Sunday, 16 August 2015

How to make a cave/ tunnel

Making a cave or tunnel for outside is cheap and easy. If possible try to use recycled materials if you do not have anything suitable you can get it all from Bunnings.
This is how I made our L shaped cave/tunnel
You will need:
1 metal Garden Arch ($18 Bunnings)
1 wide fencing brush ($16.95 Bunnings on Special)
1 of the smaller matching fencing brush ($14 Bunnings)
Length of Hessian to fit on the inside from start to end
Zippy ties (cable ties)
Masking tape

*The arch is too wide for what I wanted but I knew the metal poles were easy to bend

First I joined 2 of the curved poles together and bent them so they made an arch (in the photo you will notice the real arch has 4 curved pieces).
Secure with the screws provided (there isn't any nuts for the end of the screws so wrap tape around to re-enforce or if you can buy nuts to go on the screws)
Add two of the poles either side so each arch will consist of 6 pieces
Tape around the joins to strengthen
There are enough poles and curved poles in one box to make 4 singular arches.

Decide where you want to put the cave/tunnel and what shape or design you would like.
I decided I wanted a L shape so it had an entrance and then the long part run alongside the back fence
Dig the poles into the ground (be careful if the ground is too hard you will bend the arch)
You will need to measure the length of your brush fencing to see how far apart to put your archways (remember if its too far it may collapse in the middle through lack of support
I put one arch at the entrance, the next went on an angle a little just before the back fence, the third half way across the back fence (measured by how long the brush was) and the forth at the end
Roll the smaller brush over the front arches and when you are satisfied zippy tie the brush to the poles

* Because the back arch is on a slight angle you will notice when you climb in the brush will be blocking the bend. Push the brush towards the front so the actual entrance will be slightly off centre. This ensures the tunnel is the same width all the way through

Once the front brush is secured roll the longer brush over the back. You are going to find the front part of the brush will not go over because the front cave is in the way. Using scissors cut through the wire from the edge until the back of the brush falls straight down, then manipulate the front part to cover the front. (You will understand what I mean when you get to this stage.

Now climb through and zippy tie the brush to all of the poles.

To make it more like a cave I decided to line the inside with hessian.
You will need help with this part (my son is amazing at helping me)
Climb in the tunnel taking the hessian with you. This is to measure however be aware of the corner make sure you allow enough for it to reach the corner of the L shape on the inside
When you get to the end pull it out a little so that you will be able to fold the end over a few times to make it neat
Cut off the hessian at the entrance again leaving some that will be folded and secured
This is the tricky part. Securing the hessian. You need two people
One needs to climb in and starting at the end of the tunnel push the hessian to the roof (make sure it is the middle of the width) the second person then feeds the zippy tie through from the top the person underneath then feeds it back and the top person secures it.

This needs to be done all along the roof first
Once the roof is finished the sides can then be secured

To finish off fold back the hessian at the entrance and at the end and zippy tie it to make it neat
Time to clean up
Climb through and cut off all the ends of the zippy ties ensuring you turn the cut edge away from where the children will be crawling through so they do not get scratched

As our cave/tunnel is at the back of our digging quarry I haven't added anything else

You will be able to extend the tunnel anytime by just doing the same thing
You could even make a maze
Endless possibilities



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