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.