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 How to Build The Ace Clubhouse

Steps 1 and 2 of 4

Every child dreams of having their very own special hideaway. With assistance from the helpful hardware folks at Ace Hardware you can make this dream come true! Just follow these step-by-step instructions to build the coolest clubhouse in the neighborhood!

This is a great opportunity to share your carpentry skills with your child or to learn along with him. With that in mind, we have designed a clubhouse that the two of you can build together. Keep in mind that there are a few stages (such as raising the walls and roof) that require a second adult. This clubhouse is Deluxe with a capital D. It will take a few days to build, so its best to begin when you have a three- or four-day weekend available. This way you can complete the final steps of roofing and painting, without having to worry too much about the weather. If you think you' ll be spreading the project over a few weekends, you' ll need a 15' x 15' plastic tarp to cover your progress.

A variety of tools can be used for this project, but we found a few especially helpful. Our table saw came in handy for making the angle cuts for the studs and rafters (but you can use a circular saw if that's what you have). Also a portable jigsaw and cordless drill make things a lot easier.

The tools and hardware you need are available at your local Ace Hardware store. And if you have any questions, just ask one of the helpful hardware folks while you're there.


  • (4) 4'x5/8" plywood sheets
  • (4) sheets of 5/8" paneling plywood (grooves)
  • (34) 2x3"x8'-0" wall studs
  • (30) 1"x3"x8'-0" common pine boards
  • (2) 1"x4"x8'-0" common pine boards
  • (6) 2"x6"x8'-0" studs
  • (1) 2"x6"x8'-0" wood stud
  • (4) 3" door hinge
  • 1 gallon Ace white latex outdoor house paint
  • 1 gallon Ace yellow latex outdoor house paint
  • 2 boxes of 2" wood screws
  • 1 box of 3" wood screws
  • (8) galvanized rafter hangers
  • 1 box #8 galvanized nails
  • 2 door hooks
  • 10 outdoor deck spindles
  • 3 flats asphalt roofing shingles
  • (1) roll 15 lb. roofing felt
  • (2) 3" ball fence post finials
  • Paint brushes
  • Circular or hand saw
  • Cordless drill or screwdriver

Step One: Floor

Your clubhouse will have an 8' x 4' "footprint"; find a site this size that is level. If you need to, level a slight grade with a rake. Next start framing out the floor. Make a box on the ground using two of the 8' 2" x 3" s set on edge and two 2" x 3"s cut to 3' 9". Fasten these together at each corner with two 3" screws. This will give you a box exactly 8' x4' , the same size as your plywood flooring. Evenly space six additional 3' 9" 2"x3"s and fasten with 3" screws to complete the flooring framework (see photo 1). Place a sheet of plywood on top of the framework and fasten in place with 2" screws.

Step Two: Framing the Walls

The easiest way to do this is to begin with the plywood paneling, and use this as a guide for the placement of the studs. The front and back walls (with the door openings) are exactly the same, as are the two side walls. Begin with one of the front walls. Cut two pieces of paneling at 4'x2'x6". These will be used on either side of the doorway, so remember to have the panel grooves running horizontally. (You will also want the tongue of the paneling at the top so that it will accept the groove of the piece that will run above the door for the entire length of the house.) Next, use your jigsaw to cut the window holes. This will leave you with two approximately U-shaped pieces of paneling. Now, rip another piece of paneling 8' long and 1' 3-1/4" wide, parallel with the panel grooves, for the top of the wall. Before going any further, it's a good idea to cut the notches for the four rafters into this top piece. Each notch is 1-1/2" wide and 5-1/4" deep. The two end notches have centers 12" from each end. The two center notches have centers 2' from the end notches.

Now it's time for the studs. There are six 2" x 3" studs. Each is cut to a 35 degree angle so that the longest side is 5' 1-7/8" Place an uncut 2" x 3" x 8' on the ground on edge. This will be the footer running the length of the wall. Then place four studs perpendicular to the footer, and space them out so that when you cover them with the two pieces of side paneling, you have a stud in either corner and one on either side of the doorway. Screw the paneling to the studs using 2" screws, and attach the studs to the footer using the 3" screws. We've chosen to double the corner studs for added strength. Stand the wall upright and screw a second stud beside each corner stud. While the wall is still upright, finish framing out the windows and the door header as seen in photo 2. Repeat this for the rear wall.

The side walls will be overlapped by the front and back walls. Because our floor is 4' wide in total, you must cut your first piece of paneling to 3' 6" wide. Again, use your jigsaw to cut a window notch, leaving you with a U-shaped panel 4' tall. The side wall studs are a little trickier because they have to be cut to fit into the gable of the roof peak. This means that the two corner studs will have to be shorter than the two in the center. Again, the top of each stud should be cut at a 35° angle, but this time the angle should run left to right across the 2" side. A footer will run all the way across the side walls, 3' 6". As with the front wall, arrange your footer and studs on the ground, and place your piece of paneling over them. (Note: because you must allow room for the front and rear wall studs, you must set your corner studs 3" in from each edge.) Screw your footer, studs and paneling together.

To save on paneling, we took the leftover piece cut from the front wall to make the upper portion of the side wall. There is an aesthetic benefit to this as well since the panel grooves will run vertically above the window, giving the clubhouse a barn-like appearance on each end. This piece should be cut to the same 3' 6" width. Now you must cut the peak. Although it is all one piece, you can picture this as a triangle sitting on top of a rectangle to make the measurements easier. Cut the panel and attach to the studs above the window. Finish framing out the window as shown in photo 3. Repeat for the other side wall.

You will need the help of another adult to assemble the four walls on the flooring. Stand the front wall upright on the floor and bring one of the side walls into place. Using 3" screws, attach the walls to each other as well as the flooring. Continue this process with the rear wall and the remaining side wall.

Go to Steps 3 and 4


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Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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