If you’ve spent more than five minutes on Instagram or Pinterest in the past 12 months you’ll know that your child needs a teepee. It’s not really an option. A teepee is a standard item for kids rooms in 2015. Everyone knows this. They are as essential as shadow boxes and felt ball garlands.
Thing is, those teepees are frickin’ expensive. I mean, who has a lazy two hundo to drop on some sticks covered in fabric just so your child has a cosy “reading nook” in their ridiculously over-styled bedroom that they never actually play in because it must always be kept perfect for the dozens of photos you need to post on Instagram? Not me. My teepee fund is dry. But that doesn’t mean I’ll settle for a teepee-less room. What are we? Animals?
So I made one.
And if you own a sewing machine (or can borrow one) you can make it too. So bloody easy it’d be a crime to pay someone else.
BUT WAIT! You don’t have a sewing machine? Don’t leave me! Stay with me! You can still have your own decorative, native american reading nook. I’ll show you how to do a no-sew version at the end.
What you’ll need:
Sticks. Specifically dowel. Get yourself to the hardware store (try and avoid a certain hardware store on the outskirts of Canberra though) and grab some timber dowel that’s about 1.8m long and about 19mm diameter. It should be about $11 per piece of dowel.
I went with six sticks to make a hexagon shaped teepee. If I did it again, I’d probably go with five or even four. Six is a bastard to set up. You need about four hands to make it spread it all out.
Fabric. You’ll need about 4 or 5 metres depending on what size teepee you’re going for. I bought 5 metres.
Don’t be an idiot like me and get pretty linen fabric. Because your child will fly at the teepee like a canon ball and within about four minutes the fabric will start to tear. Get something tough and durable like cotton drill or canvas.
Rope. Probably about a metre of any old rope will do it.
Get a responsible adult to drill holes through the top of your sticks. About 15cm down from the top. Now, I totally could have done this myself but my husband gets the sweats when I touch his tools. I tell him we’ll never make it on to The Block if he doesn’t let me learn. This does not convince him.
Thread your rope through the holes and tie it all up. Spread it out to make your frame.
Cut out your fabric. I cut triangles that were 60cm at the bottom and 6cm at the top and 140cm high.
If you wanted to do a pentagon (with five sticks. MATHS!) you can make the base a bit wider and the top a bit skinnier (perhaps 70cm at the base and 5cm at the top). With a square/four sticks, go wider again at the bottom.
Of course, that depends on where you’re going to put your teepee. You might want to check how it will fit in. I measured out some pieces of string and set up my hexagon to see how big it was going to end up.
Cut one of your panels in half to make your ‘door’.
With an extra piece of fabric, cut a panel for the top of your door. I wasn’t super exact with my measurements here. I literally just laid a piece of fabric over the top and cut it to the same size. (I ended up cutting pieces for all the panels to make it look even, but it’s not necessary.)
Sew all the pieces together. Pretty damn easy. It should end up looking like this.
Hem the top and bottom.
Add some ties to the inside to help keep the panels attached to the poles. I just used some bias binding.
Style the shit out of that teepee and take a hundred photos to post to instagram and Pinterest before your child destroys it.
BUT WAIT! You don’t have a sewing machine? Too easy.
Forget the fabric and the sewing and all that jazz. Just grab an old sheet and whack it around the sticks. I used a rubber band to hold it together at the top.
I’m not a frequent craft blogger but you can follow along with my insane family on Facebook or on instagram (I swear, you’ve been warned).
I usually just scan a tutorial for the pix and general idea but I read every word of this one! Great stuff! Thanks for the laughs.
A well informative article you have thanks for sharing.
I’m going to make a heart shaped teepee when dad gets home!
Can we see your finished work
I’m going to make a heart shaped teepee when dad gets home!
I just wanted to let you know I loved reading this. It was entertaining and informational. Boo to any “web trolls” (lol) that feel the need to tell you what to do on your own site! Keep it comin’, mama!!
Great tutorial! I bought wooden broom handles from my grocery store for less than 1 euro each. I might go buy a 5th one for visual appeal. I’ll definitely use canvas like you suggested
[…] tutorials given for both sewing and non-sewing options. Win-win at its best. Head over to The Thud for more […]
This is SOO awesome. Currently getting all the pieces I need for it. I’m thrilled you took the time to make this and share it as a post. Everywhere online they’re selling for £100-200. Insane…especially since I know how to sew. Can’t wait to show you the finished product.
[…] Kid’s Teepee | The Thud Need fabric? Craftsy has some great deals today ==> Check out their clearance […]
[…] https://the-thud.com/diy-kids-teepee/ […]
[…] Pinterest for a bit of inspiration and know-how. So many beautiful teepees out there! I found this blog quite useful for getting my head around the structure of a teepee, and I also found the teepee […]
Thanks Lauren, that’s really kind of you to share that and really appreciate your humour!!!!
[…] https://the-thud.com/diy-kids-teepee/ […]
Wish I had seen you post early have just made a 6 post teepee and it is a bastard to put up. Will solder on it will be fine.?
Sorry soldier on.
Thank you so much! It was indeed very easy to make! It looks sooooooo cool! Managed to get it done for less than 20 euros! Whoop whoop!!! I used bamboo sticks! Probably will have to start making a whole lot of them for my friends!
Oh that’s very clever. Bamboo sticks would look great!
I used a painters canvas (awfully healy but durable) and had to cut branches off a pussy willow tree. Couldn’t find dowls in 6’length so I knew I had to go into my woods to cut down little trees. Luckily I passed the pussy willow tree on my way to the woods and bam!…..almost every brance was exactly the right diameter, length and sttaight. However, I added width to the panels and screwed myself. I shouldn’t (obviously) have added to the top. It’s a nightmare but getting there. As an added personal touch, (this is for my 16m old grandson) I had all the parents and grandparents put their handprints on one panel and had them make up Native American names for themselves and hand printed those under their handprints. I’m also having all of his Aunts and Uncles do the same. I am Gramma Cathy Singing Butterfly. My husband is Grandpaw Brian KetchMFish…lol
Sorry….my typing was awful!
Oh Cathy that is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL idea I’ve ever heard! Now I want to go back and put handprints on mine!! I love that so much. A bit impressed you cut down your own branches!! Very industrious!
I love your idea with the handprints and names
Love your ideas. Too bad your vocabulary is so limited that you resort to the language you use.
Too bad you’re such a sanctimonious bore you feel the need to write narky comments on mummy blogs because you got all mortally offended by the word shit. I hope it made you feel like a great human!
I never follow or comment on “mom blogs”… I’m now obsessed with you. Lots of moms are crafty… With the internet Information Age, I yawn through most. What’s rare and beautiful here is that, not only are you a creative bombshell, I’m pretty sure that you’d be the best drinking buddy/wingman ever. Keep up the crafting, creating, AND cursing… This is your blog after all. Whenever I read comments like the above I think, “aww, poor web troll. There life must suck so bad if that makes them feel better…” HA! Thanks for this. Gonna try making for my sons 3rd birthday!
Bahahaha… Thanks Sam! I’d love to go drinking with you 😉 like, seriously. Can someone please pour me a drink? I feel like I’ve been breastfeeding for years. I NEED WINE
Love your ideas! Bloody love how “real” you are as well. Keep up the good work!
My hope of achieving anything DIY usually withers and dies 30 seconds after I type an idea into Google. Picture perfect parents in spotless Scandinavian styled homes hold my impetus for creativity under until it’s drowned with impossible expectations. Your style is unpretentious, you call it like it is and I still have enough hope in my soul to give this one a go. Thank you so much.
This is hilarious. Keep at it mama. I am making a teepee too!
I’m actually doing the
tepee love your instruction simple. the only thing how many years triangle you end up cutting, and I’m confused about the door you cut the two end triangle in half or you add one more triangle. also why the white top triangles look wider than 6 cm
Yep, cut the triangle in half xx
I have a question about your directions. I am going to make a teepee with only 4 sticks. Your directions are for 6 sticks. You included a variation for 5 sticks (( You wrote…..If you wanted to do a pentagon you can make the base a bit wider and the top a bit skinnier – perhaps 70 cm at the base and 5 cm at the top )). Then you say for a square/4 sticks, go wider again at the bottom. Do you mean wider at the bottom from the original 60 cm or wider from the 70 cm? And how much wider? Would the top stay at the original 6 cm? I just don’t want to start cutting out the fabric and then everything is out of whack. It would really clarify the cutting for me if you would please list the dimensions for all 3 teepees (4, 5 and 6 sticks). Production is on hold. I will be enjoying a cocktail while I await your reply. Thank you so much! Kate
I never received a reply so I just made a guess on the dimensions for the square/4 stick version. It turned out very nice. I attribute this to the fact that I have been sewing for over 40 years and was able to fill in all the missing blanks in the directions. Yes, these directions were simple, but at the expense of sufficient detail for a novice to easily decipher. But hey, you get what you pay for!
Kate, I’m sorry I didn’t reply to your comment sooner but I have two very small children and a sick father to care for and this post is almost 18 months old so I am not sitting around monitoring it for questions. The tutorial is for a hexagonal teepee so if anyone wants to alter the design, I guess that’s up to them to figure it out. I don’t really see why you feel it’s appropriate to become rude because I didn’t create a whole new set of directions for you – for free- because you wanted a different teepee.
Lauren: So sorry about your father. I hope he is on the mend. I’m sorry you interpreted my comments as rude. It was not my intention to be rude. My thinking when I asked for the square dimensions was that perhaps you had them available but just forgot to include them in your directions. I certainly didn’t expect you to sit down and come up with new directions. My comment about “you get what you pay for” was just that…no one should expect something that is free to be perfect or include everything detail. If I would have paid money for the directions…then yes, I would have expected more. I was able to figure out your directions and the teepee looks awesome. We are going to tie dye the teepee as the next step. Thank you for your directions. Well wishes to you.
So for us who haven’t been seeing for 40 yrs
Can you please share exact measurements for a 4 pole teepee please
Omg, I absolutely LOVE this! I need to make one for my daughter’s room! Love your honesty, keep it up!!
Thanks darling! xx
You are awesome!. Came across your DIY looking to make one for granddaughter. I actually starting laughing at your “style”. You made my day!! I think we all over-think a project and never get it done. I like your attitude of just plowing in and getting it done. Really, how hard is it?!
I had more fun reading than actually doing the teepee! Great job!
I’m only trainable , not educationable ? Did you make a total of 3 triangles?
Best. Tutorial. On. the. Internet.
I’m not a parent, but I’m a DIY soldier. I’m halfway through mine and it is going to by my nieces first birthday gift. This was SO EASY. The only hard part was converting metric to US’s BS measurements. MUCHO MATHS MAN.
I wish you had ten thousand more tutorials just so I could read them. I love the candor 😀 Thanks SO MUCH for doing this! If I can find you Insta handle, I’ll tag you fa sho 😀
Hmm, I probably could be quite helpful and add the imperial measurements, couldn’t I? But I really feel like you Americans need some tough love in this area. Catch up with the rest of the world, would you!
And I’d love to see any Insta pics. I’m @the.thud xxx
[…] The more the merrier! Invite the stuffed animal crew into your DIY teepee for an afternoon story time (via […]
Absolutely hilarious! Love the simple tutorial and will give it a go. Refreshing to laugh and realize I’m not the only mom who feels this way 🙂 Keep it coming!
Hilarious!! Absolutely loved reading this. Nice to know I’m not the only mother who thinks this way. Very refreshing, honest and funny, thanks x
Hey! I love this and I love your writing – so funny! My son and your son sound scarily alike on the destruction front. Just wondering – what did you allow for seams? 1-2 cms? Just working out as I might try sewing together and then sewing a feeder tube all the way down for the doweling….. Thanks!
Omg you are so funny! Love this!
“What are we, Animals??”
I died. HAHA Actually loled. You’re precious. Thank you for this outstanding tutorial.
Much love to you!
You are hilarious. I love the fabric you used. Do you know who made it?
Thanks Janet! I’m not sure who made it, I’m sorry. I just bought it at Lincraft.
[…] you can simply place in the corner of a room, ready for them to play in or read in. You could even make your own if you wanted! Don’t hesitate to get in with them from time to time – you’ll both have so much […]
how many panels of the triangle should I cut
Was googling how to make a teepee for my nieces Birthday – they are so expensive, and really how hard can it be??! I’ve got a week and haven’t touched a sewing machine for about 5 years but – when I came across this, it truly had me laughing out loud and has given me the confidence to go out there and and own that Teepee manufacture……. now to find a responsible adult for those pole holes……
I believe in you Brenda. You can do it! xxx
I think, this is a wonderful idea. My older daughter got a new sewing machine for kids. She’ll try to make this circle for her younger sister. Thanks for the post.
Oh I hope she has fun making it!!
i WILL style the shit out of my kids tee pee before she sees it. thanks for the practical advice. many tutorials don’t share that kind of in-depth knowledge on their projects.
I like to go the extra mile.
I’m totally making this for my 9 year old (I will make it on the larger side for her).
Bonus… I get to read directions that sound how I feel when making things.
– My daughter when my sewing machine isn’t working right, “Did you swear at it? That seems to help.. or at least make you feel better”
Swearing at machinery ALWAYS makes me feel better.
[…] Every kid needs a hide-out and this Teepee hits the spot, from The […]
[…] all over online and though we found some good options, I’m also entertaining the idea of making my own? We shall […]
So my daughter has to make a model teepee for a school project and I thought it would be fun to make one that she can actually fit in because…over achieving parent, duh. Came across your tutorial (thanks google!) and I’m pretty sure that I’ll be stalking the crap out of your blog now. Thanks!!
That’s a kickass school project! I hope it turns out brilliantly. Thanks for stopping by Duckie xxx
Yeah, so I’m a dude looking for how to make a teepee because I’m not letting my wife buy one from the catalog that just showed up. Too. Frickin. Expensive.
“What are we, animals?” This statement had me rolling on the floor . . . like . . . an animal.
Great instructions and hilarious humor. Like there’s another kind of humor besides the hilarious kind? Anyway, I’m trying to find a way to make it even cheaper by not buying fancy dowels. Maybe rip some 2×4’s on the table saw? Yeah, I’m cheap. But only in my woodworking. Jeez folks.
Thanks for your ideas.
Hobby lobby has wooden dowels for basically nothing
Love your post 🙂 we are not animals here either so i need to make this asap
How stable is it ? Does it topple over easily when he goes in, like if he wouldnt act like a cannon ball?
Not going to lie Iva, my child could make anything topple, so yes, it folds up and falls over when he runs in cannonball style. If he walks in like a normal human being and touches the sides, it’s fine 🙂
[…] https://the-thud.com/diy-kids-teepee/ […]
[…] DIY reading nook idea is a favorite with young readers: Assemble a teepee, fill it with some interesting books, and let your kids kick back in their own special reading […]
You are a crack up love your writing style!!!!! Can I be your friend hahaha
[…] Have a look at this one: https://the-thud.com/diy-kids-teepee/ […]
[…] Kids Teepee by The Thud – Teepees are the new puppet theater. Bonus? It will definitely keep the little ones occupied for a bit. 2nd Bonus? It’s also a nice spot to cuddle up and read a story. […]
Totally getting my husband onto this one (he is the sewer…go figure…he is also a tradesman…haha).
Thanks for sharing!!
Woah, this is just too clever!
I can sew, but I don’t have a machine. I’ve learned to love that WonderWeb iron-on-sew-magic-stuff. I bet that would work well here, too!
My boys will never have a teepee. They have the Ikea circus tent that’s currently upside down at the far end of the garden, wedged between two shrubs. Things don’t get treated too well here.
Your post however is a crack up. I think you have a niche in comedic DIY
Hahaha…. I can SO see that upside down circus tent. I’m sure it was very popular when you first got it though!!
You are just too funny (but educational)! I love it. I am so glad whenever someone includes a ‘no sew’ option. Sewing just does not work out for me. Or at least that’s what I think would happen if I actually tried 😛