Things To Consider

  • PVC pipe is surprisingly sturdy. I've had great results with 1" diameter (inner diameter) pipe.
  • PVC stays together with the force of friction. For my first ballpit, I bought PVC glue, but didn't end up using it. This allows for easy disassembly. One downside is that a joint might come undone every so often, but they are easy enough to pop back in.
  • Plan out how much PVC you need before you buy it. Keep in mind that you might need to buy an extra section.
    • Say you needed 3 6' pipes (18 feet in total). If you can only buy in 10' sections, the math would indicate 2 sections would be sufficient, when in reality you need three.
  • Corner pieces are not a common plumbing joint. To get them, your best bet is a PVC furniture website. I've been happy with DP's bargain basement. Make sure you are ordering them to fit the right size, as diameters listed can describe either outer diameter or inner diameter of the PVC pipe.
  • PVC Connectors will extend a dimension by 1.5-2 inches in that direction. As long as each piece in that dimension has the same number of fittings, they will cancel out. Using stabilization joints in the middle of a side will result in a ballpit that is slightly bigger. Though the ballpit gets slightly bigger, the difference is negligible when considering balls needed to fill the pit.
  • If you don't have a PVC cutter, Home Depot made all of the cuts for us for free. We bought the PVC, took it home, marked the cuts, and brought it back for them to cut.
  • I've considered many containers for ballpits. Specifically, I've looked into Tyvek, bedsheets, fabric, and mesh netting. The best solution I found was a tarp, such as one you would use underneath a tent to keep it dry when camping.
  • Putting the container on the inside of the ballpit brought the level up quite a bit, so that's a simple way to raise the overall depth.
  • Adding in a cross section will stabilize the pit further, but increase cost. If you choose to do this, you would also need t-shaped fittings (see upper right).
  • Balls are expensive. Generally, I was happy if I could get a ball for 10 cents.  Toys 'R' Us has free shipping on orders of this size. I was able to find packs of 250 for $20 at one point, but it does require waiting for a sale or coupon. Randall Munroe built a ballpit, and said he had good results with his balls from here.
  • Detailed construction of my ballpit
  • Selling a ballpit properly
  • How many playpen balls would it take to fill your apartment?

Ball Pit Calculator

Use the below calculator to figure out things like
Length: ft.
Width: ft.
Height: ft.
Length is of PVC pipe only, not including fittings.

Packing Efficiency: % (?)
Ball Depth: ft.
Ball Radius: in.
Cost per ball: $

Cost per Foot PVC: $
Cost per corner piece: $
Cost of tarp: $

PVC Needed:
Balls Needed:
Total PVC Cost: $
Total Corner Cost: $
Total Ball Cost: $
Estimated Cost: $

# Item
' PVC Pipe
' PVC Pipe
' PVC Pipe
3-Way PVC Connectors