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Friday, July 18, 2014

Beat the Heat with a Kid Wash

I posted this original link (here) to my personal FB feed, saying I was going to make it for my son. A friend of mind said she wanted to do something like it, but didn't think she was as handy as I am. I'm here to tell you (and her), this requires very little handiness. You, too, can make this radness!

Even if you mess up, like I did, it's easily fixed with a little vision (and, perhaps, another trip...or five...to the hardware store). That I messed up and had to modify, along with making some improvements for the sake of sturdiness, is the reason for me writing this post and making new instructions, as opposed to just linking to the original post (though, that one's awesome, obviously).

Let's get crackin'!

First, you'll need to hit the hardware store and your garage to gather the following supplies:
12 10' pieces of 3/4" PVC
15 3/4" PVC slip T-joints
7 3/4" PVC slip elbow joints
4 3/4" PVC slip cross joints
4 3/4" PVC slip caps
1 3/4" PVC slip hose connector
PVC primer
PVC glue
1/16" drill bit
tape measure
hacksaw or PVC cutter
decoration (pool noodles, nylon rope, sponges, plastic table cloth cut into strips...go crazy)

Now, for the tedious part - the cutting. Measure out your pieces and cut them up. Make sure to mark them as you go, because you are going to have a LOT of pieces at the end and they're all going to run together at some point. This is not a fun part of the project, but, daunting though it may seem, it goes fairly quickly and will only make you swear a couple of times.

The fun part is here - assembly. Ok, well, I think this is the fun part anyway. Use this picture as a map.
These are slip joints, so they'll easily slide right onto one another. The original link calls for PVC glue just at the junction where the hose adapter meets one of the T-joints. However, the original link also says that the first try with water caused it to blow apart everywhere due to water pressure. There was no way I was going to spend all that time sawing and fitting to just have it break apart. As such, I took the time to prime and glue each piece. Now, this also means I won't be able to take it apart and store it when not in use. For me, this isn't an issue, as we are in central Arizona and, even if we want it moved, it's light enough to shift to the side of the house out of sight. I'd rather have the sturdiness than have to take it apart and put back together every season. It's just a matter of personal preference. Do not use the primer and glue anywhere you want to keep pretty, because you will spill, drip, and slop.

Once you've glued, fitted, and assembled, you get to drill the water holes. There's no right or wrong here. Just have at it. I put some so that the water would squirt down from the 3' pieces, some that would squirt inward from the vertical pieces, some that would squirt inward from the horizontal pieces, and even a couple on the tops of the caps in the middle of the wash. Those holes will seem teeny, but, believe you me, they'll kick out the water, so go crazy and have fun!

The final part is the decoration. The only rule is to not cover the holes you made. Other than that, decorate away! You can see I hung some noodles, wrapped some noodles, hung sponges, and tied strips of tablecloth. I just wanted it to look and feel fun as my son ran through it. Your doesn't have to look like mine. I'd sure love to see what yours DOES look like, though, so, by all means, leave me a comment with a picture of your finished product. Most importantly, enjoy it. We sure do!

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