Monday, September 2, 2013

DIY A-Frame Play Tent {Tutorial}

I have been in love with all the play tents and tee pees out there but I just couldn't afford them on our budget so of course my DIY wheels started turning and hubby and I got to work. They are normally anywhere from $60 to $160 handmade and we made ours for about $25. We wanted to make it as a present for our little Holden bug's First birthday and keep it in our boys room to share. You guys this was so easy you will die when you read how fast and simple these really are to make on your own. Your kids will love it, you will love how much they love it, how long it will entertain them and how easy and inexpensive it was. It is win wins and smiles all around. Now let me get to showing you how to make this bad boy, because every kid needs one of these. I promise they do!

{Supplies You will need}

-Four 1X2 whitewood molding that are 4 feet long {They already have them cut to this size at your local hardware store} I got mine at Lowes 
-3/4inch 4 feet dowel {Lowes} 
-Drill {Ryobi is my drill of choice}
-3/4 inch wood drill bit
-2 1/2 yards of fabric {I used duck cloth and made the pattern myself} I like the thicker fabric so it is a little stiffer 
-Rope or twine 
-pack of eyelets {Walmart or any craft store}
-Sewing machine
-Bakers twine
-Felt pom poms 
-Paint {optional}

{What I did} 

Lets start with the wooden A frame. First you are going to take your 1X2s and measure down six inches and mark each one, just that easy.

Next you will need your drill and 3/4 inch wood drill bit and you will line the point of the drill bit with the six inch line you marked on your wood and you will drill until you have your perfect 3/4 inch circle all the way through. 

Do this to all 4 pieces and make sure to do it right on that 6 inch line so that they all line up correctly.  

Now at this point if you want your frame to be painted now would be the time to do that. Make sure to prime and then paint and letting it dry between coats. You would paint the 4 1X2s and the dowel the same color. I did not paint mine because I liked the look and feel of the raw would with the tent. Also this was for my two boys and I felt the raw wood was more masculine.

I just love me some saw dust smell! It reminds me of how hard I worked on my projects and that I made them. Kind of a pride thing. 

Once all 4 of the holes are drilled you are going to slide your dowel right through two of them on one side and the other two on the other side. This is going to be the front and back of your tent. With both the dowel and the hole being 3/4 inch it will be nice and snug so it won't slip through or fall out. This is actually a really secure tent. I have two crazy, rowdy boys and it has held up like a charm.

Then you will open the wood up a little bit so it makes an X at the top and it is able to stand up on its own. 

 And seriously as easy as that the frame is complete.

Now for the fabric! You will need about 2 1/2 yards of fabric. Then to fit my tent I cut it down to 45 inches by 85 inches.Then you will do a 1 inch seam on it so it doesn't fray and looks more crisp, clean and professional. I folded it a 1/2 inch then folded it a second time 1/2 inch making it a total of a 1 inch seam. Then I pinned it all around, took it to my sewing machine and simply sewed a straight stitch all along the fabric. Once the fabric was cut, pinned and sewn it measured at  about 42x82 inches to 43x83 inches.

Like I said earlier in the post  I made my own fabric for this handmade tent. I could not find the perfect design that I pictured in my head so I whiped it up myself. You can find the full tutorial of how I did that HERE. If you can find the perfect pattern for what you are looking for that is great! I just recommend getting the little bit of thicker and stiffer fabric for this project. It lays better, looks better and holds up better for the kids and all their playing. I used the plain white duck cloth. 

Once the fabric was all sewn and designed it was time to attach it to the wood frame. We wanted it to look very clean and professionally made so we decided the eyelets was the best route to go and they were pretty simple to apply. We got the pack with the eyelets and the tool to hammer them into the fabric. You will mark on each corner where you want the eyelet to go. We did it about an 1inch from the bottom and side at each corner.

Read the instructions on the eyelet packaging and hammer the eyelet at each marking you made. We used another piece of scrap fabric to attach the fabric to just to make it thicker and re-enforce the eyelet. Once it was secure I cut around the scrap piece so you couldn't even see it. 

Then I used my twine to attach the fabric to the wooden frame. I draped the fabric over the dowel at the top and looping the twine through the eyelet at each bottom corner and tied it to its coordinating piece of wood.

I then decided I would add a little simple banner to the front just for cuteness.  All you need to make this is some bakers twine, a needle and a bag of pom poms. Simply feed your bakers win through the opening of the needle and then you will poke the needle through the pom pom, pull, pole it through the next pom pom, pull, poke it through the next and so on until you have attached all of your pom poms to the twine. Then I just draped it over the dowel in the front of the tent and then tied the twine to the wood pieces at the bottom to secure it in place.

There is your finished tent, tee pee, play house whatever you want to call it! Its easy to make, and even more fun to play in. This is perfect in any playroom, reading room, or bedroom. We put ours in our little boys shared room and it is so much fun for them to play in, read bed time stores in and even take a nap in {I may have done that before and it was quite amazing just sayin}. 

We keep ours up, but it is also very easily folded down and stored which is a huge bonus. Since there are no nails, screws or glue involved it is possible to do so. Simple take your ends and walk them in and it is flat or storage or for a move or even smaller storage it can be completely taken apart and put back together easily. 

It is safe to say it was the perfect birthday gift and now both boys are able to enjoy it. 

Pin pin pin away you know you want to make one!

Now it is your turn! Now that you see how easy it is and I spelled it all out for you go and make this for your little chicketies they will be so excited! Good luck! You totally got this, and I want to see it when you are done so be sure to send me a picture.  If you have any questions at all about the A-frame tent or anything else feel free to email me 

Don't have the time or just don't want to make it yourself email me and we can talk about me making one for you and some pricing options.

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  1. This is so darling. And those boys Whit, they are so dang cute!!!

    1. aww Vanessa thank you!!! I am kinda obsessed with them but it is fun to hear others say how cute they are too ;)

  2. Oh my gosh this is so cute! I absolutely love this!

  3. Replies
    1. I think so too. Like I said my boys love it and it is so nice for so many things both play time and quite time.

  4. What a great idea! I know a four of my kids would love this. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you. I hope you make one let me know how it turns out and how the kids like it

  5. How tall is it inside? About 3'? I want to make one but not sure if it will be tall enough for my bigger boy :) I was also thinking of using tab topped curtains to hang from the middle rod down each side since I'm not a sew -er. Do you think they'd work?

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