I made this toddler teepee for H last Friday. You might have seen my Happy List post which mentioned it, well, sorry for the delay, here are the instructions on how to make a toddler teepee play tent yourself! This is something I’ve been thinking about making for a while and finally went for it. It turns out it’s actually really easy to make a teepee, and even easier if you have two adults to help. I didn’t, but seriously, there isn’t much to this one, I threw it together in the spur of the moment, so it really is easy to make, and definitely a DIY teepee. I tried to make it as easy and quick as I could so I can modify it later if needed.
Instructions: How to make a teepee for a toddler!
- A king size duvet cover
- 6ft garden sticks (or doweling!)
- string or ribbon
- needle and thread
- sticky tape (or any kind of tape that will hold the sticks together
Notes on supplies: I chose the pack of sticks that were thickest and straightest.
Making the teepee
Firstly plan out your teepee size. I used the square tiles on our kitchen floor to make it square. Lightly tie the top of the sticks around 20cm from the top, and spread the bottoms out to make the teepee shape, with a base of your chosen size.
Once it’s in place, wrap your string very tightly around the sticks to hold them in place. Then I used tape around the top of the sticks where they converge, taping in and around them too so that you cover all angles. It was surprisingly strong after adding the tape – make sure it’s tight and wraps around all the poles and in between them.
2. Drape your fabric
Take the duvet cover and hold one edge around 30-40 cm from the corner. Hold it to the top where the sticks converge and drape the side of the duvet down the stick, allow a bit of overlap to form a door on the front. Then throw the rest of the duvet around the side, while holding that front piece firmly. Make sure the edge falls to the floor!
I say to leave 30-40cm from where the sticks converge so that you have a section of duvet that will go over the top of the sticks. To get it to fit on my 1m x 1m teepee I had to use the duvet at an angle. I think the duvet has to be at an angle to get the doors falling nicely at the front.
I also tried finding the middle and draping it from the back. However you do it just make sure you hold the top of the duvet and gather it round (holding it tight as you wrap it round so that it is neat. Also make sure to nudge the sticks back into place if they move. It’s a bit trial and error. Having two adults doing this would probably make it much easier!
I guess you could also use a kingsize flat sheet as it would be slightly bigger.
3. Secure the fabric
When you’re sure your fabric fits, and you’ve got doors falling nicely as well, wrap the fabric around the sticks and then up and over the top to hide the sticks sticking out the top.
Then use your ribbon/string to secure it tightly in place. Make sure you include the flap that covers the sticks when you tie it.
4. Neaten the fabric and secure it around the poles
You’ll still be able to adjust the fabric, so even it up and smooth it out. Then use your needle and thread to tack a few stitches around the poles to make it a bit more secure. I did this half way down and near the bottom of each pole.
I was going to add some poles across the bottom to keep the teepee structure more stable, but it’s been up 6 days now and hasn’t fallen over yet. I’m really impressed with this point as I don’t know how stable other teepees are, but the expensive one at our weekly playgroup falls down all the time. I think the tape at the top makes it more stable as the one at our playgroup doesn’t have anything at the top.
I had thought I would cut material at the back and sew it nicely, but as it’s currently hidden it’s not making any difference and isn’t seen, I’ll leave it for now. This also means I’ll be able to adjust it in the future and possible even remake it using 5 poles if we move it into a corner (so that the space behind isn’t redundant). I also planned to sew the poles in completely (not just tack them) so they weren’t exposed and, covering them completely (and at the ends would possibly make it safer). If you aren’t going to adjust yours in the future doing this might make it safer. I’ll definitely do this before Baby #2 is one the move as it would be a bit more risky then.
Toddler H loves it and to be honest I haven’t had to adjust it at all. She has a few pillows and a throw on the floor and loves reading her books there and snuggling down. She even puts her dolls and cuddly toys there to sleep, which is very cute.
Disclaimer: I’m not sure how safe this teepee would be for some toddlers or young ones given it is large garden poles that are covered in a sheet. This is just what I have done and I can’t say anything about its safety.
If you choose to make this, I hope it works well and your toddler loves it too!