I'm going to show you how to build a primitive lean-to shelter. Once you know this, you can use this as a springboard for all the other types of shelters. One of the things you should know before you begin is where to put it.
I choose a flat spot near my house. It has the advantage of being shady almost the entire day, and has this perfectly placed tree with a fork about three feet off the ground. Other good places would be in the roots of a uprooted tree or a fallen branch. Just do whatever works, best thing to do.
Step 1: Get the First Branch Up
Find yourself a large, strong stick a little longer than you laying down. (If your using something else, skip this step.) Find something to keep it up, like a tree with a fork, or a mound tall enough so that you can kneel under the stick. Then you got two options. Option one is to just leave it like it is, with the stick forming a right triangle with the ground and the upright whatever. Option two is to make a tripod or bipod with some more sticks and use it as support, making the sideways stick (I'll call it the ridge) parallel with the ground.
Step 2: Put Up the Support
Then get a good supply of strong, tall sticks and lean them against the ridge, spacing them about 4-5 inch's apart. I used almost a dozen sticks to get the support up, and it took me almost a hour to find them all, and they are relatively abundant were I live.
Step 3: Put in the Frame
Now Get some twigs, flexible ones, and weave them in through the support branches'. These are to stop the cover from falling on your head while you sleep :).Get it as tightly packed as possible, and try to use twigs with lot of branching to increase coverage area. The amount you need will be...A lot. It took me over a hour to get them all, but it will of course change based off what trees and branches in the area.
Step 4: The Fluff
Last part is the fluff. This is all the stuff you put on top of the frame to keep water off you while you sleep and stuff. This can be anywhere from dried leaves to bark to rushes. Dried leaves are your best bet, sense you can just pick them up and throw them on your shelter. This part took me almost two hours since there are very few leaves in the area.
Step 5: Strange Thingi
I was taking some reed things for use for the frame I found this Styrofoamy stuff inside it. It could be used as stuffing for a improvised pillow. My only issue is it seems to decompose very rapidly
Step 6: Finished Product
And this is it. while I haven't slept in this one yet, but similar ones I've slept in are very water resistant, with only a few water drops in a moderate rainstorm.
Step 7: Bonus!! Break a Stick Without a Sharp Object
When I was making this shelter I had a large stick that needed to get snapped but I didn't have a saw or anything. So there's this. Find a tree with a fork about at shoulder level. Put your stick into the fork just a little above where you want the breaking point to be. Grab the stick with both hands about shoulder length. Then, pull it towards you. DO NOT PUSH! that will just make you fall. Which would be hilarious. So try to get it on camara