Picture of Living Room Teepee
With fabric, dowels, and paints, you can make a fold-up teepee that Crazy Horse would be proud of. This design came from a 1978 "Homemaking Booklet" that my mom has in her book-trove. She made a larger version that I remember playing in as a kid. This is the toddler-sized edition. 

Total Cost: (canvas, dowels, paints, brushes) = $50

Time to Make: ~ 8 hours (less if you're not taking pictures and you have some sewing experience)

Tools Required: scissors, drill, saw, sewing machine
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Picture of Gather Your Supplies
Here are the supplies you need:
  • Heavy Fabric: 3.5 yards x 45 inches (~$16 for 3 yards x 60 inches of canvas at Fabrics R Us)
  • Dowels: 5x 5 feet long  (~$2.50 each at Home Depot -> $14 total) NOTE: you can also use 1" PVC pipe
  • Fabric Paints: (~$6 each at Michael's, only used two -> $12)
  • Paint Brushes: (~$5 for a 25-brush variety pack at Michael's)
  • Shoelace or Leather Boot Lace (not shown: ~$3)
TOTAL: $50

Step 2: Mark the First Cut

Picture of Mark the First Cut
Mark a half circle with a 45 inch radius.

The easiest way to do this is:
  1. Cut your fabric to be 3 yards long (you'll use the other half yard later)
  2. Fold it in half (hamburger style)
  3. Tape a pencil to the end of a string (or measuring tape)
  4. Hold one end of the string at a folded corner
  5. Draw an arc starting at the other folded corner 

Step 3: Cut the Semi-Circle

Picture of Cut the Semi-Circle
DSC_0348 (1).jpg
Cut through both layers of fabric along the line you just drew.

Then unfold, and you have a semi-circle with 45 inch radius.

Step 4: Cut Two Flaps from the Scrap

Picture of Cut Two Flaps from the Scrap
Use the scrap from your 3 yards of fabric (the fabric you cut the semi-circle out of) to make two triangular flaps.

Use the same string-and-pen technique to draw a radius, and a straightedge to make the flap as large as possible (make the edge tangent to the curve of the scrap).

Step 5: Cut a 6-Inch Hole for the Top

Picture of Cut a 6-Inch Hole for the Top
Use a plate for a template.
Cut a hole with ~ 6-inch diameter through all three pieces.

Step 6: Pin On the Flaps

Picture of Pin On the Flaps
Pin the edges of the flaps to the matching edges of the semicircle (in preparation for sewing. 

The seam will be on the inside of the teepee.
dsmontgomery made it!7 months ago

Thanks for sharing this! I just finished it last night and this is what my son will be coming down to this (Christmas) morning. I didn't have time to paint it, but did make a couple faux bear skin rugs out of "sherpa fleece" for the floor.

solobo (author)  dsmontgomery7 months ago

Nice, looks awesome! Thanks for posting.

very good explained!
solobo (author)  andrea biffi1 year ago
thank you!
Nice teepee.

The GIF's are a fun addition. I'm guessing that that animated GIF tutorial worked out?
solobo (author)  mikeasaurus1 year ago
yes indeed!