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How to Build a Kid’s Climbing Wall

It’s been just over a year since COVID-19 upended our lives, and we think it’s fair to say it’s been an eternal winter (no matter what your thermostat reads). With warmer weather, you’re spending more time outside your home, but struggling to come up with outdoor activities to keep the young people in your family entertained. Here’s an idea: How about a DIY climbing wall?

We teamed up with Ford to show you how to create one yourself utilizing the features from the 2021 Ford F-150. Thanks to the available Tailgate Work Surface and the available Pro Power Onboard, which allows you to charge up all your tools using the mobile generator, this truck is ready for whatever DIY project comes its way. See the full instructions for how to make a kids’ climbing wall below. For even more inspiration, check out our full list of summer projects here.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

  • (4) 2” x 6” x 72” dimensional pine lumber
  • (2) 2” x 4” x 8” pine studs
  • (10) 1” x 6” x 8’ pine boards
  • Rock climbing grips
  • Large, heavy rope
  • (250) 3” wood screw
  • (2) 5” carriage bolts
  • (2) ⅜” hex nuts
  • (6) ⅜” washers
  • Chop saw
  • Power drill with bits and drivers
  • ⅜” drill bit
  • Jig saw
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Speed square
  • Hammer
  • Crescent or socket wrench

Step 2: Cut Wood to Size

Pro tip: Sanding boards prior to assembly will be easier than upon completion.

  • Four (4) 2x6 @ 60 inches (legs)
  • Two (2) 2x4 @ 44 inches (cross braces)
  • Two (2) 2x4 @ 40 ⅝ inches (cross braces)
  • Ten (10) 1x6 @ 47 inches (outer wall pieces)
  • Ten (10) 1x6 @ 45 ½ inches (outer wall pieces)

Cut one end of each 2x6 at a 45-degree angle. On the other end of a board, place the center point of a protractor about 6 inches from the board’s end and 1 inch in from the board’s side. Mark a quarter of a circle with a 6-inch radius. Cut the circle with a jigsaw. Use this board as a template for remaining boards. Evenly sand rounded edges with orbital sander.

Step 2: Make the Two Frames

There are two different widths of frames: 47 inches and 45 ½ inches. This is so that they can fold together with one resting inside the other. For the wider frame, lay out 2x6 boards side-by-side with the rounded edge facing up. Screw in 44-inch long 2x4s flush with side of the board with the rounded edge. The 2x4s should be placed 6 inches in from tops and bottoms of the boards. Repeat with the 40 ⅝-inch long 2x4s to create two frames.

Step 3: Attach Face Boards

These are the boards that the grips will be installed on. Screw 1x6 boards across the 2x6 boards running over and parallel to the 2x4 studs. Start 2 inches below where the curved board becomes straight and work your way down, keeping the 1x6 planks tight against each other. There should be a little room left at the bottom. Remember there are two different length planks because there are two different sized frames. Sand the edges if any planks protrude after all are attached.

Step 4: Attach Two Frames

Attach together at a pivot point. Make a ½-inch hole at the same place on every 2x6. Make it the same spot the protractor was centered on to draw the quarter circle.

Step 5: Add Finishing Touches

Attach climbing grips and rope according to manufacturer’s instructions.