Me and my wife Barbara made this simple but awesome play tent for children.
We decided to do it because we couldn't pay for commercially available ones that cost over $250.
Also I wanted it to be assembled and disassembled fast and without tools.
It was made from recycled oak wood and we bought the felt in a store that sell cut offs.
The total price for build was less than $10.
The frame is made without fasteners nor glue (all solid wood joinery).
The material for tent is wood, felt and clear nylon for windows.
Step 1: Cut the Wood to Sizes
Before cutting please read all warnings and respect your tools.
I'm not responsible for any fingers, limbs or heads detached.
Sides are 150 cm long and the 3 stretchers (long horizontal pieces) are 120 cm long.
However, you can make these longer or shorter.
The angle is arbitrary, you can make it any angle (35-50 degrees looks good).
Step 2: Make Joinery (Half Lap Joint)
Before continuing reading watch the video (few times if needed) and you'll easily figure out how the joinery is made.
Use a jigsaw, table saw, hand saw or even just chisels to make half-lap joints.
Lay down the pair of sticks (gable part) and mark where they are crossing.
Using a bevel gauge will help you maintain the same angle but you can cut a piece of cardboard as a template for the angle you've laid.
Make snug and good fit joints.
Take your time! They must not wobble.
Don't cut on the line but a bit inside so the joint will be too tight, then slowly progress with a chisel and a file until you get nice fitting joints. Again - take your time (or make firewood).
Step 3: Finish the Wood
Sand/plane the wood to get rid of any sharp corners that are exposed to child's hands.
It must be smooth to the touch. 120 followed by 240 grit sandpaper will do the job.
Mark the joints with a marker so it will be easier to assemble later.
Finish the wood with any food safe finish (I did mine with food safe beeswax finish)
Assemble the structure and measure for the cover.
Step 4: Add the Cover
You can finish very quickly if you just add the white sheet over the tent.
Then the kids can paint it and make their own designs on it.
We opted for the felt tent.
Felt can be glued quickly with hot glue gun, and it's very strong joint (let it cool and try ripping it apart).
Here you can make your imagination go wild and make it any theme you want (summer, winter, play house, gingerbread, sports....)