Teepee DIY

Teepee DIY | @themerrythought
I’ve been dreaming of a little teepee in my living room for sometime now and we finally got around to making one. I have such fond memories of creating forts and finding little hideouts as a child and I’m hoping my kids will find this little teepee a magical place to play and read.
Materials used:
.. 6 six foot saplings [you can also get poles at your local home improvement store]
.. 9×12 painter’s canvas drop cloth
.. Large eyelet kit with 12 eyelets
.. Twine
.. Leather rope
.. Tools: scissors, pen, straight edge, measuring tape, drill, hammer, iron, fabric liquid stitch
Teepee DIY | @themerrythought
.. Measure down 12″ from the top of your poles and drill a hole [we did 5/16″]
.. Run twine through the 6 poles and tie a knot. There can be a little slack, but you need it tight enough to hold them together.
Teepee DIY | @themerrythought
.. Arrange the poles to make the shape of the teepee and wrap the twine around to cover up the holes.
Teepee DIY | @themerrythought
.. Fold drop cloth in half. Measure down 4.25″ on the corner with the fold and create a semicircle. Draw your line and cut.
.. Wrap drop cloth around the poles with the semi circle on top. Pull it tight and mark the bottom of each pole on the ground, or length you would like to cut.
.. Using a straight edge draw a dotted line to connect the marks.
Teepee DIY | @themerrythought
.. Use scissors to cut along the dotted line.
.. Wrap the drop cloth around the poles and check to make sure your length is correct. Pull tight and fold the front edges under where the opening will be in the front. Pin where your edges will be and iron. Trim off excess fabric to create a 1″ seam. Use liquid stitch to create hem.
.. Measure down 4″ from top of opening and 1.25″ from edge and make a mark where your eyelet will go. Measure 2″ down and mark where the next eyelet will go until you have 6 on each side.
Teepee DIY | @themerrythought
.. Lace your leather rope through and pull tight. We started on the bottom so the tie would be at the top & not show.
.. Ta Da! Give your child a book and tell her to go sit in the teepee. She happily obliged, no bribery needed.
Teepee DIY | @themerrythought
Teepee DIY | @themerrythought
Enjoy your weekend! Hopefully mine will be filled with rest & relaxation as my little ones read quietly in their new teepee.. 😉 Marla

  • Dom NorrisSaturday, August 31, 2013 - 3:03 am

    Hello! I found you through craft gawker (and I’m very happy I did!) Love this so much! Such a beautiful project. I’m going to share it on my blogs Facebook, I’m sure my readers will love it too. 🙂


    • marlaMonday, September 2, 2013 - 9:15 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the teepee!ReplyCancel

  • nellirajalarahkoSaturday, August 31, 2013 - 4:14 am

    I love it! I don’t have any kids of my own but I’m becoming an aunt for the first time this year and you know what cool aunts probably have? Teepees. And I’m gonna be the coolest.ReplyCancel

    • marlaMonday, September 2, 2013 - 9:17 pm

      congratulations, it’s so fun to be an aunt! and cool aunts definitely have teepees. let us know if you tackle the project, i’d love to see it!ReplyCancel

  • Victoria / Justice PirateSaturday, August 31, 2013 - 8:32 am

    beautiful! We made a teepee for our sons for their Christmas present last year. It sits in their bedroom and they love it. Yours is so pretty!!!!!! I like the sticks you used!ReplyCancel

    • marlaMonday, September 2, 2013 - 9:18 pm

      what a fantastic Christmas present! and thanks for your kind words Victoria.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly SkrimstadMonday, September 2, 2013 - 10:05 am

    Dear Marla, our daughter is now 25 but oh how your teepee brings back memories fond. My daughter Olivia was deeply enchanted with Native American culture as she studied it in school. With her “Indian center” constructed with sheets under my umbrella clothesline was far less elegant, it provided many happy and imaginative afternoons of delight for her. She filled it with all the amenities she could scrounge including but not limited to a small brick oven for baking her “foods”, to pounding stones which she used to pound yucca we foraged from our local hills into yards and yards of twine. She found soft iron rich stones which she soon discovered she could use to create “cave paintings” on the block wall nearby. She also had a supply of acorns, which was a constant challenge to keep greedy squirrels from helping themselves to whilst she was not “home”.

    My daughter was an angel faced blonde with enormous, beautiful wide set eyes, just like yours. She discovered your delightful post and forwarded it to me; delighting in fond memories of long ago.

    It has remained a running joke in the family that she has promised / threatened to build me my own teepee out in the yard so that she might banish me to my teepee when mom is in need of a “time out”. It still remains a pleasant threat that is more of a wish for fruition on my part. Perhaps your beautiful article might light a fire under her to actually follow through with her admonitions. I can only hope!

    Thank you so much for sharing your delightful story.


    • marlaMonday, September 2, 2013 - 9:20 pm

      Kelly, thanks so much for sharing your story, what fantastic memories! And I hope you get your time out teepee!ReplyCancel

  • colleenpastoorTuesday, September 3, 2013 - 3:57 am

    Oh gosh, this is fantastic. I’ve been loving all the teepees and am so thankful you’ve given us a DIY that will cost much less than the $200 to order one! I’m off to get a drop cloth 🙂ReplyCancel

    • marlaTuesday, September 3, 2013 - 10:40 am

      Yes, definitely a bit more budget friendly. Let me know how it goes if you make one!ReplyCancel

  • LucyTuesday, September 3, 2013 - 8:00 am

    This is amazing! She looks so content all up in there! Such a good idea, and photographed beautifully 🙂

    Lucy xoReplyCancel

    • marlaTuesday, September 3, 2013 - 10:37 am

      She walks in there with her books all the time now, so fun! Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly BarryMonday, October 7, 2013 - 10:26 pm

    Love this idea, but when I attempt to print the photos (as a guide), I get a message that the function has been disabled. Can you help?ReplyCancel

    • marlaMonday, October 7, 2013 - 10:33 pm

      If you go to File > Print in your browser, you should be able to print from there. I use Chrome and it works in there. Hope that helps and thanks for stopping by!ReplyCancel

  • ShawnaSunday, October 13, 2013 - 11:28 pm

    Is the teepee fairly sturdy? The wrapping at the top I’m assuming give enough stability that the bottom holds it’s shape?ReplyCancel

    • marlaMonday, October 14, 2013 - 10:42 am

      It is fairly sturdy. It is made to be collapsible for easy storage. Little ones can [and will..] move the bottoms of the poles, but mine has never come close to tipping or anything [yet]. 😉ReplyCancel

  • carol keenTuesday, November 26, 2013 - 11:00 pm

    i cant seem to figure where to cut for the top you said measure 4.25 in. from the fold .its just folded in 1/2 or folded again? then it looks like the fabric would be doubled all around.
    is the fold on the short or long side of the canvas?
    i am desperate to get this going but not working yet please helpReplyCancel

    • marlaWednesday, November 27, 2013 - 7:31 pm

      fold the canvas in half, just one time. the fold is on the long side of the canvas, the semicircle you are cutting out will be at the top of the teepee. it doesn’t matter which end you make the top. measure down 4.25″ on both the folded side and open side. if you look closely at the picture, you can see our penciled in line. hope this helps!ReplyCancel

  • Fox and RookThursday, December 5, 2013 - 5:17 pm

    This is the loveliest teepee DIY I’ve come across, and I’m so excited to make it for my daughter for Christmas. Thank you so much. Your daughter is absolutely scrumptious… what a doll! xxReplyCancel

  • KatySaturday, December 21, 2013 - 1:10 am

    Wow, what a fabulous teepee! We’re hoping to make one together with our daughters for Christmas. Thanks for the instructions! At first we were thinking we might use pvc pipe or something, but your poles are so much better! Where did you get them?ReplyCancel

    • marlaSaturday, December 21, 2013 - 8:36 am

      What a great Christmas gift! Our poles are from the woods behind our house. You should also be able to find 6′ wood poles at your local home & garden store. Happy teepee making!ReplyCancel

  • aerialSunday, June 22, 2014 - 4:15 am

    Hi is 9×12 foot? I am european 🙂 need to convert to m. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Caitlin McGrathMonday, June 23, 2014 - 4:38 pm

      Yes, it’s 9×12 feet.ReplyCancel

  • marinaFriday, December 12, 2014 - 2:05 pm

    How big does it come out inside? I was looking for 5 by5 so I can fit in with my son to read. ThanksReplyCancel

    • marlaTuesday, December 16, 2014 - 9:41 am

      It is about a 4 foot diameter inside. Hope that helps. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Lola FeaginTuesday, April 21, 2015 - 12:41 pm

    Hello! My kids are grown but I have 2 grandkids and a set of twins on the way. I was looking for a cute project for my grandson and I to do and came across this with my 3 year old grandson sitting on my lap. As soon as he saw the picture he jumped of my lap and started jumping and yelling “that one gamma! That one!” We will be making it this weekend in our back yard. I(we) just wanted to say thank you!ReplyCancel

  • BethMonday, June 15, 2015 - 10:05 am

    Hi Marla,
    I am in the process of making one of these for my son Everett. I love yours and I appreciate the step by step instructions! I can’t get over how easy this is. On a side note I thought that I would share my adjustments with you. I wanted something a little larger so I cut the saplings to 7′ long instead of 6′. This allows for about a 5.5-6′ diameter of the base. I figured out that the same sized drop cloth still works, I just had to fold it in half along the short edge (“hamburger” fold for those other teachers out there) before cutting the corner and draping it. It’s still in progress but I will send you a photo when Everett’s “woodland” playroom is all done. Thanks again from one mama to another!


  • JennyTuesday, July 7, 2015 - 7:51 am

    Fantastic share we found through Craft Gawker. We did this project on a rainy day with the kids. Had a brilliant time putting this together and hand painting the cloth canvas. We hung a small bundle of Christmas lights inside too. Very easy, super cute, and perfect for all ages.ReplyCancel

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