I am obsessed with the Buy Nothing Facebook group. I threw a message out to the group asking for a slide. I was shocked to find one within an hour! I stored the slide for a couple of months before figuring out exactly what I wanted to do. I tried to lean it on a small mound but it just was not steep enough. Not even rolling a ball down was fun.
I had to get even more creative to figure out how to mount this crazy slide! I started eyeing the trees and scheming. I pulled out a 4×4 board and held it up to several trees to find the perfect two to be the home of our new slide. I also did a lot of research on safe and appropriate slide angles. I ended up on the steeper side and almost redid it, but decided I will go with spotting my guys for the time being.
Mounting the Main Support
I was not totally sure how to mount the 4×4 to the trees but had an idea. A google search and a trip to the hardware store and I found these bad boys! They worked perfectly….for the most part. They worked perfectly enough! The “enough” comes in with not having each part laying flush with each other. I feel pretty confident that this came from not measuring and not having a partner to hold the parts. With all that said It is mega secure and not gonna budge.
On to the next steps!
Obviously, you need a good helper. It is crucial to the success of creating a climbing wall that you have someone to jump in when needed! I did measure and divide the board for painting. To get the stripes as great as they ended up being I followed these steps:
Measured the top to bottom and divided by 6.
Marked my tape lines in several places across the boards so that I got a straight tape line.
Add tape going a bit at a time. Once on I took a cloth and really rubbed down the edges. The cloth was to protect in case of splinters.
I painted every other stripe and let it dry for 24 hours.
Once dried I removed the tape and retaped the stripes. The new tape was added to the previously painted stripes. This helped to create the solid line between the colors.
Paint the remaining stripes and allow to dry for 24 hours.
Remove the tape! This was my favorite part!!!
Creating the Ladder and Climbing Wall
At this point I got excited to see my ideas really taking shape! I hate to say it, though, it stayed in this stage for a bit which meant there was no way to actually get to the slide. We got creative and did a lot of lifting to get them up there. The things we do!
I purchased climbing wall handholds through amazon and began the process of mounting them. They’re an odd mix of really easy and really hard! Who knew?
I used two different processes to add holds on the mounted boards vs the unmounted one. it was much easier on the board before I attached it.
Hold up a handhold and create a mark for each hole with a pencil. This will guide you in drilling through the boards.
I started with one handhold and fully mounted it to figure out the process.
Once I had a few done completely I started adding more guide marks and drilling several at a time. I figured out that to help it all work together I needed to drill from front to back and then back to front with a little drill wiggle. This helped to open the back of the hole the tiniest bit more. The set requires a mounting washer with teeth, this is what really holds the bolt in place.
You’ll need a hammer to attach the washer to the back. Set it in the hole and hammer the teeth into the board. This was a bit tricky, I lost several in the barkchips and had to get fancy with my quick fingers!
Once you get the bolt through the front of the handhold it is a 50/50 chance if it threads correctly or needs some finagling.
I found it helpful to check the washer with teeth on the back while tightening the bolt. You want to pull the teeth into the board. If you look at the back washer the teeth are just toughing the wood. In the next picture, in the front bolt and washer, you can see how it is pulled all the way into the wood. After discovering this I went through all of the bolts and made sure they were tightened correctly.
Ladder and Climbing Wall to Slide:
I repurposed an old wooden ladder for this. I was tickled when I realized just how to make it work. I removed the hardware, painted it, and mounted it. Once the ladder was installed I was able to add the climbing wall. To make it fit better I used my jigsaw to cut the upper right corner off to fit it just under the ladder. Barrett was trying it all out and holding the cut-off corner piece, his new pew-pew.