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How to Make a Bucket Pulley System for a Kids' Playhouse

Alane Michaelson

A simple bucket pulley can feed a child's imagination in a playhouse or treehouse, and be a useful tool when parents need to do repairs on the structure. The delivery system can be used to hoist toys or tools to upper levels of a playhouse, or relay messages down to the world below.

A simple pulley makes it easier to haul things than dragging it up a ladder.

A bucket pulley works best when used in a treehouse or playhouse that includes a second floor or a loft, as the bucket travels from the ground floor and up. It is important to select a spot for the bucket pulley where children playing on the lower level and upper level can safely reach it.

  1. Mount the pulley to the playhouse where it will have a clear path to the ground. If there are no good spots for the pulley, nail a board that extends out from the playhouse near a window or opening. Cut 45-degree angles on both ends of the second board and nail it underneath the extension board and then to the house. This will support extra weight in the bucket.

  2. Feed the rope over the pulley and down to the ground. Tie one end of the rope to the bucket's handle.

  3. Screw a hook or O-ring to a wall of the playhouse to serve as the rope's anchor. You can anchor the rope to the lower or upper level of the playhouse.

  4. Tie the second end of the rope to the anchor with the bucket sitting on the ground and trim away excess rope. You can allow extra length for the rope if you desire, but this is the minimum length you need.


To haul heavy items, consider installing a compound pulley system that will lighten your load. These systems include multiple pulleys organized in a way to be more efficient.


It is dangerous for children to lean out of or play on high structures. Always supervise children when playing in a treehouse.