The frame is made of five suckers from our hazelnut tree (between eight and ten feet long) lashed together with twine, and we actually left it up all winter. Good news: I didn't have much work to do to put the teepee up quickly. Bad news: the twine's a little the worse for wear, and the poles should probably be swapped out for longer ones (I'll explain why in a minute).
You could use bamboo garden stakes or any long pole-type things without sharp bits, if you don't have a hazelnut tree sending long shoots up from its roots. When I was a kid we used mops and brooms and shovels, and draped them with blankets. And you know, that was kind of awesome, too, so don't be afraid to be creative.
The body of this teepee I sewed together from six triangular sections of a canvas drop cloth.
Set up your frame first, then measure the length of the legs from the twine lashing to the ground.
Next, measure the distance between two legs. Using these measurements (plus a seam allowance), cut six triangular panels from a large drop cloth (two will overlap to make the door flap). Cut a few inches off the top for the skylight. (This photo isn't really an illustration of technique, so much as a visual guide to what you're aiming for as a final product.)
Stitch all the panels together along the long sides to make one long, open panel. Then, fold over and hem the edge of the whole thing. I double stitched my seams flat with two rows of yellow stitches (pretty quickly, which is why the rows aren't perfect. I think it makes it look more "authentic". Ha!).
Cut strips of an old t-shirt to use as ties. Knot the ends and tack down the centers along the seam lines at the top, bottom, and middle of each seam, on what will be the inside of the structure. These will tie to the five poles to keep the teepee cover in place.
Overlap the two end panels and stitch along the top to form the door flap. I stitched down about a foot from the top, too, and added a star of stitches to really hold this vital part of the the fabric strongly. Trust me: it's not ripping, no matter how hard the kiddo plays.
It's kinda pretty, too!
I left too much seam allowance on ours; it drapes somewhat on the frame. Learn from my mistakes! If you give yourself a half-inch seam allowance when you're cutting, sew a half-inch in from the edge. I think this summer I'll make a larger frame or take in the seams a bit to make a snugger fit.
In the meantime, I can't think of much to beat the view of a tree through the top of a teepee.
Except maybe my kiddo, about to get me with the squirt bottle. Most fun ever, right?
So, are you building a teepee in your yard this summer, or do you have a more permanent play house? Let me know in the comments below, if you like! I love following your (non-spam) links!
p.s. You can view larger versions of these images by clicking on them, but you probably already knew that!
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