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I absolutely adore Indoor Teepees, they are the perfect hideaway for kids, and let’s face it, all kids need a place where they can go and hide out. So…I decided to make Riley a DIY Teepee for Christmas. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted Riley’s DIY Teepee to look like, so I went to Pinterest for inspiration and after looking at so many amazing DIY Tutorials I found that most were made using a canvas drop cloth, so that’s what I decided to make Riley’s Teepee with.
Well…..let me just say, my first attempt at a DIY Teepee using a dropcloth was a huge fail. I started out drawing the measurements on the back of the fabric and my panels were so uneven and inconsistent that I ended up having to re-do the entire thing. On top of that, the dropcloth had unraveled to the point that I wasn’t able to re-use it. I was super frustrated to say the least, but I wasn’t going to give up, so I took a deep breath and decided this was an opportunity to make Riley’s DIY teepee a little more girlie than a khaki dropcloth.
So, I went to several fabric stores and ended up finding the perfect fabric at Hobby Lobby. It was a seasonal fabric that was out of season, so it was on clearance. That part was great because I got it 50% off, but I had to go to two hobby lobbies just to find 4 yards. Since I didn’t have enough to make the entire Teepee I used muslin fabric to offset the “pretty” fabric.
Before I got started making DIY Teepee number two I decided to make a pattern. It took extra time, but it was definitely worth it for me.
Alright, let’s get started!!
Here is what you need:
- 7 yards of fabric
- 4 dowel rods
- Sewing Machine OR you can use hem tape (I used both)
- Rope (tying the dowel rods together)
- Embellishments for decorating the front panel (Optional)
- Fabric Glue
- Pattern (if you decide to make a pattern you’ll need wax paper, ruler, tape, sharpie)
- Transfer Paper
- Tracing Wheel
- Push Pins
Step 1: Start by setting up your dowel rods (this is the frame of your teepee) so you want to be sure you set them up so that they are stable. There are several ways to do this, but I think having holes to string your rope through adds stability to the overall teepee frame. I don’t have pictures on how to make the holes (sorry), so I’ve included a link to Julie Blanner’s Teepee Tutorial where she shows and explains this step in detail.
Step 2: Once you have your Teepee Frame setup measure the dimensions for your teepee. You need to measure the distance (width) between the dowel rods at the top (I would suggest measuring about 5″ below the holes in your dowel rods) then you need to measure the distance (width) between the dowel rods at the bottom of the teepee frame and lastly you need to measure the distance (length) from the top (5″ below the holes in the dowel rod) to the bottom (floor)
Step 3: Make a pattern for your teepee (this may take a little more time, but it was definitely worth it for me).
To make the pattern I used wax paper and my handy dandy cardboard measuring board (this thing has seen better days, but it’s held up for over 4 years, so I’ve definitely got my moneys worth).
Next I drew the dimensions for half of my teepee onto the wax paper. The reason for only drawing half of the teepee on the pattern is to ensure that both sides of my panel will be exactly the same. When you go to trace the pattern onto the fabric you’ll fold your fabric in half and place the template on the fold line.
I included a drawing I made to show the 3 patterns I made for my Teepee Panel. The drawing includes the measurements for each pattern. As a side note, these are not drawn to scale; I just thought it would help if you could visualize the pattern shape with the measurements.
Step 4: Iron Your Fabric
Step 5: Fold your fabric (wrong-side out) in half vertically and Pin your full panel pattern to your fabric. Be sure that the fold line on the pattern is even with the fold of the fabric
Step 6: Use transfer paper to trace the panel pattern onto the fabric. I pinned a piece facing up on the bottom on the fabric and facing down on the top of the fabric (that allowed me to mark the hem line for both sides at once).
Step 7: Cut out your panel (do this before unfolding your fabric)
Repeat the above steps for the remaining two full panels
Step 8: Make your Dowel rod casings. Start by folding your fabric in half vertically. Pin your template and transfer paper (the same way you did for the full panels) onto the fold of your fabric. Then cut out your casing.
Step 9: Hem the top and bottom of the casing
Step 10: Fold your fabric in half and stitch along your hem line. Once you’re finished you should turn your casing right-side out
Do this until you have all four dowel rod casings.
Step 11: Make your front panel – to do this you will need to cut one piece of fabric that is the same shape as the other teepee panels (It’s referenced as the “small panel” on the pattern outline). This piece is the top of the front panel. I used the same template as I used for the full panels I just drew another hem line at 22 1/2″.
Step 12: Hem the top and bottom edge of the triangle piece
Step 13: Then you will need two rectangle pieces of “decorative fabric” – this is the bottom half of the front panel and will be the teepee doors. Follow the same steps you followed for the panels and casing to pin, transfer and cut your rectangle panels.
Step 14: Hem the bottom and the two inside edges of the rectangle pieces (fold fabric edge over 1/4″, then another 1/4″ and either stitch or use hem tape). Since I’m horrible at sewing a straight line I decided to use hem tape for all of the hemmed edges on the front panel (except the top of the triangle piece).
Step 15: Next you want to make your rectangle pieces “triangular” by laying the bottom diagonal edge of one of your full triangle panels over one of the front rectangle panels and cut the rectangle piece diagonal to match the side angle of the full triangle panel. Repeat with the other front rectangle panel.
Step 16: Take your small triangle piece and pin your two front pieces to the back of the triangle piece so that they are about 1/2″ higher than the hemmed edge of the triangle piece. The front panels should overlap about 2 1/2 inches (this makes the front look pretty when you tie the panels back).
Step 17: Pin and then either stitch or use stitch witch to hem the panels together.
Now you need to make the Tiebacks for the front panel. You need two tie backs.
Step 18: Cut two pieces of decorative fabric (5″ x 8″). Then fold each of the rectangular pieces in half horizontally (right sides together), and sew down one short side and the long side. Turn them right-side-out and press to form a strap piece. Then you need to fold the side with the raw edge so that it folds in.
Step 19: Pin the raw edge of one of the tiebacks to one side of the curtain. I pinned mine so it was about half way down the curtain piece. Repeat with the second tie back and curtain.
Step 20: Sew a small piece of velcro (hook side) onto each tie back, and another small piece (loop side) onto the wrong side of the curtain that’s about 2″ from the seam and in the same spot vertically as the tie back.
Step 21: Now you will sew all of the triangular panels and casing sleeves together to make your teepee shaped tent. In-between each triangle panel will be a casing sleeve. Match the hem line together for the two triangle pieces and the casing sleeve that goes in-between them and pin them in place. Sew the panels and casing together (I went ahead and sewed the pieces together before moving on to the next one).
This is what it will look like after sewing the casing and panels together
Follow this step until you have all four panels and casing sleeves stitched in place.
Step 22: Turn your Teepee right side out and Place the dowel rods into each of the casing sleeves.
Step 23: Stand up your teepee and arrange the dowel rods.
Step 24: Place your rope through the holes and wrap the rope around all the dowel rods and tie them in place.
Sorry I didn’t take pictures of the two steps above.
If you want to embellish your DIY Teepee you can do this either before you place the dowel rods into the teepee casing or you can do this after you get your teepee setup (I was on a huge time crunch when finishing Riley’s DIY Teepee, I actually was up until 3am on Christmas eve finishing it) so I had to wait until after I got her teepee setup to embellish it.
Here is a picture of Riley’s DIY Teepee before I added the trim and embellishments
I used Fabric glue to add the trim to the edges of Riley’s Teepee. Then I cut out a heart with the decorative fabric and glued trim around the heart and then glued it onto the top of the front teepee panel.
Viola, your kido now has their own personal personalized DIY Teepee
I hope you like Riley’s DIY Teepee (the pictures really don’t do it justice, I wasn’t able to get the “perfect” picture) :- ( but I’ll keep trying and will post an updated photo once I can get the lighting just right
On another note, I hope you found the tutorial easy to follow, as I wanted to make it as detailed as possible, so you guys wouldn’t end up making the same mistakes I made, so if you have any questions, PLEASE let me know
Until Next Time…..