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The TeePee!

Last year I promised Elsie a teepee for Christmas but with more on my plate than I anticipated (duh! this happens EVERY year) she and Jeremy had to settle for an embroidered teepee!

This year I was scheming to get it done before Christmas so she could enjoy the twinkly lights and coziness a little early. There were many occasions when I had to bite my tongue so I wouldn't let my excitement slip and I didn't want to let her know I was hoping to make one in case something else came up and I couldn't finish in time.

The evening before I knew I'd have it finished for sure, I had Brett call Jeremy to make sure it didn't look suspicious in case Elsie were around. Once the coast was clear I took the phone and we arranged for him to take her out to dinner and for me to get the key to the loft from Erin who would be at work in the store below. It all went off without a hitch and ... I think she likes it!

I've had more than a few people ask for a tutorial on this teepee but I didn't take step by step pictures so the best I can share is the process I went through to get what I got. Here you go.

Purchased:
* 6 - eight foot 1" x 2" x 8' pieces of pine from Lowe's @ about $1.75 each (I'd go with the next grade of wood if you're going to make this for rambunctious little Indians)
* 1 - 9' x 12' canvas drop cloth from Ace Hardware (although I'm sure I could've picked this up at Lowe's had I been more efficient with my errands)
* 1 tube of acrylic paint
* 1 paint brush
* 2 rolls of cream satin ribbon 3/4" wide
* 15" of 1/4" elastic

I also used a drill to make the holes at the tops of each pole, thrifted yarn to help keep my poles spaced evenly while I measured them, a yardstick, a long cut of canvas to tie the poles together (although I would recommend leather cord or a leather shoelace).

I decided on the 8' poles because I knew I wanted a large teepee but you can always cut them down. I measured 12" from the top and drilled holes using a 1/8" bit. After tying them together with a little slack between them all, I stood them up to decide how far apart I wanted the poles.

I went with 36" between the bases of all poles except for the opening which was 58" wide.

I then laid out my canvas so that I had five panels that measured 4" at the top and 38" at the bottom and were 80" tall. To get this rectangular shape I started at the bottom and measured out 38" and made a mark. From the center of that I measured up 80" and made a mark. I then measured 2" on each side of the center of that last mark to get 4" at the top. Next, it's best to use two yard sticks taped together, or tack down some yarn at one edge of the top and pull it taught to meet the bottom edge of the same side. This will help you get a long, straight angled line between the top and bottom. Cut out your first panel and use it as your template for the rest.

Your front panel will have a different measurement. I used a top piece that measured 5" x 21" x 19" and then two door panels that measured 12.5" on each top, 33" on each bottom and 58" on the angled sides.

After all of your pieces are cut out, sew your five large panels together at the sides, making sure all the top edges are even.

Next, assemble the front panel. Hem your door panels on the straight sides that will meet in the middle. Then pin them to the top part of this panel. Sew them together making sure they hang straight once you're done. Add some back stitching where the two panels meet on the top panel for extra reinforcement. Then sew one side of this panel to the rest of your teepee.

Fold the entire top edge down towards the inside of your teepee 1/2" or more and stitch. Then using a safety pin, string some elastic through. Stitch one end down and then pull taught before carefully stitching the other end down. Once your top has this pocket panel with elastic in it, you can sew together the last long sides of your teepee together. It should be inside out when you are done. Almost there! Fold your bottom edge in 1/2" twice to form your bottom hem. You'll have a little extra at each seam but your machine probably wouldn't have the ability to make it over these little hills anyway.

Hand-stitch three 12" cuts of ribbon on the inside seams of each panel. This will hold your panels in place once you've tied and knotted them around each pole. You will also want to hand-stitch three sets of ribbon ties to your door panels. Be sure to space them evenly starting with one close to the bottom of the door. If you'd like your door panels to hang open as shown, hand-stitch a ribbon tie to the outside of your teepee where your panel would draw up. See picture for example.

Slip your canvas over your poles, straighten, and marvel at your accomplishment. Decorate with acrylic paint or embroider your heart out. Be sure to send me pictures!

xoxo,
Rachel

34 comments:

Kara said...

Seriously the coolest thing ever. LOVE.

Bekka said...

Love it!!! Thanks for the tutorial!

hollysarah said...

what a friend! Sounded like she was really surprised, and I think that's among the coolest gifts I've seen. :)
thanks for sharing the tips on how you made it, maybe Simon & Delilah will have a teepee to escape to one day....
xo

mrs boo radley said...

Adding this post to my favorites...
I think boo rad and I will move into a teepee someday.

Contessa Kris said...

Beautiful gift. I know my little one would love it. Heck, I would move right in!

my name is lauren. said...

what a fun gift. a teepee...the gift that keeps on giving :).

terra said...

i love this. i had a teepee when i was little and it was the most fun ever. slumber parties are the best inside the teepee!

Sweet Escape said...

thank you so much for posting directions,,i am really excited to build one for myself!!!,,it's like a fun adventure!!!

Toni Brockliss said...

It is so fantastic! What a beautiful friend you are. You have a lovely friendship.
X
ps goal no.1 on running. I am the worlds worst runner. Think Phoebe from Friends. :)

Chris said...

totally totally brilliant - I just wish I had room for one - it looks so magical!

Holly said...

I love this. Thanks for the tutorial. I'm trying to figure out how one can go in my apartment and still fit into my new apartment when I move. There's gotta be a way. I don't think my landlord will mind too much to have a teepee in the living room, do you?

Sophie said...

Wow! So Cool..I've thought about this a while before I have to type in anywords..wordless..

Thanks for sharing..

I'm still going to think about it..

Geek+Nerd said...

You are clearly an awesome friend! Elsie is lucky!

San Smith said...

This is such a cool gift !! I really want to try to make one now, and I love that you placed little fairy lights around and in it. So magical.

Impressions Of My Life At The Moment said...

Perfection! I want one for my son now! Hum... I need to get craftier to make it! Thanks for the inspiration!

Amy said...

Wow Rachel! what a great accomplishment! I know she is thrilled to have it! I would be that seeing that teepee in her room will go down as one of her top 10 experiences ever. You were like Santa!
That's also so generous of you to write out your process/instructions. THat took a lot of time and thought (which is hard to come by with a newborn!)

Also, if you are wanting to make running fun again, consider these ideas:
1) if you plan on running with the children, get a nice running jogger. Make sure the handle bar is adjustable and that jogger can turn corners easily. I had one that did NOT turn corners AT ALL!
I ended up giving it to goodwill. Plus my son hated it. and make sure they kiddos are comfortable enough in it. THey can get kind of pricey, but it would be worth it!
2) get some great new running shoes and clothes.
that made the biggest differnece for me. Target has a great selection of Chanmpion workout gear at great prices!

good luck and thanks again!

RachelDenbow said...

Thanks everyone!

Amy,
I still have a baby jogger from when Sebastian was little, got some new running shoes for Christmas, and am still a member at our local YMCA! They take babies after 6 weeks so we're set!

I think that means I have no excuses.

Riah said...

Ha. When I was about 8 years old me and my friends and their older brother built a teepee in the woods in their back yard... we'd spend all day in there until me and my friends little sisters got lost in the woods one time and we weren't allowed back there anymore. ah memories.

My Love is..... said...

so gorgeous. sign me up for this one next year!

imperialhotel said...

This is so cute. I want to make one of these for my sister!

Michelle said...

Love how crafty you are. That is an awesome gift!

Cat said...

AMAZING!!!!!

Heidi said...

That is so cute :)If I just had bigger place..

Fort & Field said...

Wow! That's amazing! I'm sure she loved it. I used to drape sheets and blankets all over my living room to make caves. This would've been so much neater!

loladee said...

OMG That is wonderful. I want one for myself!

mattguy_c said...

Hi Rachel,

I love your teepee idea and I'm ready to buy all the parts to make it. I'm just a little confused about some of your instructions. Is there a way to get some close up pictures of some of the teepee? Like the top tied and elastic portion of the teepee, as well as the inside ribbon lining and such. I do better if I can see it as well as read instructions. You're extremely talented to come up with this on your own. I can't create unless I see something as an example.

Annie

jen said...

Are you sure you only used 1 drop cloth? I am trying to sew this for my kiddo's birthday and I am having problems with the measurements. I am supposed to cute 5 panels that are 38" wide (190" total). But a 9x12 cloth is only 144" wide. Did you cut the last panel and the front from the remaining fabric?

jen said...

Are you sure you only used 1 drop cloth? I am trying to sew this for my kiddo's birthday and I am having problems with the measurements. I am supposed to cute 5 panels that are 38" wide (190" total). But a 9x12 cloth is only 144" wide. Did you cut the last panel and the front from the remaining fabric?

k. templeton said...

i just wanted to say thank you for the tutorial. i just finished the teepee today and my kids love it! there is plenty of space for all three of them to play and read books.

i did have to piece together the door flaps in order to have enough fabric from the drop cloth, but it looks great.

i think i only spent $25

thanks again!

beka*b said...

This looks so fab! I remember seeing Elsie's and thinking how much fun :) Now I am in the midst of planning a Peter Pan party for my eldest and this would be so cool to have as part of the decor setup. Have saved this for reference. Thanks!

stephmodo said...

Good for you Rachel! I wish I had one...:)

And no, ours didn't sell either. We have lovely long-term renters though and will revisit selling it a little later...

How's that babe of yours? Growing up too fast? :)

Rachel Harwood said...

I LOVE the Teepee!!! How cool!

If you have any kid-inspired things to share, I'd love to have you link up to my new link party, For the Kids Fridays!
http://sunscholars.blogspot.com
:)rachel

Trish@CraftyMoods.com said...

I love this!! searched everywhere for a good tutorial...Will be making my own version for my craft blog-would love to share and link back to you!
-Trish

Delaney said...

You've been featured on Fabulousity Friday @ Sweet Tea Serendipity! Stop by & pick up your award! http://sweetteaserendipity.blogspot.com/2011/07/fabulousity-friday-4.html