Sunday, 4 January 2015

DIY teepee!!

 Before I was even expecting Max I fell in love with the canvas teepees that you can see floating around Pinterest. I had visions of reading books with my little ones and playing imaginatively while being enclosed in our own special space. So needless to say, I could not wait to make one for Max, and our future kiddio(s). Since Max absolutely loves books (they are probably his most favourite thing) I thought he would enjoy having a special space in our living room to look through them. I also did this because our main floor is not entirely baby proof, so this way he has a safe spot to have fun.

This is the teepee I made for Max. I must say, I'm pretty darn proud of myself for taking this on.  Our living room does not always look like this. This was Christmas morning for Max. You see, the teepee was actually from Santa. Along with a popper, a new table and chair set and a Melissa and Doug construction puzzle.

There are so many different ways to make one. You can use different materials for the frame, you can sew your cover, or in my case if you are not a sewer, you can hot glue gun the hell out of it :) For mine, I used six, 1x2x8 pieces of spruce from home depot. Many people use pine, but spruce was cheaper and the sweet older man helping me told me it would not make a difference if I used the cheaper wood. I then had him cut a foot off each piece. You can leave the wood the full eight feet, but I choose to cut some height off because I did not want the teepee to be super tall. I then bought a 9x12 tarp, also from home depot and a spool of twine. 

Now comes time for the most challenging part. Which wasn't really crazy challenging at all. You drill a hole in each piece of wood about a foot down. You then feed the twine through each piece of wood. I had my dad who was down visiting help me shape how I wanted the frame to look. It is best to have an extra set of hands for this part. I pretty much put even spacing between all six pieces, except for the space I would be using as the door. I left the space between those two pieces larger.

side note- You have to build the teepee on carpet. When I brought the frame to a space that had hardwood flooring, prior to securing the tarp, the frame slid outwards. Carpet holds the frame in the shape you want, while you secure the tarp. After it is secure you can transfer it to a space that has hardwood flooring.

I then draped the tarp around the teepee. With the ends being at the opening of the teepee, I used two finishing nails to secure the tarp in place at the top of the teepee. The first cut I made was around the bottom, cutting off all of the access. The twelve feet was not enough to cover the last two sections of the frame beside the openings, so I used some extra fabric I had from Max's nursery curtains, to secure two side panels on either side of the doorway. I hope you can see what I mean by looking at the picture of the finished product. This worked out for the best, because it gave the teepee a pop of colour.

I then used many many large glue sticks, to hot glue the canvas onto the wood frame. I started at the back and glued from the top down, pushing hard on the fabric and holding my hand over top of the each freshly glued section to ensure the canvas would stick. Since the canvas has some weight to it, it would slide down a bit if it was not held in place. I made sure while gluing that the fabric between sections was pulled tight, so I would not have loose fabric closing in on the inside of the teepee.  I wanted the teepee to be taut, not billowy. When I glued the fabric to the canvas I folded a seam over  so the seam showing would not be frayed. I was unsure how this would look with using hot glue, if the glue would show, but it didn't and the transition from canvas to fabric is really nice and clean looking.

Since the canvas was long enough to wrap around the top section, but not the bottom section, the canvas comes up on an angle. You can see by the picture that this worked out to my advantage as when I fold it back it gives the appearance of door flaps!!

The top of the teepee was not very pleasing to the eye, so I found a scrap of fabric in the shape of a bandana and I tied this around the top. Some people glue a ribbon with a feather attached to it, hanging down from the opening. I opted out of this, since my cat thinks that every cave-like space in the home is his, and I did not want to give him any more reason to own this space ;)

With the leftover fabric I cut out out individual shapes and glued them on the back of the teepee just for added effect.

And there you have it!!! A teepee built for a Max :) :) I was cliche and bought the $16 faux sheepskin rug that everybody buys from Ikea for their teepee. I couldn't help it though, it makes the space soooo cozy :) I then grabbed one of the million baskets we have in the house and loaded it up with some of Max's favourite books, and a sock puppet for some extra teepee giggles.

This project looks challenging, but I promise it isn't. From start to end it only took about 1.5 hours, and the beauty of it is there is not one specific way to make it. So have fun with it and make it your own! 

As an extra, these are Max's favourite books.

He loves to empty the box and then flip through each one. I had to crease all of of the books since they are small for his hands. This way he can flip the pages easier. His favourite is the 'S' book because it has a snowman on the last page, and for some reason snowmen make this kid grin from ear to ear. It's pretty adorable. He is also in love with 'Pajama Time' by Sandra Boynton, and 'Tickle' by Leslie Patricelli . She also has the Christmas book 'Fa la la' which he loved flipping through during the holidays. I think it is because he relates to the main character in those books ;)

Happy teepee building! If you use this tutorial I would love to see your finished product!!

~ K


  1. I am so glad you posted this! I am going to give it a try!

    1. Awesome can't wait to see yours!! :)