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How to make a Teepee Tent


At first, I was reluctant to make this a ‘blog’ project, I thought it would be too time consuming and go against the ‘little time’ theme of this blog. However, after looking at various shop bought teepee designs, I realised that in fact this was not as arduous a task as I thought, and with simplicity in mind, I came up with this design.

You will need:

  • 2.8 metres medium weight cotton fabric (I used Laura Ashley’s ‘Cottage Sprig’ fabric)
  • 6 x 1.8 metre bamboo canes
  • sewing thread
  • fabric scissors
  • sewing machine
  • garden twine or string
  • 2 metres of complimentary ribbon for the ties
  • newspaper
  • a few clothes pegs

Approximate time needed: 4 hours

1. Start by arranging the 6 garden canes to form a rough teepee structure. It helps if you imagine 2 canes as the front opening, 2 for the sides and 2 for the back. Ensure that they are evenly spaced before tying the twine around the point were they all meet. This bit can be tricky so you may need another pair of hands!

2. Measure the length of one cane from the top (where the canes meet) to where you’d like the fabric to finish. I went with a 130 cm length then added 6 cm for hems. So 136 cm was my radius ready for the next stage:

3. To make the pattern for the fabric; cellotape together pages of a newspaper until you have a piece large enough to draw a quarter circle using your radius. i.e, I used a ‘sharpie’ pen tied to a piece of string the same length as my radius (136 cm) and used that as a compass to draw a quarter circle. If the fabric you are using is plain you can  go ahead and draw a semi circle.

Draw a quarter circle onto newspaper

4. Pin the quarter circle onto your fabric and cut it out. Then using the paper patten again, pin to the fabric and cut with the pattern going in the opposite direction. This is to ensure that when the two quarter circles are joined together and then draped over teepee structure, the pattern will be the right way up all around. If you are using a plain fabric, you just need to cut out your semi circle from the newspaper and then use that to cut a semi circle from your fabric.

5. Join the two quarter circles together to make a semi circle buy sewing a 1/2 ” seam. Then cut a semi circle in the middle of the straight edge of the fabric approx 15 cm across to fit around the top of the teepee.

cut a 10-15cm semi circle on the straight edge

6. Pin and sew a 3cm double hem all around, including the small semi-circle cut out of the straight edge. Tip: if you snip little notches into this it will be easier to fold and sew.

7. Drape the finished fabric over the teepee structure. The seam should sit in the middle of the back two canes and at the front one side of the fabric should overlap the other. Use the clothes pegs to temporarily hold the fabric in place.

use clothes pegs to temporarily hold fabric in place

8. Cut ten 15 cm pieces of your ribbon and use 2 for the front opening at the top, 2 for the front opening at the bottom and 6 for the bottoms of each cane. Pin these in place and then sew on securely. For the bottoms of each cane, these should be sewn on the inside so not to be visible, then they can be tied onto the cane from the inside.

Although this is one of the more time consuming projects I’ve put on here, I think it is worth that extra time as the kids can have so much fun in it, in the garden or inside on a rainy day.


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