Monday, July 6, 2015

Colorful Playground Upcycling Project

I wanted to share my playground upcycling project, and, if you've ever been afraid of color, here's an impetus...did you know Benjamin Moore will make up STAIN in ANY color? That's right, ANY color. Choose from one of their swatches, or color match another! I thought this was true JUST for PAINT! Thanks a ton to the helpful Solon Hardware paint expert!
We snapped up an older redwood Rainbow play system (guessing 12 years old) on Craigslist, disassembled in 3 pieces and carted it home with 2 trucks. We scrubbed it up, filled in the carpenter bee holes and a few cracks, and re-stained.We also spray painted the ropes and metal bars. The ropes are still in good, just badly faded condition, but can be replaced later.
 We went with Benjamin Moore's Arborcoat in strawberry shortcake (2000-40), tropicana cabana (2048-50), and snowcone green (2026-30)! 

I will also be adding huge vinyl polka dots with my Silhouette Cameo to the tire swing, and also planning to add red laminate short curtains, per little girl's request, on a tension rod right below the sunburst. We also painted Ikea stools to look like toadstools, as inspired by another Pinterest post.

Added a Glider and Swing

Little O requested a PINK swing, so considering this playground was her birthday gift, I started my usual relentless internet hunt to find it, and I did! has every imaginable accessory you might need for your playground update, including the pink swing and a  yellow glider. I bought ours with chains and clips, but they can also be purchased separately. Our playground came with a baby swing, perfect to bring out when a little one comes over to play. We haven't mulched under the playground yet, as we needed to first level the area as we have very little in the way of FLAT in our yard. We purposely looked for the fort style playground as it was designed for not so level yards, which definitely was a plus. Notice, too, that we have a downed tree; I called the power company in a panic as a windstorm took down that tree and it very politely landed in the fork of another tree. They immediately took it down (but left the mess for us to clear) much to our relief before it took out the playground. Whew! We also need to do some touchups with the pink stain. When we stained, it was during a very rainy period. Though we worked on it in the garage, there was lots of moisture in the air. So, not sure if if was that or the fact that the wood was very dried out as we don't believe the playground was ever restained. We did all the prep work of sanding and dusting, removed all the footholds, and did 3 coats of stain allowing it to dry 24 hours between coats. Fortunately, we have some pink left to do the job, no biggie.

Disassembly/Assembly Tips

When we picked up, we took an engineer friend with us to help us figure out how to take apart, plus a truck and an SUV pulling a small trailer. We needed both. 3-4 reasonably strong people lol. We could have had the retailer do all this disassembly/reassembly, but it is quite costly. So we did it ourselves as we have always been the DIY'ers, why change now? You will definitely want 4 for assembly to get that platform and roof back up there, trust me. Socket wrenches, 1/2" and 9/16" plus screwdrivers. Here is how we broke it down: (1) the roof was one piece we removed, (2) the swing arm/leg (which crosses over the platform and holds the chin up bar), (3) the slide, (4) the rock wall, (5) the rope ladder/arm, (6) double set of steps, and (7) the deck.

When we stained, we found the job easier having it in these pieces since we were doing multiple colors, and also opted to remove hardware such as the rocks and grab bars, and also the railings from the deck. These were easy to remove and put back on.

We also replaced a few of the large bolts easily at Home Depot, especially the bent bolt from my backing over the playground not once, but twice lol. The hubs has a bad habit of leaving things too close to the driveway, and, well, I tend to go over the driveway when backing up. Blame both of us...

For the assembly, my husband and I (yeah, just the 2 of us....more on that) (1) put the deck on its side and attached the rock wall. Doing it over, we should have first attached the double ladders, as they are lighter (and heavy was what we were trying to avoid, DUH). (2) Then we had to hold up the platform (we stuck a short stepladder under it to support it) while we attached the double ladder to the other side. Note: this is too difficult for 2 people...remember I mentioned 3-4? You need 3-4. Precisely why the hubs and I could not flip it into standing position, so we needed to wait to complete the assembly. Once we had the friends, flip the thing over, position the slide to make sure you have enough clearance, same for swing arm, and then check to make sure it's level. Plan to dig. (3) Reattached railings. (4) Attach swing arm/leg (had to dig this out to level). (5) Attached the roof. (6) Attached slide. (7) Attached rope ladder arm. (8) Added telescope and swings.

Save some stain as all the shifting into position will cause some scraping so I did some stain touch ups. Done! Woo hoo!