Father's Day: Build a Wagon with Your Kid

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Rot-resistant, light weight wood
(1) 1x12 board at 28.5" long for base
(2) 1x12 board at 8.5" long for front and back
(6) 1x 3 boards at 30" long for siding slats
Power Drill
Tape Measurer
Mixed Screws
Wood Glue
Outdoor Paint/ Sealant
Paint Brush (one large, one small for writing name)

A simple wagon can serve as reminder of a simpler time. For kids, riding in a wagon could feel as fun and freeing as riding down the open road in a convertible toward the glowing sunset.

Create a tradition this Father's Day by getting Dad all the supplies to build a wagon that can be passed down from generation to generation. A small wagon like this can be fun for kids between 2-7 years old, but it's easy to adjust the measurements so that older kids can go for a ride too!

Step 1 — Determine Measurements

Start by determining the measurements for your wagon. Consider a size that can fit one to two small children. (Remember, Dad's creation will be the talk of the town, so it's probably best to make ample sharing space for two riders at a time.)

The standard wagon size is typically 37.5” x 17.7” x 5.7”. However, you can take liberties if you’re a more seasoned DIYer.

Step 2 — Construct a Base

Make sure the base is the sturdiest piece of wood, as it will be bearing all the weight. You want it to be pressure-treated as well.

The siding for the wagon is up for interpretation. Creating walls with a solid piece of wood leaves lots of possibilities for customization.

Alternatively, 1x3 horizontally stacked slats offer a breezier feel that you can space out by screwing an 8.5-inch piece of wood or metal slat vertically across the boards. If you like the breezy version, arrange the 1x3 pieces in a horizontal row 1 inch apart.

Using a solid piece of wood for the front and back pieces will stabilize the siding. Use two 1x12 boards that are 8.5 inches tall for the front and back structures. If you chose the 1x3 slat method, screw each end into your front and back boards with a gap between each board. Use wood glue between each piece for extra security. Of course, there are many ways you can go about wagon assembly.

Step 3 — Build the Wheels (Optional)

You can build your own wagon wheels if you have the proper tools. However, if done incorrectly, they can come out wobbly and uneven.

You can use a compass or attach a pencil and tack to a piece of string to create a perfect circle on a piece of wood. The center of this circle will be where you attach your axel. Carefully drill a large hole somewhere along the outside of the wooden circle so that you can use a saw to cut out the shape. Sand your cut out for even edges.

If you end up using the wagon purely for decoration, homemade wheels are a sweet touch. For getting around though, it's best to purchase pre-made wheels.

Step 4 — Attach Wheels

If you constructed wheels, great! If not, that’s great too! Either way, you have to install them.

The front wheels should swivel, while the back should be fixed with fixtures that can easily be attached to the base.

Use a 2x4x24 board as a base to attach your wheels. You can measure about an inch in from the outside edges of the board and drill your wheels into your pre-measured holes. Proceed to flip over your wagon and attach your wheel base.

Step 5 — Create and Attach a Handle

Next you'll want to create the wagon handle. Simply attach a 1x2 piece of wood, approximately 30 inches long, to the base of your wagon with 3-inch metal L brackets.

Of course, you can always get creative here with what you use for the actual handle part. You can play around with pipes, elbow joints and fittings, wood dowels, or even a pre-made wagon handle. If you're feeling ambitious, purchase a mechanism that allows the handle to swivel.

Make sure that your handle is secured well and capable of pulling the weight. Attaching the handle can sometimes complicate the assembly.

Step 6 — Deck it Out

Now, for the finishing touches. Paint the wagon your favorite color, making sure to leave plenty of room for a customized wagon name.

Wheels, wood, some paint and a few screws are all you need to bring this new tradition to the work room this Father's Day!

Need some hands on help or pointers from an expert? Not a problem. The Home Depot offers a number of free workshops where you can refine your skills so that when it comes time for an at-home bonding project, you’ll be ready.