How to Build a DIY Indoor Rock Climbing Wall

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Hey all!

Last Fall, I was a guest participant in the One Room Challenge and undertook our kids’ playroom. We decided that the room required some much-needed design, storage, and organization!

In the end, we developed 3 different zones:

  1. Pretend Zone- a playhouse perfect for imagination
  2. Lego Zone- lots of storage, a place to build and display some cool Lego sets
  3. Adventure Zone- think rock wall, monkey bars, a climbing rope, and a loft hangout area too!

For more information about this room transformation, and to see the entire kids playroom space, click on some of the links below:

  • Kid Playroom Zone Inspiration Board- Week 1: One Room Challenge Fall 2019
  • Kid Playroom Zones- Week 2: One Room Challenge Fall 2019
  • Pretend Zone- Playroom Week 3- One Room Challenge Fall 2019
  • Lego Zone- Playroom Week 4: One Room Challenge Fall 2019
  • Adventure Zone- Playroom Week 5: One Room Challenge Fall 2019
  • Kids Playroom Zone- The Final Reveal! One Room Challenge Fall 2019

Since doing this room renovation, I’ve had many people inquire either on the blog or on Instagram about the “how-tos” of creating this indoor climbing wall!

So, I thought that it might be a good idea to put together a detailed post with a step by step tutorial of creating this super fun rock wall!

What to find out more? Keep reading for the step by step instructions!

DIY Indoor Climbing Rock Wall Tutorial

1-PLAN

  • Yes, here I go again with the planning. But it’s soooo important. Here’s what we did–>
  • First, we primed the wall to get rid of the unwanted blue stripes and then painted the wall our base color- We went with our go-to- Milk Moustache by Beautitone Paints @ Home Hardware.
The BEFORE paint job
The Rock Wall all primed and painted and ready to go!
  • Next, we used washi tape to mark off our mountains. We knew that we wanted 3 mountains to represent our 3 kiddos.
  • We started with the middle mountain and found the center point of our wall. From there, it was trial and error with the tape until we were happy with the end result!

2-TRIM

  • After the mountains were planned out and loft hangout was built, we put up our trim boards. We used MDF boards that were 1 X 4 inches wide.
  • We started with our middle mountain and worked outwards from there.
The Mountains have formed!
  • Once the trim was up, we used a pencil to mark our studs and drew a very faint line. This was going to be where we attached our shiplap boards for added strength!

3-SHIPLAP

  • Perfect! We were ready for the shiplap boards.
  • We ripped our 3/4″ plywood sheets into 6-inch boards. The thicker plywood was to give support to the future rock wall pieces.

  • Also, we wanted to create finger and toe holds with the boards to allow our kiddos some more options when climbing the wall. Therefore, we used a spacer to keep consistency across all the mountains as seen below!
  • Adding the shiplap took the longest as some of the cuts and angles were not the easiest.
  • We used a nail gun to fasten the shiplap planks to the walls at the stud location (we had already marked our studs with a pencil!)

Looks pretty good right!?

Shiplap Mountains Completed!

4- PAINT

  • The next step was to prime and paint the mountains.
  • We weren’t very fussy on this one and only wanted the front of the boards painted. That way the white wall behind would create some contrast against our grey mountains.

  • If you look really close to the pictures, the tops and bottoms of the shiplap boards are not painted and I really liked it this way, so I decided to keep it like this! (Trust me, this was the easier choice too!)
Painted Mountain Feature Wall

5-ADD ROCK WALL

  • OK, this step required some expert help 🙂
  • We needed the help of our 9-year-old son who was able to show us where to put the rock wall pieces.
  • We ordered 40 rock wall pieces from Amazon that LOOK like REAL rocks!

  • HINT– we started by putting rock wall pieces and drilling them into the studs using GRK screws. (remember, the studs were still marked out with pencil on the wall between the shiplap boards- helpful!)
  • Oh, don’t forget to erase all those markings when the wall is completed! 🙂

  • Then, using our son’s help, we filled in the spaces as he continued to climb from one side of the mountains all the way across the climbing wall. Not to mention from the floor to the top of the mountain!
  • We would stop when he needed a rock, and add one on.
  • In the end, we created several different paths for the kiddos to take including the use of the finger and toe ledges.
The rock wall is ready to climb!
The End Result- DIY Indoor Climbing Rock Wall!

BONUS- Indoor Monkey Bars

The Indoor Monkey Bars were really easy to make– they look amazing and our kiddos absolutely can’t get enough of them in our basement!

Here are the simple instructions–>

  • Buy 3/4″ galvanized pipe fittings in the desired lengths you want- for each monkey bar, we needed 2 x floor flanges, 2 x 6-inch pipes, 2 x 90-degree connectors, and 1 18-inch pipe! We have 8 monkey bars in our basement.
  • Make sure to clean the pipe fitting with soap and water- this will allow the paint to adhere to the surface.
  • Customize them by spray painting them a colour- we chose matte black.
  • Attach 2 2X4 wood boards into the ceiling joists– this is to provide the monkey bars the support needed as people hang from them.
  • Assemble the monkey bars and then screw them to the wood board at your desired intervals. (we literally went to the local playground to measure the distance of the outdoor monkey bars– 15-inch intervals!)
  • And Voila! You now have your own DIY industrial set of monkey bars!
A look up at the monkey bars
The completed monkey bars up and ready to climb!
Just hangin’ around and being a monkey 🙂

In the End:

If you are thinking about putting your own rock wall or set of monkey bars in your basement, I hope this inspired you and also helped you mentally prepare yourself for this project!

In the end, it took us about a week (working after work hours) to complete this section of the basement. There was definitely an order that needed to be followed and sometimes we were waiting on the build of the loft hangout before we could move onto our next step of installing the shiplap, etc.

In fact, once the monkey bars were ready to be installed, they were up and already being climbed on within 40 minutes!

And in case you are wondering how expensive something like this might cost, here is a quick estimate breakdown for you–

  • Shiplap feature wall & wood planks–>$200
  • Rock Wall pieces–>$160
  • Hardware–>$40
  • Monkey Bars–>$240 ($30 each monkey bar)
  • Paint (used elsewhere in the room too)–>$60
  • TOTAL= $700

AND WELL WORTH IT 🙂 It’s the hot spot in our basement, an active area for the cold winter months, and a great chin-up competition location too!

In case you are interested in building something similar, here’s a link to the items in our playroom in our Inspired to Shop- Shop Our Home section!

Happy Building!

So….inspired to build your own DIY Indoor Climbing Wall? Leave your comments below.

Create your own Indoor Playzone!

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