wanted to be in it!
Step 4: Assemble and Install the Wing
I was able to get some go help from my little buddy on this step. He pulled his stool right up to the wing and helped mark out the curve that we needed to cut with the jigsaw.
After that we cut it out with a jigsaw, sanded it smooth, and routed the edges with a round over bit.
Then, we added the landing gear and used a ½-in. steel rod and replacement lawn mower wheels to make this thing easy to move.
Finally, we attached it to the fuselage to complete the body of the airplane.
Step 5: Finishing and Accessorizing
By this time I was beat and ready to call it a day. But my wife insisted that we were not done. She had a yoke and propeller she cut out of a decking board that looked awesome.
After a fit check and some wood filler she added a couple coats of bright red exterior paint which really set it off. Then she painted the yoke, seats, and dash all black and the propeller was painted silver.
Finally, we installed the accessories and personalized it with the pilot’s name.
I’m very happy with how it turned out and so are the kids. This was a great project and fairly easy to build using the plans I came up with.
Again, if you decide you want to take on this project yourself you can get my free project plans here.