Teepee Ta-Da!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Welp, this is it folks! The DIY teepee craze has finally caught up with us over here and M is here to tell you how it's done. (I know, I'm the luckiest woman alive to have a hubby who sews and gets his craft on for me!)

He used Erinn's Teepee Tutorial to get started and tweaked a couple things. I decided to keep the teepee totally simple because I couldn't commit to a pattern for the door flaps. This way it can be suitable for a boy or a girl and I figured I could dress it up with a triangle banner or circle garland depending on the holiday or season. We (he) intend to add grommets to the front with leather lacing to finish off the look but are really happy with it so far and B loves it!

The basics:

Teepee poles: We used 5 painted 3/4" PVC because it is lightweight, inexpensive, durable and easy to work with.  It was also difficult to find wooden dowels in the size we were looking for.

Fabric: We used 9' x 12' painters canvas from a home improvement store for a rugged look.  Other people have used an assortment of different fabrics, so be creative.

Cordage: We used leather cord from a craft store to tie all of the poles together at the top, again use whatever works best for you.

Step 1: Cut the teepee poles to the desired length. We wanted a 5' tall teepee so we cut our poles to 6'.  Remember, these poles are on the diagonal so they should be longer than the desired height.

Step 2: Drill holes in the teepee poles.  The size of these holes will depend on the type of cord used to  tie all of poles together. We located these holes roughly 9" from the top of the pole because that's where it looked right to us.

Step 3: Tie the five poles together and spread the legs until the frame of the teepee is the shape you are looking for. Leave the extra cord hanging for now, we will use it later. Use a measuring tape to make sure that the legs are spaced equally apart.

Step 4: Measure the length of the base of the teepee as well as the distance along the pole from the ground to the place where the poles meet. For us the measurements were 36" at the base and 63" along the pole. We shortened up the fabric length a bit to leave some clear space at the top (5") and bottom (2").  Our total fabric dimensions were 56" tall, 3" wide at the top and 36"wide at the base.  Use these measurements as a guide but yours should depend on the actual dimensions of your frame.

Step 5: Sketch out the teepee panels on the fabric. Use a measuring tape and a long straight edge.  Make sure you leave 1/2" extra along the top and bottom to double over the edge and sew to create a seam and prevent tearing.  You'll also need at least 3" along each edge to leave enough fabric to create the pole sleeve.

Step 6: Cut out the teepee panels, including the extra bit along the sides, top and bottom.  Cut one of the panels in half to us as the door.  As an alternative, you could slit the door only up half way up to create a slightly different look.

Step 7: Sew up the seams along the top and bottom of the fabric panels.  We used durable, outdoor weatherproof thread for all sewing on this project.

Step 8: Create the pole pockets.  We will be sewing this from the inside out, so it may seem backwards at first. Take one panel and lay it seam side down, then place another panel seam side up directly on top of the other.  Sew one edge of the teepee panels together along the entire length.  Then, sew a parallel line roughly 3" from the edge to create the pockets.  Repeat the process for all panels.

Step 9: Collapse the teepee frame and slide the finished teepee fabric up over the frame using the pockets.  Spread the legs out again and adjust the fabric as desired.  Finish tying up the top of the teepee with the remaining cord.

Step 10: ENJOY!

Feel free to email me with any questions and I will have the hubs get back to you! ;)


  1. LOVE the teepee! It turned out super cute!

  2. It looks great!!! Will bring hours of entertainment!!! ;)

  3. Awe so sweet for the hubs to build this. Love the picture of you napping in it while Blair runs around like crazy!


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