Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How to Make a Play Tent

You know in that movie "The Holiday" when Cameron Diaz goes to Jude Law's home and his daughters show her their tent?  It's an amazing tent and ever since I saw that movie I've been wanting to make something like that for my kids.  I looked all over the internet for ideas and how-to's but they were all too complicated, or too small for what I wanted.  So I came up with this on my own.  It's not quite as pretty as the one in the movie, but I do have a son, and it's in our playroom so I wanted it to be a little less girly.  By the way, I spent less than $5 on this project. 

It's the perfect spot for reading.

Sorry for the crappy picture quality (I took this with my broken lens that won't autofocus anymore), but here's what it looks like.  The weight of the tent is supported by a dowel rod.  I attached it to the ceiling using white hooks and then tying it to the rod with twine.

I found my stash of old fabric and went to town draping it over the rod.  No sewing for this project!  I ended up ripping some of it into longer strips so that it would come all the way to the floor.  The section in front I tied on to the front of the rod in a knot to make the doorway.

The fabric in the back is also tied on in order to make the back wall of fabric.  In this photo you can kinda see how the ceiling of the tent is draped.  I got that star light while we were on vacation and it just so happened to match the colors of all of my scrap fabric!   I also put a blue light bulb in it to add to the ambiance.  It looks great at night.

You can see the hooks and twine here.  You'll need to use a wall anchor to make sure it can hold the weight, these hooks came with them.

The corners...this is the hardest part.  Once you get all of your fabric draped over your rod, you'll need to make the four corners of your tent.  You can make it as big or small as you like.  I got these smaller hooks and put four of them into the ceiling first.  Then you will need to take a large safety pin and put it through all of your layers of fabric and pull it up.  Then string fishing line (make sure it's pretty sturdy, I've had mine break a couple of times and had to re-do it) between the safety pin and the ceiling hook.  Note:  I used a large paperclip because I didn't have any safety pins and I was too lazy to go buy some.  They are working fine, but I had to jam it through my fabric and I'm sure a pin would work better.

The fishing line will be invisible when standing back.  

My mom happened to be getting rid of an old feather bed so I snatched it up for the bottom of the tent.  It's for a queen sized bed and I folded it in half and covered it with a fitted sheet.  

My kids wanted the doors of the tent to be open, so I found some old curtain tie backs and tied them to the front fabric and attached them to my fishing line to create the open doorway.

And there you have it!  The perfect nook for reading, napping, and even the occasional sleepover!  I love it and so do they.  And the best part is that it was mostly free!

If you have made a tent or end up making one, link to it in the comments of this post, I'd love to see it!

The Lettered Cottage


  1. Love this! You did a great job! (When my girls see it, I know they will want one :)

  2. This is great! My daughter is always asking for a tent/hidey hole.
    Followed your ling from The Lettered Cottage.

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