When the weather’s hot, kids (and kids at heart) just love playing in the backyard sprinkler. You’ve probably even seen plans for a DIY pipe sprinkler made of PVC last time you browsed Pinterest. But we have a pretty significant improvement on these types of DIY outdoor toys. Alix Adams of the design blog A Ruffled Life had the ingenious idea of making her kids’ sprinkler toy out of galvanized pipe instead of PVC.
Some of our favorite design bloggers are inventing clever ways to DIY outdoor games for our Outdoor Games Style Challenge. This homemade kid wash, as she calls it, is Alix’s contribution.
As Alix will explain in this tutorial, using metal pipe to make a kids sprinkler has a lot of advantages.
I live in Utah, where the summer heat hits you like a ton of bricks just as you round the corner from May to June. It kind of felt like I went to bed on May 31st thinking, whew it’s a little chilly, and woke up to the blazing heat of a desert summer on June 1st.
With limited shade in my backyard and a house full of restless nephews, I knew I needed to come up with a backyard water game and fast. I headed off to The Home Depot to see what my options were, and with the help of an associate named Walt (who makes his own hot sauce on the side), I decided to make a kid wash water toy.
My initial idea was to use PVC pipe to recreate my version of other kid wash water toys floating around the internet, but I quickly realized that 10 wild boys running around my backyard might result in a PVC graveyard. A kid wash made of galvanized steel, however, would put up more of a fight. Assembling my steel kid wash water toy turned out to be SO much easier with steel piping because every piece just simply screwed together! No glue, no mess, no fuss!
I think it’s time you make a kid wash of your own, right?!
Materials for This DIY Pipe Sprinkler
All supplies I used were made of galvanized steel. The pipes and all attachments were ¾ in. in diameter. When you head to The Home Depot, you will notice that all piping diameters are labeled on the items.
- Two 6 ft. poles
- One 4 ft. pole
- Four 2 ft. poles
- Two elbow pieces
- One garden hose swivel connector piece
- One elbow with side outlet piece
- Two tee pieces
- Two nipple pieces
- Four cap pieces
- A drill with a ¼ in. drill bit
I began by assembling the base piece where the hose would connect to my kid wash water toy. This piece also connects to two of the 2-ft. poles that are used to support the archway and keep it standing.
For step one, grab one tee piece, two nipple pieces, one elbow with side outlet piece, and your garden hose swivel connector piece.
Begin by connecting the center of the tee piece to the side of the elbow with side outlet piece using a nipple piece. Then, connect the other elbow opening of the elbow with side outlet piece to the garden hose swivel connector using another nipple piece.
Next, take two of the 2-ft. poles and screw them into the openings of the tee piece used in Step 1. These two poles act as a support and balance for the kid wash structure.
Your first base piece is complete!
Time to build your other base piece. Simply take the second tee piece and screw the other two 2-ft. poles into the side openings of the tee piece.
These two poles will also be supports, but for the other base of the pipe sprinkler.
For Step 4, I screwed caps onto the ends of the 2-ft. poles. If you don’t cap off these support poles, water will run out of them and never make it to the top of the kid wash.
Now, it’s time to start building up! Take one of the 6-ft. poles and the first base piece (the one built in Step 1). Insert the pole into the elbow with side outlet opening that faces up.
Next, take the second 6-ft. pole and the second base piece (the one built in Step 3) and insert the pole into the top opening of the tee piece.
For Step 6, it’s time to break out the power tool. To create a cascade of water for little tikes to run through, I needed to drill holes in the top pole.
I took my 4-ft. pole (the top connecting pole) and drilled holes in a row, spacing them about 6 inches apart.
Then, for the final step, I attached the 4-ft. top pole to the two 6-ft. side poles using an elbow piece on each corner.
Time to take that water toy outside, hook it up to a hose, and enjoy hours of refreshing entertainment!
Alix Adams has always been a maker-doer. She says that she would literally lose her mind if she didn’t create things. On her blog The Ruffled Life, Alix writes about crafts, entertaining, raising a family and life in general. She lives with her husband and children near Salt Lake City.
For more outdoor ideas, see other Outdoor Games Style Challenge articles here on The Home Depot Blog, and follow our Style Challenge pinboard on Pinterest. Browse our Outdoor Recreation Department for everything you need for fun in the outdoors.
Alix received a Home Depot gift card to complete her outdoor game DIY project. The ideas and opinions she expressed are her own.