Picture of Make your own  Teepee

Here's how my wife and I made our own Teepee that we use for camping and going to Rendezvous. It is very spacious inside with room for 6 adults plus our gear and we can have a fire inside for those cold nights. The building was pretty easy and quick and only cost about $150 in materials for the cover and liner

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Step 1: The outer cover

Picture of The outer cover

We bought 3 canvas tarps at Home Depot measuring 15 feet by 12 feet. ($25 ea.)

We then sewed the 15 foot sides together; at the end of this we had one big canvas that was 15 feet by 36 feet. Now comes some measuring and cutting, so take your time measure twice and cut once. We lay the whole thing flat in our yard so we could see it... Staring at the left side of the 36' side measure 10' to the right then drew a line 3' up then, on that same line do a 2' mark then draw a line back to the side making a rectangle that we will Call cut A-1. Do the same thing one the right side of the canvas we will call this rectangle A-2 (see diagram) * each square = 1'

Now cut out the two 10' by 2' sections and save these two pieces. Cut up the line to the 3' mark.

Take the two pieces that you just cut off and sew them together along the 2' side; move the piece to the back where it is sewn to the center of the 36' side making the center now 17' ( see diagram) *each square = 1'

Next find the center of the side you just removed A-1 and A-2 from and draw two lines 2' apart from the top of those lines 1 1/2' back to the center it will make a big M shape ... cut this part out ( see yellow area of diagram ) we the sewed a triangle piece of canvas where the bottom of the M where the smoke flap poles will go into.(see the teepee picture)

Its a good idea to reinforce all areas that end in a cut.

You now have your smoke flaps.

tipisholley made it!3 months ago

This is a great article, but let me also say there are is some other informaton that might want to be included. You do not have instructions on how to make a lining which takes about as much materials as the whole making of the cover. Also, the lining is NOT necessary to have for a fire. This has come down from the Laubin book on making tipis of 1957. The old tipis did not rely on linings for fires or that necessary for setting up either. Most tipis did not use a lining except for cold weather or high winds to defect the air off their beds. Covers came all the way to the ground to stop draughts and this is documented in many hundreds of photos on tipis. The fitting of the poles is something we have all longed for for easy transportation but they have a drawback of leaking water or dripping when in heavy rain storms for an extended period of time. The water must run down a continuous pole or surface. If it hits a barrier like the PVC or duck tape it wil drip at those points. There is also the problem in high winds of strenth as some poles will break. This is a great article on the use of material.

Chey+camp+women 1867.jpg. A child stands near Red Cloud's tipi,Sioux, near Fort Robinson in 1895 Nebraska Historical Society Photographic Collection RG 4488.PH.O.3..jpgCarpenter, Charles Arapaho original news photo.jpg
SparkySolar5 months ago

This is so nice,-

Thank you;


59merlot5 months ago

Great Tipi! How do you safely incorporate a fire inside? Do you pitch it directly on the ground or do you have a floor/liner? How does the venting work? Thanks!

the tat2artist (author)  59merlot5 months ago

We pitch in right on the ground. Tipis were made to have fires inside them as long as you have the liner it brings in the air needed for the fire and also creates the draft that takes the smoke safely out of the Tipi. the smoke flaps take some time to get used to but you change there position to create the draft. And you close them to keep rain out.

Nice Project, very cool for Camping.

glockstar made it!8 months ago
we tryed it with some old tarps I love it lots of room I'm going to do it again with the liner and break down ploes thanks you win in my book
Shiseiji8 months ago

Love it. In the very first Mother Earth News, circa 1970 if memory serves (it's home on the coffee table, but if I wait till I get home I'll forget) they published a "How to." for a teepee. Your's is much better IMHO. I used those plans to scale down a 6' teepee for my kids, but it was a long time ago and is long gone.

I too take flag etiquette seriously, I think you did a great job of incorporating a reminder, similar to bunting, while complying with Chapter 1 of Title 4 of the United States Code (4 U.S.C. § 1 et seq). I still grit my teeth over a 4 star who showed up on the National Mall one 4th with a shirt I thought was way out of line. Oh well, his free speech.

"The flag should not be used as "wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery", or for covering a speaker's desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general (exception for coffins). Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top"

While your field is reminiscent of the one on a US Flag, I think it is much more a reminder of the beauty above.

I'm a old soldier, and the old General Purpose (GP) Medium canvas tent poles used the same sleeve. I can still smell the fungicide the canvas was soaked in . . . With practice, two guys could get one up in <:15 minutes. Strangely enough by simply following 95% of the instructions. How long does a non rush pitching take?


the tat2artist (author)  Shiseiji8 months ago

It takes me and my wife about 30 mins. to pitch the teepee with the liner

tomc538 months ago

I love the idea - Thanks

The only comment/question I have is that it looks like you used pieces of an American Flag. As a former Boy Scout, I was taught that the flag should never be used for anything but as a flag, and that destruction was to be done as a private thing. I'm not yelling at you, but just saying that you might get some flak.

naught101 tomc538 months ago

I'm not American, and my American history is weak at best, but I would have also thought it might be fairly offensive to native Americans to use their cultural artefacts (the tee pee), and plaster it with a colonial American flag...

the tat2artist (author)  naught1018 months ago

I am 1/4 American Indian (piegan Blackfoot)) and I'm also a United States Marine. The indigenous people of America have become intergraded into the society and we remain proud of the past but accept that we are part of this country and have a long history of love for the country we have become part of, this is why I made the teepee and why the paint resembles a flag .

the tat2artist (author)  tomc538 months ago

We painted the canvas to resemble the flag, but purposely didn't make it a flag as a Marine I also know flag etiquette. :)

artifeffe tomc538 months ago

that striped thing has way too many stripes to be old glory, pal.

I'm not yelling at you, but just saying that you might count before you write, next time

jermncoco9 months ago

You could add either clevis or locking cotter pins to your pvc connectors on the poles, would still keep it quick to assemble and maybe sturdier. Love the diagrams as well. Great job!

the tat2artist (author)  jermncoco9 months ago

I never thought of those great idea thanks

doodlecraft9 months ago

Oh that would be so fun to campout in a teepee! Great job! :)

Mackramer9 months ago

Great instructable! The colored drawings are outstanding!

LeafLand9 months ago


wilgubeast9 months ago

That is such a good idea for a cover. I bet Barbie's tipi is super-awesome. Pink to match the 'vette?

the tat2artist (author)  wilgubeast9 months ago

we didn't do it pink but in hind sight that would have been appropriate.

M3G9 months ago

This looks awesome! How well does it trap the heat?

the tat2artist (author)  M3G9 months ago

we stayed in it during a blizzard and stayed comfortable...there are some things you can do to keep it warmer like putting straw between the cover and the liner but we were not expecting the storm.