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
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
- 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)
Step 2: Mark the First Cut
The easiest way to do this is:
- Cut your fabric to be 3 yards long (you'll use the other half yard later)
- Fold it in half (hamburger style)
- Tape a pencil to the end of a string (or measuring tape)
- Hold one end of the string at a folded corner
- Draw an arc starting at the other folded corner
Step 3: Cut the Semi-Circle
Then unfold, and you have a semi-circle with 45 inch radius.
Step 4: Cut Two Flaps From the Scrap
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
Cut a hole with ~ 6-inch diameter through all three pieces.
Step 6: Pin on the Flaps
The seam will be on the inside of the teepee.
Step 7: Sew on the Flaps
If you're rusty on sewing,
- start the seam on one end,
- sew forward for about an inch,
- then sew backwards over your seam for about an inch (to "knot" the beginning of the seam)
- sew forward for the rest of the seam
- sew backward and forward for about an inch at the end (to "knot" the end of the seam)
Step 8: Mark Lines for Casings
Two casings will go right next to the flap seams.
Draw another directly between these two (along the fold line from the semi-circle cutting step).
Use a tape measure to mark a point directly between the middle line and the seam lines, then draw lines in those locations.
These five lines are the five locations of your casings.
MAKE SURE you draw the lines and sew the casings on the INSIDE of the teepee (the same side as the flap seams)
Step 9: Cut and Pin the Casings
Cut each strip 3 inches wide (or wider if you have bigger dowels) and pin it so that it is centered along the lines you marked in the previous step.
It may make the sewing easier to pin only one casing at a time.
Step 10: Sew on the Casings
The concept, though, is simple: sew along both long edges and one short edge so that a dowel will slide into the top.
Step 11: Sew the Top of the Flaps Closed
Pin and sew about 6 inches of the top of the teepee. This closes the circle at the top.
Line up the outer edge of one flap with the seam of the other flap.
It wouldn't hurt to double-sew this seam, since it will see a lot of pressure.
Step 12: Cut Dowels to 5-ft Length
Mark all the dowels at 60 inches (5 feet) and cut them off with a saw. Smooth the corners with a file and/or sandpaper.
Step 13: Drill a Hole in Each Dowel at 44 Inches
44 inches is an arbitrary distance that worked well for us. You can adjust the height of the hole as needed to make the teepee stand up how you want it to.
Step 14: Insert the Dowels and Lace the Top
Insert the dowels into the casings (hole side up).
Run your lacing through all the holes and tie a knot.
Step 15: Paint the Teepee With Fabric Paint
We chose to do simple black and red triangles.