With the cold weather finally here, it's almost time to bust out the trusty sled for some wintry fun. But instead of buying a plastic sled from your local big box store, try making your own at home with this simple DIY sled project. With a little bit of lumber and this step-by-step guide, you can build your very own sled just in time for the next snowfall.
Step 1 - Cut Boards
Start building your DIY sled by cutting all the boards to their proper length. For this project, you will need two boards that are 55 inches long and 2 inches wide. These will serve as the skis that run the entire length of the sled. The front of the skis should slope upwards for a traditional ski look. You can create this slope by cutting out a pattern with a jigsaw or handsaw. Just remember to wear safety glasses and mask when cutting wood and always work in a well-ventilated room.
Next, you will need three boards that are 14 inches long and 4 inches wide. These boards will serve as braces between the skis. You then need to cut four boards for the seat of the sled. These boards can all be the same length or staggered. Just make sure the seat boards run long enough to cover all three braces when the sled is fully assembled. Lastly, cut a 21-inch-long plank for the front of the sled.
Step 2 - Dry Assembly
After all the pieces are cut to size, dry fit everything together and make sure it fits. Re-cut any pieces that are out of place. If you are satisfied with the look of the sled, remove the pieces and sand everything down. It's much easier to sand the wood before it's assembled.
Step 3 - Assemble the Skis
With everything sanded down, it's time to build the skis. The skis are the foundation of the sled and need to be strong enough to support a person's weight. Start by laying out the skis so that they are perfectly parallel to each other. Carefully screw the braces on each ski with wood screws until all three pieces are in place.
Step 4 - Attach the Seat
Begin attaching the seat boards to the sled by screwing them into the brace boards. You should drill a pilot hole in the wood first to avoid splintering. You can also countersink the screws, so they do not snag any clothing when in use. Once all of the boards are securely in place, test their strength and add additional screws where necessary.
Step 5 - Install the Front Piece
Before installing the front piece, drill two holes on each end, around five to six inches from the end of the board. The holes should be large enough to string a rope through. Then attach the plank in front of the seat boards, screwing it in place on top of the skis. Finally, run a rope through the holes and tie a knot on each end so that it does not slip through. If you have extra time, you can give the front piece a more rounded look by cutting out a pattern with the jigsaw.
Step 6 - Stain
After everything is assembled, it's time to paint or stain the sled. You can opt for painting the sled a holiday color or stain it to bring out the natural color of the wood. Once the stain or paint has dried, you can take the sled out the next time it snows and enjoy the hills.
You can build a sled out of most kinds of lumber. If you are working on a tight budget, consider building the sled out of pallet wood. You can usually find free pallet wood if you look hard enough, and the planks works great for this type of project.