Amy Christie is a dedicated mother and an avid DIY enthusiast. As the creator of the popular blog this heart of mine, her DIYs and creative projects have been featured in Food & Wine, Good Morning America Blog, Nido Magazine, and Couch Magazine. In an effort to come up with a fun way for her children to enjoy playing in the yard during the summer, Amy has come up with a unique DIY that is as original as it is fun: a miniature car wash. In a blog post on Design Mom, Amy shows that with a little bit of work, you too can easily make this fun contraption that will be the envy of all the neighborhood children.
To start, Amy went to her local hardware store to gather the following supplies:
- 1 6-inch piece of PVC
- 2 1-foot lengths of PVC
- 2 5-foot lengths of PVC
- 3 3-foot lengths of PVC
- 20 2.5-foot lengths of PVC
- 2 cross PVC connectors
- 2 PVC caps
- 9 ‘T’ PVC connectors
- 9 elbow PVC connectors
- 1 female hose adapter to PVC connector piece
- 2 misters
- Rubber mallet
- PVC pipe cutter
- Tape measure
- Drill with 1/8-inch drill bit
- PVC adhesive (optional)
- Sponges (we used the giant ones found in Target stores)
- Pool noodles
- Plastic shower curtains
- Scissors/rolling blade
Amy decided on using PVC piping even though it was her first time working with the material. “I had never used PVC pipe to build anything before, so I was a little nervous, but once you come to grips with the PVC aisle, it is very easy to work with,” she commented. PVC pipes have the benefit of being very strong and rigid when assembled, and this trait would be most desirable for an outdoor playset that would be used by children.
Sponges and pool noodles would add to the authentic car-wash experience by simulating the look and feel of the traditional rollers, wraps, and cleaning brushes.
The overall design of the would-be car wash took some time to plan out. After some careful consideration, she eventually decided upon this plan:
With her supplies gathered and a plan in place, Amy was ready to begin. The first step in preparing the materials was to cut the PVC pipes to the appropriate lengths as shown in her diagram. She mentioned that she used a special pipe cutter to get them sized to the appropriate length, but many hardware stores offer free pipe-cutting services with the purchase of materials.
Next, she drilled out holes into two of the 3-foot lengths of pipe – one with 18 holes, and the other with only 7. It is important to note that the amount of holes drilled will affect the water pressure of the car wash.
Amy even went as far as to include misters in the design of the car wash. To accomplish this feat, a pair of PVC pipes were capped with a stopper. The stopper was then fitted with a mister through a hole drilled directly into the center of each cap.
Once those steps were completed, the basic frame of the car wash was assembled. PVC adhesive is recommended to keep everything nicely held together, but Amy opted not to use it. “We don’t have a lot of space for storage and sadly, it’s not always tricycle-car-wash weather where we live, so for us, being able to disassemble this was important. But, we haven’t had a problem with leaks. Before we start the water each time, we make sure all the joints and connections are solid and the pipes have stayed together,” she remarked.
After the frame was fully assembled, it was time to start adding rollers, wraps, and cleaning brushes. She used plastic shower curtains, cutting them into strips of 1, 1.5, and 2 inches in width. “I tied the strips on the final crossbar to act as the car wash finale and added a little drama for the tricycle drivers.”
Utilizing the oversized sponges that she sourced from her local Target, she cut and shaped them into the fun shapes seen below:
The sponges were then secured to the strips of shower curtain.
All that was left to do was to add a bit of padded protection and color to the plain-looking PVC frame. To accomplish this, pool noodles were cut to various lengths and wrapped around many of the exposed segments.
The final result is a fun way for kids to keep cool during the hot summer days – all while being able to enjoy the outdoors.
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