As you probably know by now I am totally a daydreamer. Before my kids were even born I had already dreamed up an entire playroom for them– snail slide included! I wanted to create a giant snail (have you ever seen the old Dr. Dolittle? I LOVED that movie as a kid and I think that’s where I became enchanted with the idea of a giant snail!). So I set to work drawing out plans and by plans I mean a 2-minute sketch that I handed to my husband and asked him to build. Yeah, he’s awesome like that. And also, this all happened a few days before Christmas a couple years back and he actually completed this project in time to give it to our son for Christmas! You can imagine my little boy was totally thrilled to find a giant snail slide under the tree. So as many of you requested, here is a brief & hopefully somewhat helpful tutorial of this project. This (like everything we do), is an original idea, so please credit DesignLovesDetail.com if sharing. Thanks!
- (2) 2×4’s
- (1) 2 ft x 4 ft sheet of MDF (used for the part they slide down)
- (2) 4 ft x 8 ft sheets of MDF (for the 2 snail shaped side panels)
- Screws or nails (we used screws)
- Saw Horses
- Jig Saw
- Measuring Tape
- Circular Saw or Miter Saw
- Level (to check it steps of ladder are flat)
1. You begin by creating the 3-step ladder. Cut your 2×4’s into 3 pieces that are 21 inches long– these will be the steps of the ladder. For the sides of the ladder, you will cut 24 inch pieces that are angled on the top & bottom as shown in the photo.
2. The 3 step pieces will be screwed into the angled side pieces. We spaced ours with approximately 5 inches between each step and a little extra space between the top step & the slide surface. You’ll want to install the steps so that they are parallel with the ground– so that when they are stepped on they are flat, even though the actual ladder part will be at a slight angle (tilting in toward the slide). We used 2 wood screws on each end, for each step, so there were a total of 4 screws per step to hold it in place.
3. Once your ladder piece is complete, you will attach the slide portion to the top of the ladder sides with screws (refer to photo).
4. Once the slide portion has been completed you can add the snail shaped sides. You will need to draw the snail. Since it is so large I couldn’t really provide a template. You’ll want to lay the slide portion that you’ve just completed on it’s side on top of the large MDF piece so that you can mark where the top & bottom of the slide hit on the piece of MDF– this will help you know how large to draw the snail. Once the snail shape is drawn, you will need to cut it out with a jig saw.
5. After the snail piece has been cut out, lay it flat on your other MDF piece & trace it, so you can make the other side to match. This piece will then be cut in the same manner as the first.
6. Once you have both sides completed and cut out, set them aside. You will need to add 2 support pieces of wood underneath the slide piece. These will be 2×4’s that are cut to the width of the slide piece. They attach into the bottom of the slide and are hidden from view, but provide a place for the snail shaped sides to screw into. Screw the snail panels into the ladder side & support pieces under slide plane. TIP: You can sink the screws into the snail side panels and then use wood putty to cover them over, then sand for a smooth finish that has no visible screws.
7. After the slide is completely assembled, just sand for a smooth finish, wipe down with a slightly damp cloth & paint it however you’d like!