Learn how to build a tiny house – on your own time and at your own pace

This comprehensive online program is like a toolbox that’s full to the brim! It covers: tool use and construction basics, natural building techniques well-suited for tiny houses, systems like electrical and plumbing, and how to save money on your build. You’ll learn how to design your tiny house, decide whether to build on wheels or on a foundation, what regulatory constraints may apply to you, and more. Plus, you’ll get a clear understanding of energy-efficient options like passive solar design and solar electric.

The basic steps of how to build a house are the same, no matter its size. We explain and demystify this process so that you can truly understand and feel confident embarking on your own build. 

Man playing banjo outside tiny house

  •  On demand, go-at-your-own pace content library 

  •  Unlimited lifetime access 

  •  Comprehensive, yet down-to-earth, with a touch of humor 

  •  Appropriate for all skill levels 

What our students say

Let’s build homes with beauty, individuality, ecology, and empowerment at the foundation. 

woman standing in front of rough window opening in tiny house

Imagine yourself in a living space of your own design, built by your own hands, in a way that reflects your personal style and unique needs, possibly even made of beautiful materials straight from the earth. Not only that: in this dream-home, you get to steep in a sense of satisfaction and confidence, knowing that you have the skills to provide elegant shelter for yourself and others. This doesn’t have to be just a dream!

Bucking the trend of cookie-cutter behemoths

Right now, you probably live in a house or apartment that you had nothing to do with designing or building. If it is conventional construction, it was likely made in a way that was harmful to the earth. And you may or may not love the way it looks, feels, and functions. 

Tiny House Interior Building Class

The fact is, most of the houses built in the US these days tend toward the bloated and the cookie-cutter. Indeed, the size of an average single-family home is over 2,000 square feet, almost double what it was in 1960. These houses are generally built very quickly, cheaply, and poorly, and won’t last nearly as long as the simple, well-built homes of the past. 

What’s more, many of the mass-produced industrial building materials that go into new homes levy a heavy tax on the earth. This happens through initial resource extraction, toxic processing, waste, and overall carbon emissions throughout manufacturing.

If the global cement industry were a country, it would be the world’s third largest carbon emitter, topped only by the US and China. 

woman sitting on deck in front of tiny house on wheelsAll of these ecological ills, combined with the sheer size of modern houses, end up leaving a big, ugly footprint on the beautiful and generous Earth, and are a significant contributor to climate change.

You have the choice to do things differently. 

But can you really imagine yourself as a home-builder?

Even as you feel inspired to create a home for yourself that’s aligned with your values, when you think of a carpenter, do you imagine a big white dude swinging a hammer? Have you ever seen someone who looks like you, who you can identify with, building their own home? 

tiny house class student using angle grinder

Unfortunately, in this culture, one subset of men tend to dominate the field of building. Folks who identify with them tend to grow up with a greater sense of confidence with tools, thus perpetuating a discouraging narrative about who can and can’t build things.

Let’s disrupt that outdated story, and together, write a new one.

We’ve taught hundreds of people how to build.

Women's tiny house class studentd

Anyone with a deep desire to build can learn how to do it. We know this from experience, because over the last 10 years we’ve taught hundreds of people, mostly women, these skills. During each class, we’ve seen folks transform from newbies who are timid with the tape measure, to confident, budding carpenters. 

The key is giving clear, detailed instruction in a space that feels welcoming and comfortable, and inviting any and all questions that folks have. 

Women using jigsaw to build tiny house

Some of our students have never picked up a carpentry tool before, while others have been contractors looking to broaden their skills and learn something new. They’ve been chefs, freelance writers, engineers, lawyers, nurses, physicians, full-time parents, and others, with ages ranging from 14-74. Many have identified as women and/or femme, and have been thrilled to finally learn in an environment where they’re at the center. 

Gain the confidence to design and get started building your beautiful, ecological tiny house from the ground up, with your own hands..

What’s Included – How to Build a Tiny House

This is a comprehensive course, probably the only one you will ever need. We cover the steps of how to build a tiny house, or any small house, plus lots of bonus material, too. Videos include clear and thorough lectures, hands-on demos, diagrams, humor, and personality.

Keenan Phillips

This course is divided into 10 modules. There are dozens of actual video lessons within each module. We invite you to watch sequentially, or to skip around to whatever is most relevant to you at the moment. At the beginning, you’ll find a class on how to use the course. There, we give suggestions about where to start and how to proceed, given your experience level, interest, and projects.

Closed Captioning Provided

Closed captioning is provided in the online Tiny House Academy. When we add new video lessons, our transcriptionist will complete closed captioning within one month of publishing.

tiny house build in process

1. Big Picture

How to Use This Class ✦ Tiny Houses on Wheels vs. on a Foundation ✦ Lumber Choices ✦ How Big To Go? ✦ Simple and Sustainable Living in a Tiny House

tiny house on wheels built by carpentry students

2. How to Build a Tiny House: Step-by-Step Overview 

Steps of Building a Building ✦ Foundations ✦ Stick Framing and Wall Construction ✦ Roofs ✦ Special Construction Considerations for THOW and THOF

designing a tiny house

3. House Design

Designing Your Tiny House ✦ Designing with the Sun ✦ Passive Solar Design

woman using impact driver to build tiny house

4. Tools of the Trade

Introduction to Tools ✦ Measuring and Marking ✦ Power Tools: Chop Saws, Circular Saws, Table Saws, Jig Saws, Impact Drivers, Drills ✦ Plumb, Level, and Square ✦ Framing Square ✦ Hammer and Nail Guns ✦ Hand Tools

ladder and framed wall in tiny house

5. Rough Construction

Getting Started on a Foundation: Finding Square with Batter Boards ✦ Concrete Pier and Footer Foundation ✦ Framing Floors ✦ Framing a Floor on a Trailer ✦ Framing Walls ✦ Framing Roofs & Venting ✦ Window and Door Installation ✦ Metal Roofing Installation ✦ Soffit and Fascia ✦ Siding ✦  Stairs

electrical outlet in tiny house

6. Utilities and Systems

Basics of Electrical: Theory and Installation ✦ Solar Electric for Tiny Houses ✦ Basics of Plumbing, Drainage, Water Supply, and Water Heaters ✦ Fuel/Gas Overview ✦ Toilets ✦ Bathtubs/Showers

door trim in tiny house

7. Finish Work

Hardwood Floor Installation ✦ Drywall ✦ Interior Trim – Windows and Doors

adding roof rafters to a tiny house

8. Legality and Costs

Legal Considerations for Tiny Homes ✦ Budgeting 101 ✦ Top 10 Ways to Save Money When Building a Tiny House

sculpting cob during natural building class

9. Natural Building and Ecological Construction

Introduction to Natural Plasters (Clay and Lime) ✦ Naturally Built Wall Systems ✦ Cob ✦ Regenerative Timber Harvesting ✦ Milling Your Own Lumber

tiny house builder in front of his tiny house on wheels

Bonus: Tiny and Not-So-Tiny Tours

Not-So-Tiny Log Cabin with Additions ✦ Two-Story 12*12 Writers Retreat ✦ Whimsical and Artsy Tiny House on Wheels ✦ Tiny Family Home with Lots of Repurposed Materials ✦ Tiny House on Skids, Built During One of Our In-Person Classes ✦ Spacious Tiny Home for Two on Wheels

Discount on in-person building classes with Wild Abundance

When you enroll in the online Tiny House Academy, you’ll also get a coupon for $200 off our in-person tiny house building class.

Education on how to build a tiny house for all experience levels

Tiny House Instructors

Each of our modules is thorough, and designed to meet you where you’re at. If you are a beginning builder, you will likely watch all of the lessons, rapt, and take thorough notes. Our guess is that you’ll get really stoked on the tool and rough construction modules, which teach you the basics of getting started. Even if you choose to hire help with more advanced things, like plumbing and electrical, those videos will be useful, too. After watching them, you’ll have much more confidence when talking with any contractors you hire. 

If you have some background in carpentry or woodworking, you may not need to review the entire tool module, but you’ll be able to really dig your teeth into natural building and ecological construction, legality and costs, and utilities and systems. The steps of how to build a tiny house are the same, whoever you are, but the order of your learning and diving into doing it can be tailored to where you’re at.

tiny house class students using speed square 

There is so much rich material here that no matter your experience level, you will get a lot out of this course.

This tiny house course is for you if you:

tiny house class student using impact driver to put up siding

  • Get all tingly and excited when you imagine building a home with your own hands
  • Feel excited, but overwhelmed, about how to begin learning how to build a tiny house
  • Love working with your hands and building things, but never felt welcome or supported in the world of carpentry
  • Feel stoked to learn at your own pace, in your spare time, and be able to refer back to the material again and again
  • Want the flexibility to design and build based on your needs and budget
  • Are excited by power tools, but also intimidated by them, and want clear, thorough instruction on safe, effective use
  • Can’t make it to one of our in-person classes, but you’re drawn to how we do things and what we’ve got to share
  • Want to design your own space instead of downloading a cookie-cutter plan 
  • Want support with putting your vision into action
  • Care about the planet and want to build a house that incorporates natural materials and techniques

Please note: This building program is for folks in the US and Canada, or who have access to the tools and materials that are available here.

Because of the type of building taught, this class on how to build a tiny house is most appropriate for students in the US, Canada, and other regions that have similar material and tool availability Feel free to reach out to onlineclasses@wildabundance.net to help determine if this program is a good fit.

What Makes This Tiny House Course Unique

A Dynamic Learning Experience

Tiny house students and instructor raising a wall

This is not just a bunch of videos of people talking about tiny houses. Instead, it’s a comprehensive online education on how to build your own, from the ground up. We combine lecture-style instruction with plenty of diagrams and demos so you can see theories put into action. In fact, you’ll see several different styles and sizes of tiny houses under construction, giving you a breadth of examples to draw from. The result is an engaging program that shows you much of what it takes to build your own house, whether it’s a tiny house or not-so-tiny house, on wheels, or on a foundation. 

Not your typical construction workers…

If you’re tired of being “mansplained” to by well-meaning carpenter friends or sweethearts, or confused by DIY YouTubers with bad camera angles and poor explanations, then you’ve come to the right place! 

How students feel about the instructors

“It’s difficult to find people who are on this path, and seeing those who have done it outside of the traditional structures of society is really awesome.” ~ Kayla, Auto Mechanic, New Hampshire

“They really break it down and they talk to you at a beginner level, but not demeaning. I feel like I know them! They’re very open, cool and personable, very understandable and welcoming.” ~ Samantha, ABA Therapist, Illinois

online tiny house academy gallery of instructors

This program is taught by an enthusiastic, friendly, and unconventional team of instructors with various backgrounds and identities, led by women. Each of them brings a unique perspective, body of experience, and personality to the table. As a result, we’re confident that you’ll feel respected and welcomed, and you’ll get your questions answered, even the most basic ones. Throughout the video lessons, new vocabulary is explained, and demos and diagrams help make everything more clear. 

Think of this course as your gateway into a new world of building:

One where belonging is based on inspiration, enthusiasm, and a commitment to learning, not on how big your hammer is, or if you already know all the jargon.

Creativity is Queen

Tiny House interior with staircase

Everyone’s tiny home dreams — and needs — are a little bit different. To honor this, we explore a variety of options to help you work through what’s best for your situation, climate, and budget. Instead of laying out cookie-cutter designs and approaches, we teach you how to be your own designer. This way, you can feel empowered to customize your tiny house for your unique aesthetics, desires, creative inspirations, and lifestyle. 

Beauty ✦ Individuality ✦ Imagination

Resourcefulness ✦ Ecological Awareness

These characteristics of the lost art of home-building deserve to be revitalized! 

Realistic and experience-based, no claims of $300 tiny houses here!

Natalie outside of her tiny house

Your instructors have built and lived in multiple tiny houses, so everything you’ll learn in this class is based on real-world experience. As the tiny house movement has become more and more trendy, we’ve noticed articles and posts claiming that you can build a tiny house in a tiny amount of time and on a tiny budget. Seeing these makes us feel frustrated, because with all of our years of experience and various backgrounds, we just haven’t found that to be possible. 

Since we want people to succeed at building their own homes, it’s important to us to provide accurate information and clear guidance. This class will show you how to set realistic goals and walk you through the important steps to reach them.

Learn building skills that apply to more than just tiny houses.

Cabin-like Tiny house in the woods

You can apply many of the skills we teach in this course to lots of different kinds of building projects. Here are some examples of what we think you could bust out after moving through the lessons. The course doesn’t include step-by-step guidance on how to build these other projects, but it does teach you the foundational skills necessary for doing it:

  • Sheds (“she-shack”, “man cave”, wood shed, goat shed, etc.)
  • Outhouse
  • Wood-framing of a greenhouse
  • Doghouse
  • Kid’s play structure
  • Covered porch
  • Simple Gazebo 

Lifetime Access to Our Library of Resources

Online Tiny House Building Course on a computer, laptop or phone

This program can be watched, class by class, as a comprehensive building education. Or, you can think of it as a toolbox to help you manifest your dream of building a simple, sustainable home. Just reach in and grab what you need, when you need it, as many times as you want.

Personalized and Live Support

online tiny house academy instructing tiny house class students

You can ask questions in the online classroom, via the box provided below each video lesson. Your instructors will respond within a few business days. We’ll also be hosting monthly live Q+A’s via Zoom through, so that you can get answers to your burning questions in real time.

“Feedback from instructors has been really incredible. The responses that I’ve received from instructors have been really thoughtful, you can tell they took time to encourage in their comments.” ~ Anna

Start learning how to build a tiny house, so you can start building!

tiny house class student with sledgehammer

If you want to build a beautiful tiny or not-so-tiny house with your own two hands, there is no time like now to get started! The rewarding journey of home-building begins, like all journeys, with a single step. And while you may think that’s when you cut the first board, it’s actually when you begin to materialize a dream into an action plan. Giving yourself the gift of this course will help anchor your visions and aspirations into a concrete action step, and will guide you along the steps that follow.

Let’s build a world of beauty, sustainability, and style.

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t have any building experience, will I get anything out of this program?
The online Tiny House Academy course is designed to cover the bases, including the most basic carpentry skills. We walk you through tool use (including the carpenter’s pencil and tape measure), design, and the steps of actual construction. If you identify as female, trans, or nonbinary, and you’ve never picked up a carpentry tool in your life, we welcome you to check out our in-person Women’s Basic Carpentry classes as an adjunct to this program. However, with commitment and practice, the videos here will guide you toward competence, too.
Can I really learn how to build a tiny house online?
Yes! We’ve been teaching in–person tiny house building classes for years, and have seen folks from all different backgrounds, with all different skill levels successfully build their own tiny houses. What’s covered in the Tiny House Academy is similar to what we teach in-person, and covers even more topics and alternatives such as solar electric systems, passive solar house design, basics of electrical and plumbing systems. Plus, with the online format, you can refer back to lessons again and again. If you follow the lessons and put what we teach into practice, you can learn to build a tiny house online.
I’ve done some carpentry, will I get anything out of this program?
If you already have some carpentry experience, great! Unless you’re proficient with building houses from start to finish (including design), you will still learn a lot through this program. The Tiny House Academy includes thorough, in-depth coverage of rough construction and finish work, detailed demos of concrete footer & pier foundations and design all the way up to the rafters! Even if you feel competent with carpentry tools, you may learn better, safer, and more effective “proper” ways to use them, as well as some pretty cool tips and tricks and alternate uses from our very experienced teachers.. Plus, if you sign up and discover that it’s too basic for you (unlikely, unless you’re already a contractor), you can get a full refund within 2 weeks.
Can I learn tiny house design online?
Yes. Instructor Alex Henderson shares 8 lessons on design, including detailed guidance on creating your own sketches and diagrams. He’s an unconventional architect with a passion for design/build projects, permaculture, and place-based construction. In addition to these design-focused lessons, you get several virtual tiny house tours, which give you a sense of various layouts and designs in real space.
Can I start the Tiny House Academy at any time?
Enrollment is open during three annual enrollment periods. If you’re reading this in-between enrollment period, get on the waitlist to be notified when enrollment opens back up (waitlist folks often get special discounts, too). Once you gain access to the program, you can view videos and move through lessons at your own pace. You’ll have unlimited access to all the material, and can watch any lesson again and again.
Are there scholarships for the Tiny House Academy?
Yes! At this time, partial scholarships are available to anyone who feels they need one, just click here. In addition, we give out limited numbers of three kinds of full scholarships: one based on financial need; one for folks who plan to use this knowledge to benefit a larger community or organization (especially underserved communities); and one is a racial equity scholarship for African American and Native American students. The scholarship application can be found here (live during enrollment periods only).
What will I take away from this program?
In the Tiny House Academy, you can learn how to build a small, basic house or other structure. You’ll get step-by-step guidance on tool use, house design, basic construction, plumbing and electrical, ecological design like passive solar, overviews of several natural building techniques, information on legalities and costs of tiny houses on wheels and on foundations, plus not-so-tiny houses. You’ll also get tiny house tours. If you follow along with the lessons and put what you learn into practice, you’ll be able to design and build your own tiny house, plus do lots of other carpentry projects as you see fit.
Who teaches the Tiny House Academy?
The Tiny House Academy is taught by a dynamic team of instructors. Some are professional contractors, others are unconventional architects, and still others are DIY enthusiasts with a knack for teaching. We carefully select our instructors for skills and knowledge, plus clarity and accessibility in their teaching styles. Additionally, we strive to work with teachers of various identities (i.e. they’re not all burly white guys…no offense to burly white guys). For a full list of instructor bios for this program, scroll down.
How can I learn to build a tiny house online?
You can learn to build a tiny house online by watching videos, reviewing written material, then mimicking the steps that are demonstrated with your own hands, on your own projects. If you’ve got a carpenter buddy to join you in the journey, that’s great too. The Tiny House Academy is your one-stop shop for learning to build a tiny house online. We’ve created this program to be comprehensive, from tool use, to design, to the actual steps of building. Lessons are offered in clear video format, with each lesson organized in an easy-to-navigate online classroom. Some video lessons are accompanied by written materials for reference. You can review all the material as many times as you need so that it can truly be a companion as you embark on your own building projects.
Is this the best online tiny house course?
Well, not to toot our own horn, but as far as we can tell, this is the most comprehensive and versatile online tiny house building class out there. No other program we’ve found covers tiny houses on wheels and on foundations, includes natural building techniques and ecological considerations, and shows you how to use tools and do the actual building in detail. We’d love your input here, too; when you sign up for the Tiny House Academy, let us know what you think!
Is building a tiny house like building a regular house?
Building a tiny house includes most of the same steps as building a “regular” or larger house. Of course, if you build your tiny house on wheels, it will be different than building a regular house on a foundation. That’s why we include lessons on both in this program, so that it’s a more versatile and applicable resource for all your tiny and not-so-tiny house building needs. It’s important to note that legalities and permitting for a larger house may be quite different, so be sure to check in with your local authorities if you plan to build any permanent structure.
What is the best way to learn how to build a tiny house?
The best way to learn how to build a tiny house is the way that you will actually follow through on! Seriously, if you have time, money, and energy to dedicate yourself to apprenticing a tiny house builder, and you happen to have one nearby who is looking for help, go with that! If that’s not available to you, taking a class on tiny house building is the next best thing. Over our many years of teaching how to build tiny houses, we’ve found that the best way to learn is to soak up the theory, then put it into practice with your own hands. In fact, perhaps the most important step is putting what you learn into practice on your own projects. In lieu of having someone experienced by your side, we think taking an online tiny house building class and simultaneously working on your own tiny house can be a great way to learn.
Is it better to build a tiny house on wheels or on a foundation?
Tiny houses on wheels and on foundations both have advantages and disadvantages. One is not fundamentally better than the other, it just depends on your needs, budget, and circumstances. Put very simply, tiny houses on wheels are great if you plan to move your house frequently, while tiny houses on foundations make sense if the house isn’t going anywhere. Trailers can be quite costly, so choosing to build on a foundation, if you have a permanent place to put the tiny house, can save a good bit of money. Since both tiny houses on wheels and on foundations can be great, the Tiny House Academy includes lessons on how to build both.
Is this an interactive class?
This program includes a substantial library of on-demand material, plus access to your instructor for questions through the online classroom, and regular Q&A calls. We also strongly encourage students to share their stories, questions, and ideas with one another through the online classroom. In short, this class is as interactive as you choose to make it, with several opportunities to engage, while also being flexible and asynchronous to accommodate different schedules and lifestyles.

Instructors

Keenan Phillips

Keenan (he/him) had always dreamt of building his own home one day and finally embarked on that journey 6 years ago. It’s still a work in progress, but it caught the attention of friends and neighbors and resulted in the accidental creation of his small construction/renovation business, KSPhillips Contracting. He is now assisting a friend ...
Nadi

Nadi Mond

Nadi (they/them) has been on a quest to study traditional woodworking, metalworking and ancestral skills ever since leaving behind their Aerospace Engineering path in Germany where they grew up. While attending University in Germany they turned an old early 1900s circus trailer into their first tiny home they lived in for the duration of their ...

Danielle Swift

Danielle’s (she/her) career in construction officially started at 15 with a summer job as a laborer working for her uncle’s design/build firm in Maryland. She continued acquiring building experience and tools through college, ultimately graduating from SCAD with a master’s degree in Architecture and a dual BA in Architecture and Historic Preservation. She went on ...
Alex Henderson

Alex Henderson

Alex (he/they) has twelve years of combined architectural and construction experience working as a designer, educator, and builder. Alex received a Permaculture Design Certificate from Wild Abundance in 2019 and now runs a permaculture and architectural design practice called Somewhere Design.

Ella Scotto

Ella (she/her) took a carpentry class with Wild Abundance in 2017. After that, she bought an acre of land in Barnardsville, NC, and began building a house. For over a year, she worked with Barron Brown, learning everything she could about carpentry and construction. Ella is always eager to learn more, and is constantly honing her ...

Jeramy Stauffer

Jeramy (he/him) and his company, Nanostead, focus on small footprint homes and homestead design, including tiny houses on wheels and on foundations. He’s built and lived in many tiny homes, and teaches about building and living tiny, along with homesteading and sustainable living.
Rob Greenfield

Rob Greenfield

Rob Greenfield (he/him) is an activist and humanitarian dedicated to leading the way to a more sustainable and just world. He embarks on extreme projects to bring attention to important global issues and inspire positive change. His work has been covered by media worldwide including National Geographic and he’s been named “The Robin Hood of ...

Mollie Curry

Mollie (she/her) has been practicing natural building for about 20 years and is still in love with the mud! Natural paints and plasters are her favorite techniques, and she has plenty of “structural” experience with things like straw-bale building, earthbags, adobe, cob, straw-clay, and that most familiar of natural materials, wood. Besides building, she loves ...

Quetzal Jordan

Originally from British Columbia, Canada and raised in Tampa FL, much of Quetzal’s (she/her) time is currently spent side by side with Mel Chin a conceptual visual artist in Burnsville, North Carolina. Quetzal’s day to day experience consists of her making and installing sculpture art, utilizing such skills as carpentry, welding, masonry and basic construction. ...

Pricing for the Online Tiny House Class

One time payment: $697.00

Payment plan: $117 each month for 6 months

The following is included in registration: unlimited lifetime access to a well-organized and comprehensive library of video lessons, open invitations to all live Q&A sessions, one-on-one instructor support through the online classroom, live online orientation call with your cohort of students.

The following are included in the price of the course: instruction, optional camping, and facility use (kitchen, outhouse). Expect to receive a confirmation email immediately with all the information you need.

Click here to see our policies on refunds, payment plans, and scholarships.

You can also review our Frequently Asked Questions and current COVID policies