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10 Awesome DIY Cabin Projects

Just because you're away from home doesn't mean you have to give up your home improvements! Here are 10 DIY projects enhancing the character of your cabin and making seasonal maintenance easier.

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how to make a chair Adirondack style

Adirondack Chairs

Does anything symbolize a cabin getaway more than the classic profile of an Adirondack chair? And now you can make your own take on a DIY cabin classic with Family Handyman’s help. The project walks you through the planning, design and construction of your own chair, while still leaving room for artistic interpretation. For an example of how to bring your own vision to this classic design, check out this variation by one reader. And the curves the reader added to the design give the chair a softer feel, without sacrificing the timeless look.

If you have a special someone you’d like to curl up next to while enjoying the view from your cabin, consider building an Adirondack love seat.

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Backyard fire pitFamily Handyman

Classic Fire Pit

A bonfire is an integral part of the cabin experience. And there’s simply no better place to enjoy s’mores, roast hot dogs and tell the occasional spooky campfire story. Create a permanent spot for your family to gather around the fire with these plans for a DIY cabin fire pit made of bricks or retaining wall blocks.

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Family Handyman

Fire Table

Just imagine snuggling around this sophisticated fire table as the sun goes down, sipping a mug of hot chocolate or something stronger. And this intermediate DIY outdoor furniture project involves several skills, including woodworking, masonry, metalwork and some mechanical. It also needs some advanced tools and will cost between $700 and $825 to make.

The table features an inset burner with a hidden gas tank and provides enough heat to warm your hands, though probably not enough to fend off a chilly temperature.

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Protecting Your Cabin From Pests and Critters

As much as you enjoy getting away to your cabin, insects and varmints enjoy it even more. Help keep the peace inside your cabin by keeping pests on the outside. Depending on the location of your cabin, chances are you face a wide range of invaders, from spiders and ants to squirrels and possums. But most cabin owners have an ongoing struggle with one specific pest: the common field mouse.

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firewood Zhukova Valentyna/Shutterstock

Firewood Splitting and Seasoning Station

Whether your cabin has a log burning fireplace or you simply use wood for bonfires, a firewood chopping station keeps the splinters and swinging axes isolated to one spot. And a covered seasoning area protects your freshly split wood, letting it age and dry until it will burn hot and with less smoke when added to the fire.

Create a splitting station by leveling the ground to provide solid footing, and setting a wide, solid stump in the dirt. Next, place the logs to be split on the stump to raise them to a more ergonomic height and provide a safe backdrop if your swing goes wide.

A seasoning station takes a bit more work, but makes a great DIY cabin project. These stations can be as large or as small as you need, but all they really require is a roof and protection from prevailing winds. And for a robust seasoning shed that will protect your wood for years and look attractive while doing so, follow the steps in this outdoor storage locker tutorial. Simply leave off the doors to keep stocking and removing wood easily.

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cabin covered in winter snow

Closing Up the Cabin for the Winter

All good things must come to an end, and that includes camping season (unless you’re lucky enough to have a four-season cabin, of course). When it’s time to close up your cabin, make sure you won’t come back to animal infestation or frozen pipes.

The exact actions you need to take to close up your cabin will vary according to the temperature range in your area. But with a little bit of planning and preparation you can make your shutdown procedure as painless as possible.

Once you’ve made your seasonal shutdown a routine, you’ll be much less likely to skip a step — a decision that you may end up regretting a few months later.

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treehouse building tips Vertical Horizons Tree House ParadiseVertical Horizons Tree House Paradise

Adding a Tree House

For a bit of added whimsy, consider giving your cabin retreat a secret getaway of its own. A tree house near a cabin provides a fun play space for kids of all ages. And is a chance to pass on your hard-won DIY cabin skills to the next generation.

And whether you choose to make a simple platform or a full-on tiny house, you’ll be creating a place of fun and freedom in the branches of tree.

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outside wooden chairs and benches for trails

Trail Bench

Chances are that your cabin has a set of trails and walkways surrounding it, either public or of your own making. And building a bench as a rest spot or at a particularly nice lookout spot can give hikers on the trails a chance to catch their breath and enjoy the view.

A bench can be pre-assembled or be built in sections, ready to be secured on-site. And the bench featured here is portable and can be easily relocated. If you want a more solid, permanent solution, check out these plans for a campfire bench.

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FH08MAR_486_05_M01 outdoor showerFamily Handyman

Outdoor Shower

There are two types of cabins that greatly benefit from an outdoor shower enclosure: cabins without running water and those close to the beach. And for the former, an outdoor shower gives campers a chance to cool off and feel more civilized. For the latter, a quick rinse outdoors is the best way to remove sand and debris off the beach before it’s all tracked indoors.

Regardless of which category your cabin falls, you and your cabin-mates will be more likely to use an outdoor shower if there’s a measure of privacy. And a shower enclosure is a quick DIY cabin project that will add a bit of luxury to your stay and help keep sand out of your sheets.

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elm branch coasters

DIY Cabin Décor

Whether your cabin is rustic and isolated or state-of-the-art and filled with friends, provide a unique experience by reflecting the outdoor setting within your interior decor. And most cabin owners prefer to embrace a farmhouse style. But those whose cabin escapes are centered on lake recreation or hunting might opt for DIY cabin decorations that reflect those passions.

Dan Stout
Dan Stout is a freelance writer and author based in Columbus, Ohio. Dan's non-fiction has appeared on numerous sites and in print, while his prize-winning fiction has been featured in publications such as Nature and The Saturday Evening Post. He is the author of The Carter Archives series of noir fantasy thrillers from DAW Books.

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