DIY: So, you want to make a teepee?

A teepee has been on my to-do list for quite some time. I kept seeing these amazing pictures of teepees like this one and this one, and finally, last week, I said to myself, 'this. is. happening!'. If you too have the wanting for a teepee, I hope that you'll find the following instructions and tips helpful. Happy teepee-ing!

What will you need?
> two cuts of 60" wide duck cloth, both measuring 3 yards in length. (For fabric amount, multiply the diameter times pi and round up for good measure.)
> water soluble marking pen
> scissors
> safety pin + 3 yards of yarn/string
> seam ripper
> 2 yards of thick rope (if desired for the top of your teepee)
> a large space for laying out your fabric-- at least 6' x 6'
(Disclaimer: please note that the directions in this DIY are only for making a five foot teepee. Remember to adjust the measurements if you wish to make a different sized teepee in height and diameter.)

What is the cost of this project and are there less expensive alternatives?
> 6 yards of duck cloth = $60. I took two 50% off coupons + a 25% off-your-total-order coupon with me to JoAnn's and ended up paying $25 for my fabric. Another idea, if you don't want your fabric to be so thick, would be to try using a sheet or muslin, both of which would be considerably less expensive. I chose duck cloth because I want this teepee to last for a while and I also did not want it to be see-through.
> Five 6' (or taller) cedar poles. I used closet poles from Lowe's. They are $4 each. I think finding large sticks or a friend who has bamboo growing in their yard(!) would be awesome, less expensive alternatives.

1. To begin, match the selvage edges of your two pieces of duck cloth, and with right sides together, sew the entire length of the fabric. When you reach the end of the fabric do not reverse stitch-- this will be the front of your teepee and you will use a seam ripper to open the seam up to a desired height. (Warning: prepare to be attacked by the fabric-- it will completely takeover your sewing area!)

2. Take your fabric, now sewn in half, and lay it out. On the sewn edge, find the middle of your fabric and attach the end of your yarn with your safety pin. This is the old yarn and pencil trick for measuring out a circle! Stretch the yarn to the other end of the fabric, make sure the yarn is taut, and tie it to your marking pen so that the tip of your marking pen is at the edge of your fabric.

3. Mark out a half circle on your fabric by swinging your marking pen from the middle up to the corners of your fabric and then cut on the marked edge.
4. Still on the sewn edge, find the middle of your fabric again and cut a small semi-circle, about 6" wide, along the sewn edge. This is the hole for the top of the teepee. Be careful not too over cut this hole! After cutting this hole, take your fabric back to your sewing machine and reinforce the cut seams.

5. Now for the poles: take three or four of your poles and tie them together about 6-12" from the top. Then, set them up like a tripod and slip your fabric over the top. Add more poles as needed. Enjoy!

So, we took our teepee on a test run last weekend (and possibly snuck in a Christmas card photo shoot!) and I have to say, we're pretty smitten with it. We've also employed it for rest time as well as making it our official watching spot for our favorite entertainment, Busytown Mysteries and Fireman Sam, wink! Yep, this little teepee was worth the wait.

Happy weekending, friends!
ps. Don't forget to enter the Cranny giveaway! The giveaway ends on Monday, November 12th.


  1. Coolest parents ever. And PS - the one of all of you together at the bottom? Sarah! I love it so much!

  2. Shanna,
    I have to tell the truth: I really made this teepee for myself, not for my boys! Ha! No, seriously, they are loving it, but so am I :) The bottom picture is a possible Christmas card photo, which, I wasn't planning on doing cards this year, but since I'm reviewing some for Minted, I thought I had better hurry and get a picture taken! We'll see! I love that even Cali made it into that one, though :)

  3. Love the teepee! Love the photos! You are so incredibly talented and so incredibly blessed. You inspire me and I always enjoy coming over to your little spot to read a bit.

    Happy weekend!

  4. Rachel, thank you so much. Your comment really stopped me in my tracks and actually made me cry. I forget, way too often, how incredibly blessed that I am. I am so thankful for this life, through the ups and downs and the pretty and the not-so pretty. I just wish that I could remember, constantly, how good God is to give me all of these blessings. Happy weekend to you, too!

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  6. How CUTE are all of you!?!?! We made one of these several years ago out of fallen trees, but I just threw a quilt around it. This is waaaay classier, and probably a bit more mobile. I love it! I can't get over how happy everyone looks in these pictures!

    1. Jenny,
      I love the idea of a quilt though! So easy! So inexpensive! : )

  7. Really neat, Sarah! I'm so impressed with this project and the fact that you explained how to duplicate it so well - that is no small feat. Hope the kiddos enjoy:)

    1. Bethany,
      I should say, this has been such a fun addition to our home. The teepee actually resides in Graeme's room and he loves it (and Jobie does too!). It's great for a reading nook!

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