This was a really fun project which I have LOVED doing. It’s such a great feature, not only does my little girl love playing with it but it’s also so useful as a styling feature too. I built mine into a corner of the room so there are two sections, I have one side of it set up as the climbing wall and the other side as a styling and storage wall. Once my little boy gets bigger we’ll use both sides as a climbing wall – I know this will have years of use.
Although this project might seem a bit daunting because of the size, it really is super easy. You just need a few things – good quality board for the backing (I used 18mm birch ply) and a climbing hold set with t-nuts. I brought mine from amazon LINK . To make it you need a saw, a drill with a small drill bit for pilot holes (I used 4mm) and a larger drill bit for the final holes (mine needed 8mm). You also need a hammer, pencil, a tape measure, some masking tape, a straight edge and some sandpaper plus screws to attach to the wall.
The first thing you need to do is decide how big you want your climbing wall to be. Once you’ve done this mark it out on the board and cut to size. Put an offcut of wood to the side (it’ll be useful later when you’re drilling). Then, decide which side is going to be the front of your board. A lot of plywood boards have a different quality face on each side so it’s important to make sure you have the right one facing out.
After this, you need to decide where to put the holes for your hand/footholds. You can either mark out a set pattern with the number of holds you want if you want the handholds to be fixed in one location, or do a grid pattern over the whole board if you want to be able to alter it or use it for styling too. I opted for the grid pattern. If you are going for the grid option use the straight edge to mark up a grid on the board ready to drill the holes. Some handholds need two fixing screws, so if you buy this type you will need to drill two holes the correct distance apart in each location.
When this is done and you are happy with it it’s time to prep for drilling. The drill can splinter the wood sometimes if you are not careful, but don’t worry there are some easy things you can do to help stop this happening. The drill can cause splintering when it pushes through the wood or comes out, so it’s important to slow down as you reach the end of the hole or when you pull it back. Make sure you drill from the front of the wood, as this way any splintering is more likely to be on the back. You might want to put a small piece of tape (masking tape or decorators frog tape) over the point where you are going to drill. This also helps stop the drill bit from skidding.
Once you have put the tape down over all the holes get your offcut of wood – you’re going to use this to help with the drilling. First, put your small drill bit in and drill a hole straight down through the offcut, being very careful to keep it level. This hole now becomes your guide for drilling through the main bit of wood. Put the hole directly over your mark and press the offcut of wood firmly down. Then, drill slowly through the hole and pull the drill back out, keeping pressure on the offcut all the time. This helps stop splinters on the front of the wood as it helps hold everything down. Once this is done move on to the next hole and repeat until you have a small pilot hole drilled for every mark.
After you’ve finished the pilot holes repeat this with the larger drill bit. Don’t skip the pilot holes – the wood is much more likely to splinter if you jump straight to the big drill bit, and it’s also harder to keep the holes perfectly level. Once the holes are all drilled give the front a quick sand and remove any sharp pieces of wood.
Next, it’s time to move on to the T-nuts. To fit these carefully turn the wood over so you have the back facing up. Remove any splinters and sand smooth. Then, hammer one of the t-nut backing pieces into each hole. After this, turn the piece of wood back over. You’re almost done now!
The next step is to fix it to the wall. You need to make sure you use plenty of good quality fixings. We have brick walls so I used masonry screws that screw straight into the wall (you just need to drill a hole first) but depending on how your walls are made you may need to use different types of screws or fixings.
Finally, when it is up on the wall it’s time to fit the climbing holds. Position them where you want them to go over the grid and then screw them in. You’re now good to play!
If you don’t want to use the whole space as a climbing wall you can screw in some bolts into the holes and use these to hang décor pieces. I have some nice styling and décor pieces on mine. I also made some little shelves using offcuts from my birch ply which I screwed to the wall using the mounting holes. The great thing about using the t-nuts is you have so much flexibility to move things around and restyle. You can also mix up the climbing wall too, so it always gives your little ones a fun challenge. Don’t forget to have a sturdy crashmat or some large cushions below though – I use a large memory foam dog bed on top of a playmat, with a wonderfully soft blanket from Dunelm to cover it all and make it blend in.
I hope you enjoy this how-to guide and are inspired to build your own climbing wall. They really are so much fun to build and to play with – don’t forget to tag and share on Instagram so I can enjoy seeing all your wonderful play spaces come to life