PlayStar Play Sets: Build It Yourself & Save

At Koopman Lumber, we seek to bring you innovative solutions to common problems every day.  With our Product Spotlight blogs, we’ll briefly highlight items that we believe many people can make use of but may not be aware that they exist.  Making your life easier is our mission!

At Koopman Lumber, we get to see a lot of great DIY products that come in and out of our stores. Playstar play set kits have always been among our favorites! These kits are the best way we know of to create a play set for your children from scratch. What’s even better is that if you come down to any Koopman Lumber location you not only get the kit you need but the lumber and tools as well!

Difficulty: Hard
Time: 8-16 Hours

This project, even with the instructions, can be a challenging one. Playstar play sets require two people to be present during construction. Safety is #1 here at Koopman for you and your children!

Supplies List

Every Playstar set recommends you have the following tools available for use:

Socket Wrench Phillips Head Screwdriver Chalk
7/16”, 9/16” Socket Tape Measure Ladder
9/16” or Adjustable Wrench Metal File Tape
Saw Horses Hammer Drill
1/8, 1/4, 3/8, Drill Bits Square Saw
1 1/8, 3/4, Spade Bits Pencil Safety Glasses
Hack Saw

The kit you purchase will come with all hardware, swings, bracket, chains, components, and plans.

Step 1: Understanding Your Options

Playstar sets come two ways – with and without lumber. The kits we stock at Koopman Lumber come without the lumber in the box. Because of our lumber yard we can include the entire package of lumber with your purchase. With a few days notice, however, we can order in a kit with precut, pre-sanded lumber.

Playstar kits come in several leading renditions with three basic variations of each version (Gold, Silver, Bronze). The three varieties each have a different mix of accessories included.  For instance, the bronze may not include the tube slide, but the Gold does. So as you are evaluating your options, understand that for each main category (Superstar, Champion, All-Star, etc.) there are three levels for each one.

Each Koopman location has an easy to use selection guide and trained staff to help you evaluate your individual project options.

Step 2: Choosing a Location and Kit

Trainer Gold Playstar area requirementsStart by figuring out how much room you have to set up a play set in your yard. The size of the kit you’re able to get will depend on how much room you have in your yard. Every kit, regardless of size, will require a 6′ safe zone around the play set that is free of structures or obstructions. It is important that the spot you pick is level or quickly leveled. The supports for the kit need to be on equal footing, or there will be different pressure being applied to the frame, making it a big safety hazard. Once you have the measurements of how much space you have for the play set, you will need to pick out a kit. All kits have a buying guide that will allow you to see how large the play set is plus the safe zone.

Step 3: Prepare Your Materials

Playstar assembly kitBy now you should have everything you need to get started. You’re going to want to separate your hardware and have everything laid out for easy access if possible. This is where things start to vary between sets. Each set will come with a cutting guide and a drilling guide. Some kits will have multiple options for building the tower so make sure that the cuts you are making are in line with the tower you’re building. Start by following the cutting guide and mark all of your boards on one end. These kits are designed to maximize the usage of your lumber leaving little to no scrap wood. Thanks to the special brackets that come with the kit there is no need to make angular cuts!

Then use the drilling template provided to draw holes for drilling on your wood. You don’t want to drill straight through your template, or you could damage it and be in a bind later. Now let’s start drilling!

If you want to stain your wood then now is the time to do so. We recommend staining as it helps to waterproof your wood and protect it from rot.

Playstar TowerStep 4: Assemble the Tower

Following the instructions in your kit begin and construct the tower on its side. When the tower is built, build the roof and attach it to the tower with the brackets provided. Get your friend to help you stand the tower upright when you’re finished. Depending on your kit you might have stairs, ladders, or climbing walls leading up to your tower deck.

Step 5: Frame Assembly

This part will cover assembly of swing areas, trapeze area bridges, table areas, and walls. Take your time with this to make sure you get the brackets placed correctly and have the screws tightened properly. After completing each section of the frame attach it to it’s specified place on the frame before moving onto the next instruction.

Step 6: Component Assembly

Here is the reason you bought a Playstar; the fun stuff! Here you need to attach all the swings, slides, climbing walls, periscopes, and other fun parts. Each part will be explained in detail in your instruction manual including optimal placement and safety guidelines. When assembling swings and trapezes pay close attention use of the adjustment zones on the chains to make them the appropriate height for your child. If either is too high or low, then your child could be at risk of serious injury.

Step 7: Anchoring

Playstar AnchorsUsing your instructions find and inspect the areas where the anchors will be placed into the ground. If the soil seems at all loose like the anchor might be pulled out easily, then you will need to cement the anchors to the ground. This is incredibly important! These kits can be heavy, and the components used to make them are very dangerous when falling! Be sure you test the anchors to make sure they stay in the ground. The last thing you want is this expensive play set falling over with someone on it!

Step 8: Shock Absorbing Ground

Shock absorbing materials placed around the bottom is needed to protect your children when they are playing on the play set. There are several different materials to use and an absolute depth they need to be applied to ensure safety. Be sure to use the following chart from Playstar!  Koopman Lumber has numerous mulch options available and even rent wood chippers if you want to make your own mulch!

Double-Shredded Bark Mulch 9″
Wood chips 12″
Fine Sand 12″
Fine gravel 12″

Be sure to use the shock absorbing ground in a 6′ perimeter around the play set. It’s also recommended to extend the material in front of and behind the swings to ensure that when a child decides to jump he won’t overshoot the protective landing area. We know kids shouldn’t jump from the swings, but it’s hard to stop them if they really want to. Better to be safe than sorry! The extension range should be twice the length of the height of the swing at the pivot point as measured from the ground.

Step 9: Maintenance

When the kids finally get to play on the play set, it’s best to make sure everything stays in proper working conditions. Make sure to follow up with preventative maintenance during usage season by:

  • For the first month or two, check all nuts and bolts every few hours of play time and tighten as needed
  • Oil all moving parts monthly
  • Check hardware and equipment for sharp edges regularly and replace when needed
  • Check all ropes for signs of loosening or wear monthly and replace when needed; particularly in the beginning of each new season.
  • Check swing seats and chains monthly

These crucial steps will not only protect your kids but protect your investment. Children like a broken play set about as much as your wallet does!

Wrap Up

What a project! This playset will provide years of healthy outdoor entertainment to your kids and maybe even to theirs. We hope you enjoyed this DIY construction blog and encourage you to reach out to us with any questions at www.koopmanlumber.com or visit us at one of our many locations. At Koopman Lumber, you not only get the kit, the lumber, and the tools you need to build a Playstar, but the know-how and advice from our highly trained staff. Don’t wait until it’s too late!


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