Tuesday, December 18, 2012

DIY : A-frame tent for your little ones

The most essential part of a camping party is a tent...of course.  It was the first thing I started planning when Ava told me she wanted a camping theme.  I was inspired by this A-frame tent tutorial, but ended up changing some dimensions and materials to better fit the look I wanted.

These little tents are easy to make, and fold up easily (or can be disassembled) to be played with another day.

Materials needed: (for one tent)

48" x 86" piece of material ( I used canvas, but you can use any material you like)
4 - 1” x 2” x 48” moulding (you can find it where the lattice materials are)
1 - 3/4” x 48” dowel
4 - 1/2" white elastic cut into 2 1/2" pieces
drill with a 3/4” spade bit
measuring tape
pencil (marker)


1) Cut material to size (48" x 86") and then sew a 1" hem around the entire piece.  This leaves you with the final dimension of 46" x 84". 

(I have to give kudos to my parents for helping me out with this project : ) One I could easily do on my own...but 7...their help was immensely appreciated)

2) Pin the elastic into a loop at each corner.  Sew it on.  I had to hand sew mine, because the canvas was too thick to use my machine.  If you are using a printed cotton, using a machine should be fine.

3) At this point, I painted a design on my material, but if you have chosen a printed material, skip this step. 

 4) Take your 1" x 2" moulding pieces and measure/mark 5" down from the top of each piece. 

5) Using the 3/4" spade bit, drill a hole in each of the four pieces.

6) Using a rubber mallet, tap two of the moulding pieces onto one end of the 3/4" dowel, and then repeat on the other side. 

7) Spread the tent legs open and drape the material over it.

 8) Secure the elastic around the tent legs and your tent is done.

(I ended up stapling the material to my frames since I needed them to hold up to 14 kids going in and out. Afterwards, I took the staples out and we have been using the elastics ever since)  

These tents have already become a favorite in our house and have been played with for hours.

Have fun making a tent for your little one.  
They will thank you for it. 
I promise : )

* You can see Ava's camping party here and...
** Check out these S'more cupcakes....sooooo gooood

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  1. These are wonderful! Do they stay put or do they open up flat while they are being played with? I hope that made sense! Should there be something in place to keep them from opening more? Thanks!

    1. Hi Trisha : ) It really depends on how tightly the dowel fits into the wood moulding pieces. Mine were very tight, so they did not flatten out at all. Also, I think the surface the rent is placed on could make a difference. Outside and on carpet ( or a rug) worked perfectly, but I would think the legs would slide a bit on hard wood floors.

      One way to keep them from opening too widely, would be to attach a ribbon or strap connecting the corners of the tent at each end. That way the tent would open to the length of the ribbon and no more. Hope that makes sense : )