DIY: Tricycle Car Wash

July 1, 2013

DIY: Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

This summer inspiration is brought to you by Target. Find more fun and surprises all season long on Target’s #SummerUp Pinterest board.


Images and text by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Holy fun times!! Water play is one of the best ways to beat the summer’s heat and I think we can all agree that this image is every child’s water heaven dream. I can attest that even as an adult, I am pretty giddy about it myself. So I thought it would be fun to build one for my own kids, and I took notes and drew up plans, so that you can build one too! Everything you need to know is right here in this post.

DIY: The BEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the coolest summer ever!  |  Design Mom

I had never used PVC pipe to build anything before so I was a little nervous, but once you come to grips with the PVC aisle (so. many. options!), it is very easy to work with. I mulled over a number of plans and directions before setting on the layout of this one and then adapted it to my liking.

DIY: The BEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the coolest summer ever!  |  Design Mom DIY: The BEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the coolest summer ever!  |  Design Mom

With a trip to the hardware store and Target, this tricycle car wash came together quickly and easily.

DIY: The COOLEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

I promise, this is easier than you think! Let’s get started.

DIY: The COOLEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

Supplies:

-1 – 6 inch piece of PVC
-2 – 1 foot lengths of PVC
-2 – 5 foot lengths of PVC
-3 – 3 foot lengths of PVC
-20 – 2.5 foot lengths of PVC
-2 – cross PVC connectors
-2 – PVC caps
-9 – ‘T’ PVC connectors
-9 – elbow PVC connectors
-1 – female hose adapter to PVC connector piece (try to get one with a spinning attachment)
-2 misters (found mine at Lowe’s in the PVC pipe section)
-rubber mallet
-PVC pipe cutter
-tape measure
-drill with 1/8 inch drill bit
-marker
-PVC adhesive (optional)

DIY: The COOLEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

-sponges (we used the giant ones found in Target stores)
-pool noodles (in store)
-plastic shower curtains — we used this one and this one
-scissors/rolling blade
-printable construction plan (free!)

Note: all the PVC pipe and connectors used for this project were 3/4 inch.

DIY: The COOLEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

First things first, prep all the PVC pipe to the lengths listed above. Sometimes the store will cut it for free so if you are concerned about measuring or using sharp tools, try that route. We used the PVC pipe cutter I linked to above and were very happy with the ease of use and the results.

DIY: The COOLEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

Holes for the water to spray out of will be drilled into two of the 3-foot lengths. We chose to put more holes (like 18)  in one as it was slated for the first crossbar and guaranteed really wet kiddos. For the second bar, we only made 7 holes because of the hanging sponges. But you can adapt the plan as you like.

Remember, the more holes there are, the less water pressure for parts like the misters. However, more holes means more water which is super fun! Note: We didn’t do any holes in the third cross bar but you could add them there too if you want!

DIY: The COOLEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

Use the drill to make a hole in each of the two PVC caps for the misters to stick in.

DIY: The COOLEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

Once everything is ready, assemble it according to the printable directions. The 3-foot sections are the crossbars, the 5-footers are the first perpendicular poles of the car wash. There should only be one official opening (not counting drilled holes) and that is where the hose adapter/PVC connector is. Use the rubber mallet to securely connect the pieces.

We chose not to use PVC pipe adhesive. We don’t have a lot of space for storage and sadly, it’s not always tricycle car wash weather where we live, so for us, being able to dis-assemble this was important. But we haven’t had a problem with leaks. Before we start the water each time, we make sure all the joints and connections are solid and the pipes have stayed together.

If you go the adhesive route, use it according to the manufacturer’s directions. Note: Another advantage of not using adhesive is that joints can be separated when it comes time to drain the structure. It holds A LOT of water and it’s difficult to wrestle it around to get the water to drain otherwise.

DIY: The COOLEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

After the frame is assembled, it’s time to add some color. I used plastic shower curtains and cut them into 1, 1.5 and 2 inch strips. I tied the strips on the final crossbar to act as the car wash finale and add a little drama for the tricycle drivers. Note: I did try a lightweight plastic table cloth first, but the weight of the shower curtain was better.

DIY: The COOLEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

I took ordinary over-sized sponges from Target and cut down the orange ones similar to the sponges in the inspiration pin and cut down the green ones to make sponge balls.

DIY: The COOLEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

I used a few of the extra shower curtain strips to string the sponges up at varying heights, at the exact level for ultimate interaction with tricycle riders.

DIY: The COOLEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

To give the PVC a little color and padding, I used foam pool noodles. I chose the ones with a hole in the center, and cut a line down one side of it. Then I was able to open it up and wrap it around the poles.

DIY: The COOLEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

I cannot say enough how much fun our tricycle car wash is! Each time we turn it on, it seems to attract little neighbor friends. It’s kind of an instant water party!

P.S. — Don’t forget to download the free and helpful construction plan!

Tricycle Car Wash Plan - Design Mom

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stacey Day July 1, 2013 at 11:43 am

That is one of the cutest things I have EVER seen!

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2 kelly harp July 1, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Serious cuteness!

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3 Jen July 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Looks great! Approximately how much did it cost and how long did it take?

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4 amy c July 1, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Great questions, Jen!
For all the PVC-type parts, including misters, I spent around $30. As for the decorative touches, a shower curtain, a few pool noodles and a handful of sponges can run between $15-30. Do be sure to check around your house because you could have everything you need just laying around!
As for time, with my plan, we were able to get the whole thing put together, including cutting the pipes and drilling the hole ourselves, in about 30 minutes. It really is super simple and comes together quickly. The decorating part is really dependent on you and your preferences on how it looks. :)
We have used our car wash every day since we made it and you wouldn’t believe the number of people we’ve attracted to our yard because of it! Haha! Not only that but we will be able to pull it out for summers to come. So, for between $45-60, I think it was a worthwhile investment for hours and hours of fun!

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5 Lisette Wolter-McKinley July 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Talk about heaven for a little kid.

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6 Robyn July 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Oh my goodness! Adorable!

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7 Meredithe July 6, 2013 at 11:31 am

This is one of the most fun things I have Ever seen. Utterly, butterly brilliant!

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8 Shenita July 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm

This is super cute! Always looking fire new things for the kids and this has definitely made the list!! Will be building soon, pics to come

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9 Melissa July 7, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Thank you for the easy tutorial! We just made this today but adapted it to fit over our inflatable pool. We have a small pump we needed to buy when our basement flooded so we used that to recycle the pool water back into the sprinkler. This way the water isn’t constantly running and the pool doesn’t over flow. The kids love it and it was really easy to put together as you said. I have to go out now and buy pool noodles so that it looks as cute as yours does! Thanks again for the inspiration!

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10 Madre Primeriza July 8, 2013 at 3:29 am

Uauuuu!!! You are an amazing mum!!!

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11 doro von Hand zu Hand July 9, 2013 at 1:12 am

that’s just amazing! what a great fun for kids!

I linked to your tutorial on my blog – thanks for sharing!

♥, doro von Hand zu Hand

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12 Gypsy Wools July 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm

That is such an awesome idea! My son would love this!

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13 Ken August 7, 2013 at 9:17 am

Awesome wash! Wondering if the shower curtain strips are sticky after they become wet. Sadly we are beyond the tricycle days and looking to adapt to bikes and wanted to make sure strips wouldn’t “grab” when exiting. Thanks!!

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14 sarah September 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

So cute!
Where are those grey shoes you’re wearing from?

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15 amy c September 7, 2013 at 11:42 am

Thanks Sarah! I got the shoes from DSW. :)

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16 automobile recycling center October 26, 2013 at 11:55 am

I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up!
I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back
later. All the best

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17 tigerautorecycling October 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe that this amazing site needs a great deal more attention.

I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the advice!

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18 Flo Munro November 3, 2013 at 3:09 am

i am going to make one of these, we have the grand kids over all the time and ive managed to purchase little ride on bikes for them, so many i have and now that i have seen what will really make them ride the little bikes, your idea is fabulous, im going to our local bunnings, and try to make a longer one of these. so cool, my grand kids are going to have so much fun with this over summer, thank you.

Flo

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19 Nicole Stanley March 27, 2014 at 2:39 am

Truly adorable!!My kids would love that! Thanks for the idea…

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20 Brianne April 24, 2014 at 7:57 am

Where did you find the musters? I went to Lowes and they said they’ve never had them. Did they have another name?

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21 Sarah July 22, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Absolutely amazing!!! My husband and I made this last night and surprised the kids this morning! It was a hit with kids and I lost track of the number of cars that stopped to look, ask about it and one car even secretly took a picture!!! Thank you so much for sharing this!! Can’t wait to check out what more fun stuff you have!!!

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