I’m so excited to be sharing this with you today. All of you who follow along with me on Instagram know that this was a project I was s-u-p-e-r excited about.
And now it’s all done and dusted I can finally share all that DIY play tent goodness with you.
If you’re anything like me you’ll be scouring Pinterest for some satisfying and easy makes. Some easy homemade wins. If that’s you and are looking for some pint-sized inspiration, why not give this easy DIY a whirl?
It’s a tent.
And… it”s a super easy make. The perfect trifecta.
So, I can see how it all might look a bit intimidating, but honestly it came together in an afternoon. It’s basically a bit of sawing, some measuring, and sewing up a few straight lines. Simples.
Because I know how busy we all are I made this tutorial as easy and fuss free as humanly possible so anyone can join in on the play tent love (though, the bambino prefers playing with the washing machine to playing in his play tent – go figure!)
How to Make a DIY play tent
This teepee makes a toddler sized play tent, but you could easily adjust the sizes to make out bigger.
(our play tent is about 1 metre square – 5 panels of 50 cm arranged in a pentagon).
For the fabric panels you will need:
3 – 4 yards of fabric
A marking tool (like chalk or a fabric pen)
Bias tape (bought or self made)
A sewing machine
Making the panels
1. Start by cutting your panels. For my 5 sided play tent, I cut 5 panels. Each panel was a trapezoid shape, with a base of 57 cm base, a top of 13 cm and the side length was 84 cm.
I measured and marked the first panel straight onto my fabric. I cut this out and used this as my template for all 5 panels. But you could draw your template onto paper and use that as a template.
I chose to cut 4 panels from some lightweight canvas fabric I had bought agrees ago from IKEA. I wanted one panel to be a bit more jazzy, so I cut one panel from a more decorative quilting weight fabric I had in my stash.
But you could go all jazzy, or keep it nice and neutral. Heck, it’s your play tent.
2. Create an opening in the front of one of your fabric panels. Make the opening 29 cm tall and centred it along the base of your panel.
3. (optional) I chose to cap the top of my plain canvas panels with some of the more decorative fabric. It was a bit more work, but totally worth it.
I measured and marked the first cap straight onto my fabric. It measured 25 cm at the base, 13 cm at the top and had a side of 19 cm. I cut this out and used it as a template for the remaining 3 caps.
With the right side facing up I folded the panel under by 1 cm along each edge and gave it a good press. This his ask the raw edges from view.
I placed the cap on the main panel so the pressed edge of the cap matched the raw edge of the panel. Right side of the panel to wrong side of the cap. I sewed around the cap, sewing 1 cm from the edge of the fabric.
Attaching the panels together
4. Place two of the panels, wrong sides together, matching the raw, long edges at the side. Sew this edge using a 1 cm seam allowance.
Repeat so that all 5 panels are attached (but do NOT close the pentagon yet).
Hem the top of the play tent by folding the raw edge under by 1 cm, and then folding over by 1 cm again. Sew the hem by sewing 1 cm from the top edge.
Repeat step 9 for the bottom hem.
Now close up the play tent. Place the two panels that have not been sewn together so that the wrong sides are together and the raw edges of the long sides are touching.
6. Finally, you need to create channels for the poles to go into. Do this by folding the play tent along one of the long side seams, right sides together. Sew 2.5 cm from the edge of the fold. Repeat this for all the long side seams – 5 in total.
To finish your DIY play tent you will need:
5 wooden dowels – these are 4 cm wide dowels.
1 metre rope/string/cord (I used suede cord to go with my natural play tent vibe)
the fabric play tent (created in the above steps)
Finishing you play tent
Buy 3 x 2.5 m dowels and saw them in half. Sand down the ends so little fingers wouldn’t get splinters. Insert the dowels into the channels in the long seams of your fabric play tent. Finally, bring all the tops of the dowels together and tie them with the cord.
I’ve noticed the cord does slip a little, making the play tent a little droopy at times. I’ve been thinking it may work better if I drill some holes through the dowels and thread the cord through. I’ll keep you posted.