Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tent Week, Day Four -- Twin-sheet Teepee Tent!

Allow me to introduce my sister-in-law Susan. She has been my partner in crime for dozens of sewing projects, and is quite the sewing genius! Today she is sharing her FABULOUS tutorial for How to Make a Teepee. Here's Susan:


You can't beat this tent for a great project. It looks great, fits more than one kid at a time, is easy enough for beginning sewers, it doesn't take all day to sew, requires no hemming (and has no raw edges!), it folds for storage, it is washable, and it only costs about $10 (maybe less!).

Oh Yeah, it's a good one.

Printable PDF instructions can be found here:
Page 1
Page 2

Follow along if you want the play by play tent making action!

To make one of these terrific Twin-sheet Tee pee Tents, all you need is:

~1- Twin sized flat sheet (must be the same on the front and the back as the wrong side faces out on the door flap)

~5- 6' pieces of 3/4" PVC, Dowels or Bamboo

~1- 25" piece of Rope, Twine, or a Shoelace

~Fabric, ribbon, etc for additional details (such as the door trim or flags on mine)

Definitely a great green project if you recycle an old sheet and use bamboo. Fabulous.

Start by laying out your Twin sheet. (Walmart's are my favorite and cost $4. They are wide and a little stiffer. Use cotton or cotton blends-microfiber sheets are not so friendly. This pink one was thrifted for $2.) Cut out according to the measurements found in the PDF instructions. They are long lines, so have a good marking tool (I love Dritz chalk rollers-the ones that look like lipstick tubes) and something long and straight handy (I had a skinny 6' Ikea box on hand. My husband mocked me for not using the PVC poles as my straightedge. They looked bendy to me. Whatever works for you.)

I added my door trim here-I cut it 3' long and about 5" wide and wrapped it around the back a little bit. You don't have to add anything to the door, but I like how it looks.

Overlap your two smaller triangle pieces (the smaller will be facing wrong-side up), matching the top points and keeping it even down the center seam (mine overlapped 5"). Either piece can be on the top. Your preference. I did the smaller piece on top here. The PDF instructions show the larger piece on top. Pin it together and mark a line 3' up from the bottom (this will be the top of the door). My trim kindly marked the 3' line for me. Cut off the top overlap using the bottom layer as your guide.

Baste the layers together along the out edge, then secure the two layers together by stitching down the middle, then across once you reach your 3' mark. (I zig-zag stitched this and added some reinforcing stitches on the edges as this gets pulled on a lot).

On all 5 triangle pieces (including your door piece that we have been working on), measure down 9" from the point on each side and cut off the top.

Along the top of your pieces, finish the edge by folding under 1/4" and then again 1/4" and stitching it down. (No, my pieces are not perfect. I can not be your role model) You are now finished with the only hemming/edge finishing you have to do on the entire project!!! Aren't you excited!!!!

With right sides together, connect all 5 of your triangle side pieces by sewing a 1/4" seam down each side. Since this is on the diagonal, it is a little stretchy and you can use this stretch to tweak the seams to match up nicely as you reach the end (the top of the tent). Iron this seam open. Yes, they are looooong seams. This is the only reason this tent takes any time at all to sew!

Turn your tent right side out. (pause to admire how well you are doing) Now you are going to make the pocket for your poles. With wrong sides now together (and your previous seam sandwiched inside), stitch all the way down the sides again, this time 1 1/2" away from the edge (this is for the 3/4 PVC I used. If you are using something different, you will need to measure to see how wide your pocket needs to be). You can mark this, or cheat and put a nice piece of painters tape on your sewing machine to use as your guide as I did. You will also need to stitch across the bottom of the pocket to keep your poles from popping out-I did it here at the beginning before I started up the side. Keep your large pieces as flat as possible on your table and pin a lot so the fabric doesn't start to bunch up. This is the hardest part.

When you are done the top of your tent will look something like this. Guess what? You are done sewing! Yeah!

Your poles should be about 6' long. My local Lowe's only sells 5' or 10' lengths (they came in two different thicknesses-I chose the thicker for about $.10 more) I used our pipe cutter to cut it down to size. Lowe's will cut it for you, or you can use just about any saw. You will also make a mark 12" down and drill a hole through the middle of each pipe that is wide enough to accommodate whatever rope you are using.

Insert your poles into the tent. Do not tie the poles together first. You will regret it. After the poles are in, tie them together, leaving some slack. If they tied together too tight your tent will not spread out all the way. I tied a nice little bow until I knew it was working well (This is rope I picked up at the dollar store for another project. It works great). You can finish off your PVC by buying a cap to put on top (about $.25 each), painting the poles, sewing sleeves, or you could sew flags like I did (it's my favorite part and takes about a yard of material).

And Voila!!! You are done! Wasn't that easy!

It's great for one kid to have a special place.

And there is room for a party!

And of course it is easy to fold up and store.

In fact, this project was so easy, you should make another! They are fabulous gifts and just think of how you will look when you come in carrying a giant present that will be the hit of the party. Yeah, you are just that cool.

Add your own ideas to the mix with great fabrics, pockets (its hard to see but the green tent has two pockets in the back), windows, mail slots, giant logos (my husband wants an obnoxiously BYU tent for our house), or whatever else your child needs or wants. I would love to see pictures of what you create! I hope you enjoy!


Leslie said...

this is all are so kids would love this

Jess- said...

You are the coolest mom ever!!

michelle@somedaycrafts said...

Another amazing creation!

Melissa said...

I am LOVING tent week! I can't believe that I purchased a pattern a while ago to make a tent just like this one today! Maybe I can still return it and just buy a sheet instead! Did you buy the pipe cutter at Lowe's too?

CraftCrave said...

Thank you! This blog post will be advertised on CraftCrave in the Handcraft category today (look for timestamp: [18 Feb 01:00pm GMT]).

JustameR said...

I love tent week. Just two weeks ago I was talking about how I wanted to make my son a teepee

Jen said...

Wow, now my cheapo store bought teepee looks like crap compared to these!!! Every kid loves a teepee :)

Very Verdant said...

Yet another summer project! My youngest two are going to love these!

Nikita Hengbok said...

Coolest mom indeed! :D

little bird said...

really cute


e_donaldson said...

This is too cute! Thanks so much for sharing!


AtomicYoghurt said...

Hi I am loving this teepee I HAVE to make it, but I am from the UK and have a stooopid question for you. What is a twin sheet? I see it is 8ft long, but how wide is it? I'm just not sure if it is what we call a double, or a king-size...or something else!


loving your work!

Care said...

Hi AtomicYoghurt!

A twin bed is the same as a single bed -- and the dimensions for a twin flat sheet are usually 66" wide x 96" long.

Hope that helps! :o)
Care. said...

Your next tutorial needs to be a time machine because I want to make one of these for my five year old self SO. BAD.

Whatever Dee-Dee wants said...

Thanks for the tutorial!

Ginger said...

Way to awesome ! Thank you so much for the tutorial.
Enjoy your day!

Kimberly said...

That is so cool. I liked the other tents too but some of them looked like a ton of work -- this is perfect!

Skebba said...

Wow, this looks so easy, and so fun. I best not let the kids see this though, as it would be constant nagging until I was able to make one.

Thanks for answering the q. about the twin being same as a single bed sheet as well. 'Twas confused for a bit!

Kerri said...

Thanks so much for the tutorial! I have already made a teepee for my son's upcoming 4th b-day. It was super easy. I didn't have a twin sheet on hand, so I just used some camo fabric I already had. It required just a little bit more finishing of raw edges, but not much at all really. I plan to make these for all the little kids we know whenever the occasion arises!

For the flags, do you make a sleve with a flag attached to it, or do you use dowel rods? I couldn't tell from your photos.
Thanks, Kerri

Susan said...

Hi Kerri!

I made the flags by sewing two pieces of fabric together (sewn right sides together, than turned and topstitched) leaving a hole in the bottom and sewing 1 1/2" inches in on the side to create a pocket for the rod, just I did with the tent. They just slip on the top! I can send you pics if that doesn't make sense.

Hope that helps! Send pictures! Or post to the flickr group! I would love, love, love to see how yours turned out!


Joni said...

This is so fun and simple! A friend of mine is moving her son into a big boy bed and wanted to have a tent over it to make it fun. Would a crib mattress fit in there? Thanks for sharing the tute!!!!!

Care said...

Hi Joni,

Unfortunately, it wouldn't...

Good luck with your bed tent search! :o)

Autumn said...

Thank you soo much for this great tutorial!

I just finished this tent in time for my youngest daughter's 2nd birthday. It was quite the hit! I blogged about it here:

Thanks again!

Raisah said...


Here is my tent! ^_^

Thanks for the tutorial!! :D

katie k said...

A friend told me about this tent. My daughter LOVES it! Thanks for the tutorial :)

Here's my tent:

Julie said...

Adorable! What a good idea. Thanks for sharing. I'll post mine when I finish it.

my-baby-NV said...

love, love, love it. thank, thank, thank you from both me and my lil man. Quick question- maybe it's right in front of me- do you have a tut for flags and pockets for it?

notorious A.N.A. said...

Hi, I was wondering what are you recommendations to make a larger tent, possibly for 6 children? I want to try sewing one for a slumber party and wondering about the height of the sticks as well as the measurement of fabric. Thanks for your help!

nannergirl said...

Thank you!!! I just googled 'kids teepee' and got your tutorial. This is what my daughter has asked for for Christmas (and our local toy store has a cute one for $200!). This is a great and easy to follow tutorial - thanks for sharing :)

Cecilia said...

Hi Susan! I tried to make the tent last night, but I am STUMPED with the front triangle and the door! It has to do with the wrong side / right side of the fabric. When I stitch it one side is the back of fabric and one right. When I flip it over it's the same problem (obviously). I know I am probably making a very dumb mistake, but am I supposed to stitch it together and then flip it over? I tried it with the trim as per yours, maybe my trim is on the wrong edge? What am I doing wrong? Pleeeeease help!

Cecilia said...

Hi! Me again. I just realised that the panel is SUPPOSED to face wrong side out. In my stubborn mind I kept on thinking it is INITIALLY the wrong way and then somehow supposed to flip to show the right side. :/ I must be very talented, because I ended up with 6 panels, not 5, and 6 sticks! (I thought I lost the one panel and then made another one, facing the right way out this time, without realising the 'missing'door panel was already sewn onto the other wall panels. So now it stands a bit wonky. Oh well, a bit of undoing to do tonight! I turned a four hour project into a three nighter! Anybody should be able to do better than me! LOL!~ :)

Lindsey said...

How do I find the PDF with directions to cutting the sheet? I have the materials and so excited to make these for my boys!!!!

Katie said...

Thank you so much for this post, I just finished (the sewing part) making one for my girls for Christmas. I am more excited about giving it to them than anything else! I'll try to post pictures of the finished product (if I can figure out how) but it will probably be after Christmas when the girls have seen it.

Coco said...

Thanks for the instructions. I'm going to try to make one.

Tara said...

Thank you so much for your instructions. I don't see anywhere on here where there are pdf instructions. Just wondering if you can help me out. :) Thanks!

Emily TerAvest said...

I just finished my teepee. Here is a picture I cant wait till my nephew gets it.

Mariah Gonzales said...
Here is the Teepee I just made for my son. I'm going to make another one to give as a gift. this was so easy and turned out just as I hoped!!

Gregory Presley said...

You have such a great skills, I really like it. If i talk about myself then I just used some camo fabric I already had. It required just a little bit more finishing of raw edges, but not much at all really. I would like to say Thanks for sharing it. Good job done.
Towelling Bathrobe

Leslie Basye said...

Question...why is my fabric sliding down the PVC pipe at the top? Am I the only one who is having this problem?? Is there a way to fix it quickly? Thanks!!

Care said...

Hi Leslie,

Here's what Susan says: "Ours sometimes slides down a bit when it's not spread out tight- but not bad enough that I ever thought it needing fixing... maybe stitch the opening a little tighter at the top? I love that people are still making them!"

Hope that helps! Good luck!

Grace said...

Great post with complete information and presentation love the idea you write about your post. I would love to write the post like this on Sheets.

Charlers John said...

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