I learned that the most important skill set in making a treehouse in not construction but organization. I spend more time climbing down the ladder to get tools and supplies I left on the ground than I did building. (Although, adding a slide has made going back down easier!)
Shipbuilding tradition dictates that a gold coin be layed in the keel of a new ship and a silver coin under the mast. The gold coins are gold engraved dog tags, the silver coin is a 2012 El Yunque National Forest (Puerto Rico) US Quarter under the ship's wheel stanchion. It is from the year of the ship's build, Puerto Rico is a Carribean island, and it has a parrot on it ~ all of which seem appropriate for a pirate ship.
That round thing in the lower left corner is NOT a cannon ball, it's the back of Daddy's head!
Here is some technical information about attaching treehouses to trees
1/4 inch plywood on the straight areas and double thickness 1/8 inch Masonite on the curved areas..
Painted medium brown and dry-brushed with a darker brown. The support legs are painted tan and camouflaged a bit with some spray paint. Large cannon is in place on the starboard and a smaller swivel cannon mounted on the port. Slide is in place and you can see the "Walk the Plank" balance beam to the bottom left.
The skull is very thick ceramic with spider web crackle glaze, the lettering is cut into the board with a router and stained. Solar lamps on both sides.
I'm pretty sure that red/port and green/starboard marker lanterns were not standard on pirate ships. Pirates were not known for flossing their teeth or following the law, I doubt they would have had the lights even if they were required. But I needed an excuse for a few more solar lights. You can also see the brass ship's bell.
A ship christening is in order for the Scallywag Scoundrel of the Skies (thank you for that name Rachel & Natalie) but having a 3 year-old break a bottle of rum over the bow is probably not a good idea. I'll have to come up with an alternate ceremony.
That parrot looks suspiciously like a dove decoy in disguise!
Captain Hook's nemesis, Tick Tock is about 3 feet long. I bought a mold intended for concrete but molded ceramic clay in it instead. The clay was fired and glazed, the colors should last for the next couple hundred years.
I need age appropriate "pirate activities" in the ship for Tyler so I built this rotating pirate character thingy (I don't know what you call it LOL) 4 different heads on one block, 4 torsos on the next block, and 4 legs & feet on the bottom block. The blocks turn to form different pirates.
The chalk board also serves as a locking door to block the slide opening so the ship can be secured for sleep-overs or in the event of an attack by dwarves on unicorns. Behind the chalk board you can see the hatch with a deadbolt that secures the opening over the ladder.
The next planned activities will be Pirate Plinko and a large pirate version of "Battleship".
Now that the construction phase is done, I have the next 10 years to add details. It needs an anchor, a cannon that shoots tennis balls, some speaking tubes, a treasure map engraved into the floor, a larger ship's wheel at some point, a carved crocodile or skeleton figurehead (or maybe a crocodile skeleton?) and who knows what else.
Here's what it would look like if I flooded the backyard :)