How to Paint a Wooden Playhouse - OutdoorToys

Is your little one's wooden playhouse looking a bit drab? Never fear, a fresh coat of paint can turn that dull playhouse into a vibrant château fit for any prince or princess! Roll up your sleeves, channel some DIY SOS spirit, and get ready to unleash your inner artist.

In this guide, we cover:

What tools and equipment do you need to paint a playhouse?

Having the right gear on hand will make this DIY project a success! You'll need:

  • Paint (we'll cover the best types soon)
  • Paintbrushes (angled brushes for trim, bigger brushes for broad areas)
  • Paint roller and tray. (for efficient coverage of larger areas, usually a 9-inch roller for a playhouse) 
  • Sandpaper
  • A brush
  • Wood filler (optional)
  • Old rags or plastic sheets (to protect surrounding areas from paint spills)
  • Masking tape
  • A young assistant (very important for "quality control")

What type of paint do you need for wooden playhouses?

Exterior paints specially formulated for wood are your best bet. Look for durable, weather-resistant latex or acrylic-based paints labelled for outdoor use on wood surfaces. 

Avoid cheap interior wall paints - these won't hold up to the elements, and you’ll end up having to repaint the playhouse before long!

Important! Latex and acrylic paints are water-based, making them non-toxic and safer for children.

Choosing between matte and gloss?

When deciding on the paint finish for a playhouse, you have the choice between matte, semi-gloss, or high-gloss. Matte (or flat) paint offers a non-reflective finish that conceals imperfections, while semi-gloss and high-gloss paints provide a glossier, brighter appearance. 

How to prepare your playhouse for painting

Proper prep work is key for a stunning finished product. Here’s how to get your wooden playhouse ready for painting.

  • Give the playhouse a good cleaning to remove any dirt, cobwebs, or bird... uh, decorations. You can use a standard brush for this.
  • Repair any damaged wood and fill holes/cracks with wood filler. Let this dry thoroughly before moving on to the next step (how long you’ll need to leave it should be detailed on the packaging of whatever filler you choose).
  • Lightly sand all surfaces using sandpaper to help the new paint adhere.
  • Cover any areas you don't want to paint (e.g. the slide or swings) with masking tape and lay old bedsheets or plastic sheets on the floor to protect against spills.
  • Painting a playhouse: step-by-step instructions

    Step 1: Start by painting the interior, first cutting in at corners and edges with an angled brush. Then, use a brush or roller to fill in broad interior wall areas.

    Bonus hack: If you’re starting with a flat-pack playhouse, we recommend painting the inside of the panels before assembling it. It’s far easier than crouching down inside!

    Step 2: Once the inside is dry, move outdoors and paint the underside of any overhanging roof sections.

    Step 3: Paint the exterior walls using the same brush/roller technique as the interior, working from top to bottom.

    Step 4: Carefully paint detailed areas like window trims and decorative pieces using an angled brush. Take your time! If you accidentally get any paint on the windows, use a paint stripper solution on the affected areas.

    Step 5: Finish up by painting doors, then add any desired designs or accents once the base coats are dry.

    Step 6: Once your paint job is dry, you’ll need to weatherproof the whole playhouse to keep it looking its best. A water-repellent wood sealant or stain will shield it from moisture damage and help make sure the colours stay vibrant for longer.

    Creative ideas for painting a playhouse

    A traditional woodland cottage

    Convert the playhouse into a woodland cottage with bark-brown shingles, flower-box window frames, wooden planters, and a life-like picket fence.

    A Barbie-inspired mansion

    Because pink goes with everything, right? Take your kids straight to Barbieland and go ultra-glam with a vibrant pink palace. Include pops of neon colour and accents trimmed in gold for some extra sparkle.

    A back garden beach hut

    Surf's up at this laid-back seaside bungalow featuring ocean blues, bright whites and even some playful wave-like accents!

    This style of playhouse sits perfectly alongside a garden sandpit or paddling pool.

    A fairytale castle

    Calling all princes and princesses! Transform your little one's playhouse into a magnificent fairytale castle adorned with turrets, vibrant banners, and a drawbridge entrance.

    A spaceship

    Blast off into intergalactic adventures by painting your child's playhouse to resemble an out-of-this-world spaceship and let their imaginations soar. 

    You can complete this design with sleek metallic colours and cosmic bursts of stars and planets. 

    A pirate ship

    Ahoy, there! Give your kids a trip across the seven seas by painting the playhouse to look like a fearsome pirate ship, complete with wooden plank siding, cannons, and tattered sails. Add a bright red stripe along the bottom for a proper pirate vessel look.

    An ice-cream parlour

    What kid wouldn't love a colourful ice cream-themed hideout? Paint the exterior in pale pink or pastel shades, then add accents of bright strawberry red, chocolate brown, rainbow sprinkles, and ice cream cone decor.

    A bonus of this playhouse theme is you can even get them to serve you a cone of ice cream on a hot summer day!

    Painting vs staining: What’s the difference?

    Paints form an opaque protective coating over the surface, while stains soak into the wood grain to add rich, semi-transparent colour. Staining can require less maintenance but won't allow as much room for bold design flair.

    Shop a range of playhouses from Outdoor Toys!

    Congratulations, you’ve successfully learnt how to paint a wooden playhouse! Now, all you need is the canvas! 

    We have a whole host of outdoor playhouses to browse, available in a range of sizes and styles. 

    From two-storey playhouses to playhouses with slides, explore a world of fun at Outdoor Toys and let your child’s imagination run wild inside their very own four walls.