The Deluxe Kid Wash

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The Deluxe Kid Wash

On a sweltering summer day, few kids can resist running through the cool spray of a lawn sprinkler (and shrieking, of course). The Deluxe Kid Wash continues that great, time-honored sprinkler tradition, but with a creative new twist. Follow our simple directions on the next page or customize your own version. The Kid Wash is crafted almost entirely from PVC pipe, a material we love not just for its low cost (about $30 for all the pieces used here) and durability, but also for its ease of use (with all those interconnecting pieces -- it's like Tinkertoys for grown-ups). The Kid Wash may not offer wax or rust inhibitor, but it's sure to provide a summer's worth of good clean fun.

What you'll need

  • Eight 10-foot lengths of 3/4-inch PVC pipe
  • The following 3/4-inch PVC fittings: 12 T's, 2 crosses, 7 elbows, 4 caps, one 1-inch to 3/4 inch T, 1 straight fitting, 1 female hose adapter (threaded)
  • 1 pool noodle
  • Craft foam
  • Permanent markers
  • String
  • 3 large sponges
  • About 40 feet of nylon lawn chair webbing
  • Paper
  • Fasteners
  • Adhesive-backed Velcro

How to make it

  1. The Deluxe Kid Wash: Step 1

    Cut the Pieces and Make the Waterholes: Using a hacksaw or PVC-pipe cutter, cut the pipe into the lengths shown at right (twenty-two 2 1/2 feet length; one 5 foot; four 3 foot; two 1 foot; three 6-inches). Be sure to sweep or vacuum up the plastic dust. Use a 1/8-inch bit to drill waterholes: 12 holes each in crosspieces X and Y, spaced 2 to 3 inches apart; 3 holes, all on the same side, in each of the 2 side pieces shown, and 3 holes at the tops of 2 of the caps. Click for larger image.

  2. The Deluxe Kid Wash: Step 2

    Assemble the Frame: Connect the fittings and pipe sections as shown. Use a mallet to pound the pieces firmly together for extra stability. See our PVC tutorial.

  3. The Deluxe Kid Wash: Step 3

    Add the Special Details: Entry Arch and Sign. Push a pool noodle with holes in the ends onto the capped pipes to form an arch (the holes may need to be cut or widened with a knife). Use craft foam and permanent markers to make a sign. Punch holes in the sign and hang it from the arch with string.

  4. The Deluxe Kid Wash: Step 4

    Kid Scrubbers: Thread varying lengths of string through 3 large sponges and tie them to crosspiece Y.

  5. The Deluxe Kid Wash: Step 5

    Body Buffers: Cut the lawn chair webbing (available at most hardware stores) into 8 or so 4 1/2-foot lengths. Loop each one over crosspiece Z and secure with a paper fastener.

  6. Stop and Go Gate: Attach the swinging gate arm by slipping the larger T fitting over the straight fitting as shown in the diagram detail. Make the Stop and Go signs from craft foam circles, 8 1/2 inches in diameter. Label with markers.

  7. The Deluxe Kid Wash: Step 7

    Next, use adhesive-backed Velcro to attach the Stop sign at the end of the swinging arm (D1).

  8. The Deluxe Kid Wash: Step 8

    Align the Go sign on the upright piece so that it sits directly behind the Stop sign (D2) when the gate is closed and affix it with Velcro.

  9. Water!: Attach the hose adapter and the hose, turn on the water, adjust the pressure, and let the fun begin.

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