Play Stage

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Total Time weekend projects Ages school-age

Build it and they will come. Budding thespians, talent show contenders, and aspiring fashion models alike will be drawn to this portable platform. There'll be no stage fright when it comes to constructing it either. It comprises four identical sections that fit together to form a roughly 8-foot square -- just the right size for putting on a performance, pitching a tent, or establishing home base for a game of hide-and-seek. Rearrange the pieces into a walkway and you've got a ramp for a fashion show.

For a printable version of the instructions below, click here.

What you'll need

  • Ten 8-foot-long 2 by 6 knotty cedar boards (for the framing)
  • Sixteen 8-foot-long 5/4 by 6 clear cedar boards (for the decking)
  • Approximately 50 (3-inch) coated square-drive decking screws for the framing
  • Approximately 220 (2-1/2-inch) coated square-drive decking screws for the decking
  • TOOLS:
  • Measuring tape
  • 12-inch square

How to make it

  1. For this stage, you'll construct four palletlike platforms with overlapping edges -- a good weekend project. We decked ours with clear (knotless) cedar, bringing the total cost to about $500 in materials. A lesser grade of wood will save $100 or so.

  2. From the 2 by 6 boards, cut the following lengths:

    --eight 44-inch lengths; label them A

    --eight 37-7/8-inch lengths; label them B

    --four 40-7/8-inch lengths; label them C.

    From the 5/4 by 6 boards, cut 32 (44-inch) lengths. Label 4 of them D and 4 of them E. Leave the rest unlabeled.

  3. Step 3 - Play Stage

    Predrill screw holes in the labeled boards as specified in figure A.

  4. Step 4 - Play Stage

    Assemble each of the four frames
    as shown in figure B.

  5. One at a time, make sure each frame is square by setting it on a flat surface and measuring diagonally from corner to corner both ways (each diagonal should measure about 60-1/8 inches). Hold one corner and push or pull the opposite one until you get it right, loosening the screws slightly to do so if necessary.

  6. Step 6 - Play Stage

    Screw a D board to the frame, stepping it in from the edge 1-1/2 inches, as shown in figure C. Then screw an E board in place so that it overhangs the frame 1-1/2 inches on the opposite side. (As a check, the distance between the outer edges of the two boards should be 44 inches.)

  7. Step 7 - Play Stage

    Fill in the space between boards D and E with 6 unlabeled boards, spacing them evenly (about 1/8 inch apart), and flushing up the cut ends with a straight edge (figure D). Predrill holes in the unattached boards, using a straight edge to line them up with the screws in the D and E boards. Screw the boards in place and smooth over the decking edges with sandpaper.

  8. Step 8 - Play Stage

    Assemble the stage on level ground by fitting the four pieces together as shown in figure E or F. For extra stability, you can fasten them together where they overlap, predrilling the holes first.

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