After having seen my friend Aimee Smith do this to her outdoor, plastic kid gear at least two years ago, I told Matt we needed to remember that trick. Our own playhouse had fallen into disrepair and nature was taking it over. Spiders everywhere inside (along with their cobwebs and egg sacks). Dirt, dust, and leaves coating all surfaces. The Texas sun had been beating down, fading the once bright doors, shutters, and roof.

This picture, taken with my magic camera that makes everything look better, does not do justice to how dirty and faded it had become.

This picture, taken with my magic camera that makes everything look better, does not do justice to how dirty and faded it had become.

 

Scary lair of spiders, wasps, and possibly badgers

Scary lair of spiders, wasps, and possibly bears

It was just not a place I could confidently smile and say to the girls, “Your playhouse? Sure! The odds are slim that you’ll make it out of there without several bites, stings, or rashes. Go for it!” I learned my lesson two weeks ago when poor, defenseless Cortland wandered inside while Harper and I were watering the garden. Shrieking ensued. Swelling commenced. Wasp sting right on her chubby, little, dimpled baby hand.  I did find the wasp nest later when I was scrubbing. The little devils had made a huge home under the fold-down table. That was the last straw. (Side bar: Cortland’s wasp sting was instantly soothed and the swelling stopped when I put Purification essential oil from Young Living  on it).

And now, a picture tour of the process:

Matt giving things a good spray down

Matt giving things a good spray down

Scrubbing the grime away. This was the most tedious part, but so necessary.

Scrubbing the grime away. This was the most tedious part, but so necessary. In fact, we had planned to paint the main body, but the scrub down made such a difference, we left the tan as-is.

Matt built a platform to set the entire structure on so that the inside will hopefully not get SO dirty SO fast.

Matt built a platform (out of trashed wooden fence sections that a neighbor had discarded) to set the entire structure on so that the inside will hopefully not get SO dirty SO fast.

Spray paint. There are two types for outdoor plastics (at least with the brand we bought at WalMart). One has a picture of a playhouse on it and one just says it can be used on plastic. SPEND THE EXTRA BUCK and get the one with the playhouse picture. We got a couple of each and the cheaper one was runny and difficult to use (the cheap one we used on the yellow shutters and it was way more splotchy).

Spray paint. There are two types for outdoor plastics (at least with the brand we bought at WalMart). One has a picture of a playhouse on it and one just says it can be used on plastic. SPEND THE EXTRA BUCK and get the one with the playhouse picture. We got a couple of each and the cheaper one was runny and difficult to use (the cheap one we used on the yellow shutters and it was way more splotchy…you can tell in some of the pictures).

Fancy, schmancy "wood floors"

Fancy, schmancy “wood floors”

Matt made a little planter box, which I stuck some fake flowers inside.

Matt made a little planter box, which I stuck some fake flowers inside.

Finished it off with a flag and some mulch (which always makes everything look better).

Finished it off with a flag and some mulch (which always makes everything look better).

Our playhouse was a hand-me-down, but I looked it up online to see how much it retails for: $500.00. FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Do yourself a favor if you’re in the market for one of these. Go find a dirty, faded, garage sale playhouse for $10, spend $25 in spray paint, and make a custom-colored house for your kid. Also, get this: Within 45 minutes of putting the made-over house back together, the wasps showed up again! I’m killing them one-by-one right now, but does anybody have any tips for keeping them at bay without dousing the structure in poison?

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