You all know I can’t sew, like hardly at all, like hand me a hot glue gun and I could totally make you a slip cover with it, but actual sewing? Ugh, it requires too much patience and precision and I just like to wing it. So, this DIY kids teepee was a huge stretch for me, and my mother-in-law totally rescued me on this one!
My daughter’s school has a Harvest Auction every year to help raise money for the school. Each class is responsible for making an item to be auctioned off. My friend and I thought a teepee would be the perfect thing to auction off; kids love them and they could help by decorating it with their hand prints.
In theory this really isn’t hard to sew, but since this isn’t for my family, I wanted it to be really sturdy (more tips on that below). My mother-in-law (as my girlie will tell you) sewed basically the whole thing. My daughter felt the need to clarify this to the whole class – “My mom didn’t really make this my grandma had to sew the whole thing because my mom’s not so good at sewing!” – thanks for calling me out dude :)
You only need to be able to sew straight lines to make this so don’t be intimidated by the fact that I passed this off to an experienced seamstress, I just wanted to make sure this didn’t fall apart because of my inferior sewing skills.
I found this great pattern and easy directions from Ana White (click here to find all the plans and info for how to make your own) and it only cost around $50 to make.
The schools theme this year is “Rooted In Him” based on Colossians 2:6-7 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built in up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” I love the message of this verse and I think it is such a great theme for the kids this year.
Ana’s original plan calls to customize the outside of the tent with your child’s name, but I wanted to incorporate the theme so I decided to paint this fun tree. The tent is made of duck cloth which is really affordable and takes paint well, so it’s totally customizable.
You may notice there are leaves “falling” off the tree…we can just pretend that was me being artistic…
in reality I went to wash my brushes out and came back and my
little stinker beloved girlie had decided to put her own artistic spin on it by drawing birds on it…
with permanent marker…
I appreciate her willingness to help, but oh man after painstakingly cutting this all out and sewing it, I really didn’t want to start over. Thankfully the Mr. came up with the idea to make the birds into falling leaves. Phew – crisis averted!
There were a few things I would recommend that worked for me that were a little different than Ana’s plans –
TIP #1 The original plans called for ribbon to be used and actually Jaime from That’s My Letter made this tent on her blog too and suggested using nylon webbing. I used the nylon webbing method too, but we were having trouble with it fraying. So either melt the ends with a match (I tried this after the whole thing was sewed together and almost started the tent on fire…yeah, that would have been not cool…) or use a zig zag stitch to secure the ends (my mother-in-laws recommendation after learning about my pyrotechnics).
TIP #2 Once you get your whole tent pinned together – BEFORE sewing, make sure the wood poles will fit through your loops…I’m not saying our’s didn’t fit and we had to rip the whole thing apart…twice…I’m just saying, you know, maybe double check…
TIP #3 There was a lot of excess wood sticking up on the top of the tent because you are supposed to use 8 ft boards, I had 1 foot cut off the end to make them 7 ft long and a little more manageable.
While on the subject of the wood – the plans say you need to negotiate with them a little to get it to stand up right. That’s true, we have found that they need to be arranged just like this to work –
Once we (and I use the term “we” loosely – thanks mom!) finished sewing this all up, I brought it to the school and the kids had the best time putting their hand prints around the bottom and they each wrote their name on it too.
Now if you could all wish me luck explaining to my kiddos that the teepee needs to go to it’s new home…either that or I need to get my checkbook out :)