These pup tents are adjustable in width which varies the height, but a rough estimate of 48″x 44″x 44″. Meaning, they take up floor space of 48″ in depth, are around 44″ in width, depending on how close you move the legs, and the height varies slightly from 44″ (unless your kids army crawl in their tents and you move the legs out to do the splits!).
1-2 children comfortably play in our tents, and all 4 of our kids have secret pow-wows in a tent pretty regularly. Although, they each love having their very own tent.
Note: The Carrying Bag does not fit the rods, as little bodies could not comfortably carry 4 foot dowels and 1 x 2s.
- (2) 8 foot 1×2 pine boards, cut in half
- (3) 3/4 inch diameter dowels, 48 inches in length
- (1) fabric quarter of contrasting fabric (18x21inches)
- (1) 8 inch x 36 strip of (contrasting, if desired) fabric for bag strap (or this measurement is exactly included in bulk fabric for the tent)
- 5 yards of fabric (44 inches in width)
- 22 yards of 1/4-1/2″ contrasting bias tape (I made my own double fold and like the smaller thickness, but you are welcome to buy it already made. Just remember, if you are buying only single fold, you will need to fold in the unfinished edges again and your thickness will decrease by half)*
- (1) 8-12 inch long piece of iron-on or sew-on velcro, up to 1 inch thick (thicker is better)
- Drill with 3/4 drill bit
*You can certainly get away with less bias tape, or even using only bias tape on the flaps, and ribbon for the ties, but for small hands, my children prefer longer strings to practice their bows!
PLEASE READ THROUGH THE TUTORIAL ENTIRELY BEFORE BEGINNING THIS PROJECT.
Step 1-Gather and Prep Materials
If you didn’t have your pine 1×2 boards cut at the home improvement store, cut them in half. Sand all surfaces of the boards and dowels so your littles do not get splinters. Drill 3/4″ holes on each side of the 1x2s, so the hole begins 1″ from the end. Stain, if desired.
Prep all large pieces of fabric (I like to launder and iron first, then cut).
IF your fabric pattern is multi-directional, cut 1 piece at 98″. If you have directional fabric, you will want to cut 2 pieces at 50, sewing them together so if they are draped over a rod, the pattern’s direction is right side up from floor to rod, on both sides (Use 1″ seam allowance, making your completed piece 98″ x 44″). Sew median line with a zigzag stitch for extra durability.
Cut (2) pieces of fabric at 36 inches (by 44″). Cut these pieces exactly in half, hot-dog style, to make 4 rectangles 22″x 36″
Time out for some origami to make an equilateral triangle. Take a piece of 8.5″ x 11″ paper. Fold hot-dog style (making your paper now 4.25″ x 11″). Unfold. Measure up your midpoint 7 3/8″, mark with a heavy dot, mentally label “A.” With a ruler, draw a line from each lower corner to “Point A” and crease. You now have a triangle that measures 8.5 x 8.5 x 8.5. Measure to double check. Cut out this triangle.
Use this paper template to trace and cut out 2 triangles from your FABRIC QUARTER. (The picture below is ~1″ too big, measurements have been revised above).
You are now ready to hem, (bias) tape, and sew!
Step 2-Hem and Bias Tape
Take your long piece of fabric, 44 x 98″, and we are going to quickly hem the 2 short sides (44″) and use that hem to strengthen our pocket for the dowels to go in. I used a 1-inch hem that I double folded to get rid of raw edges.
On both sides, measure up 3.5 inches and sew this hem to that spot across the fabric. These pockets we are creating will house the dowels. (I like to tuck my fabric in on the sides of the pocket, so you see no fray)
Let’s move on to the flaps that will enclose the tent.
If you have directional fabric, you will need to pay close attention to the direction of your fabric in these next directions.
Lay out your 4 pieces of fabric in front of you two-by-two, right side up, and in the direction you want them to lay. Hem the bottoms of all four pieces (1 inch, double-folded again to get rid of raw edges). Again, lay out your fabric in the same 2-by-2 pattern, facing up, with directional fabric facing up. These 4 pieces will need contrasting bias tape to cover their raw edges in the center of each pair (Going from top of the picture to bottom). You will need (4) 36-inch long pieces of bias tape. If you want to make your own, here‘s an excellent video on how-to. Sew your bias tape on. You should now have 2 panels with bias tape on the left, and 2 panels with bias tape on the right.
Now, we are going to cut these to make each flap of the tent.
Measure 4.25″ from the bias tape on the top of your fabric (that has not been hemmed). Fold that outer corner until your measurement meets with the lower corner. Check below for reference. Cut a clean line here. Mirror the same cut on the other pieces, always measuring from the bias-taped edge. Do not discard your scraps! Set aside these 4 triangles for the Carrying Bag.
Next, your Bias tape will need to be sewn. All pieces need to be sewn into one long strip. See this video again for clarification on how to join bias tape. Then, all edges need a quick run through the sewing machine to close up open ends and make your tie-backs for the flaps. Cut 16 tie-backs at 30 inches. (Tip: You can cut another if you want to hang lanterns from the center dowel once the tent is up!)Tie ends to prevent fray.
We will call these “Tie Backs,” referring to them tying back the flaps, and tying the tent to the 1 x 2s.
Hemming and Tie Backs are complete.
Step 3-Sewing Together Tent Flaps/Doors
First, lay your two sets of flaps out, face up, bias tape in the middle. They should look like an upside-down V with the top chopped off. Place your Equilateral Triangle at the top, wrong side of the fabric facing you, paying attention to the orientation of the fabric (your triangle fabric, if directional, should be upside-down). You are going to be adding the point of your upside-down V. Line up your edges and pin.
Sew, iron press edges open, zig-zag stitch the seam for durability, running over the flaps a few extra times with stitching for added strength.
Now, roll down the top of your triangle and pin or you can hem. You can lop a small triangle off of the top, or just fold 1 inch down to give some room for the top dowel to fit through.
Repeat with the other two flaps and triangle.
All done with the flaps!
Step 4-Sewing Together Tent Body
Now to sew all the pieces together!
Lay out your long piece of fabric, right side up.
Now we are going to place our tie-backs…. 4 ties per side below the center seam, and an additional one in the middle to tie back the flaps open.
From center, place a tie at 8″, 17″, (place a pin at 22), 27″ and 38″. The center tie back is a little different. To be able to tie back the open flap correctly, it needs to be placed on each side of the flap to allow it to tie back nicely. Let’s put that tie back with only half on our fabric. (This picture also shows how to place the first set of flaps on your large piece of material) Take one triangle pieces, wrong side of fabric up, and line up the edge with the triangle piece starting an inch lower. (If you have a selvage edge that is not printed on, you can move your whole flap piece over to allow the selvage to not be seen once you sew the pieces together.) Pin. Place the middle tie back to the front of the flap and pin. (mirror image below)
Sew down that side from the top of your hemmed triangle to the pocket where the dowel will fit through at the bottom of your large fabric rectangle. Repeat same process on the left side of the fabric (not forgetting that middle tie back, and stopping at the dowel pocket).
Now, the raw edges of your flaps need to be sewn to the opposite sides of the large rectangle. Fold the rectangle in half and take the bottoms of your unfinished flaps and place them 1 inch from the end of the un-sewn rectangle. See image below:
Don’t forget about your middle tie backs!
Sew, ending at the dowel pocket.
Now iron your seams so that you can stitch a topstitch on all of your loose ends…
Turn in your bottom “flap” corners and iron as well.
We are going to sew these flaps with a decorative and sturdy topstitch. Start at the bottom right side of your tent and topstitch all the way around the entire flap/doors triangle, avoiding the loose tie backs…
Once you get to your Equilateral Triangle, stitch carefully around your folded edge and make your way all the way back down the flap.
If you don’t want to tuck under the small piece that will be touching the dowel and your center seam, you can sew that while you’re up here, also. Be warned that it makes it more difficult to put in the dowel because it catches on the fabric, so I opted out).
Finish up your “flap” ends by tucking in those raw edges when you sew that last inch.
Repeat with the other side of the flap/door triangle.
Step 5-Quick Carrying Bag
Obtain your 4 triangles left over from your flap/doors and one 8″ x 36″ piece of fabric.
Sew the triangles opposite of each other to make 2 rectangles. Iron seams. Using your 8×36 piece of fabric, make a giant piece of bias tape rope, like we did before, double-folding lengthwise, to tuck your raw ends in and make a strap 2″ wide. Turn the ends of your straps in so no raw edges out.
Sew the open ends of your strap together.
Double-fold and double hem the 1 top of each rectangle.
Lay the strap diagonally on to one of the face up rectangles 1″ from the sides, folding the ends in 2 inches and sew 2 inch squares with a middle X design on both the top and bottom of the strap. Sew the 3 raw edges of the bag together. Iron-on or sew on a strip of Velcro to the mouth of the bag.
Your bag is complete.
STEP 6-PUT TOGETHER!!!
Yay! The best part! Put together your tent!
First, thread all of the dowels. One dowel through the holes you made above each of the doors, and 2 go in the pockets you made at the bottom. Place (2) 1x2s on each side of the dowel and secure side by side. Make an A-Frame. Put the bottom dowels through the holes in the bottoms of your 1x2s. Tie your tent to your frame. To store, you can keep you dowels in and put your 1x2s on the inside of your flattened tent, and roll them all up and tie together with left over bias tape….
Or, you can take your dowels out and stuff your folded tent in your new carrying bag (here are my kids’ sleeping bags stuffed in their Carrying Bag on Christmas Day…
I hope my first tutorial was clear and you love and cherish your tents as much as we do ours!