Crafting Life

A rough weekend, and a tent

February 8, 2016
diy play tent old fashioned modern living

It’s been quite a handful of days. You know the kind of days that just run into each other, where you find yourself so emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted you can barely tell which way is up? That’s pretty much the kind I’m talking about.

My grandmother passed away the middle of last week, and the days since have more or less been a whirlwind. Between the snow on Friday, hours in the car, long days running after a toddler in unfamiliar places, countless hellos and goodbyes, and everything else this weekend has held, I’m just burnt out. I woke up this morning to more snow falling outside, a living room strewn with toys, and a sink full of haphazardly piles dishes I don’t even remember using. Honestly, I’m glad it’s a quiet day. I have nothing planned, nothing of note on the agenda. I can just tidy up, play with Little Miss and try to keep myself occupied.

On a side note, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: babies are the best. I worried and worried about how to handle Little Miss in the funeral home, how she’d behave during the mass, if I’d be able to get her to nap, how to wake her up early without it completely ruining the day. She was a darling in the funeral home, all 18 months of her stomping around in her brand new light up sneakers, making everyone smile. She woke up early of her own accord the day of the funeral, and read her little board book and hugged me through the mass. I’m telling you, it was like she knew.

diy play tent old fashioned modern livingBut anyway. It’s Monday. It’s snowing. I kind of want to go into a pillow fort and stay there.

I’m not sure I have enough pillows for a fort, but I may have the next best thing.

Awhile back I saw a pin on Pinterest for a little DIY play tent for kids, which I sent along to my brother (Kristen’s husband) to ask how difficult it would be to make. The answer was, not very. We kept forgetting about it, so even though it was made weeks and weeks ago, it just came to us this weekend. So Saturday, at the end of the day we came home and I set up the tent quickly for Little Miss as a thank you for being such a sweet girl through everything.

If you want a tutorial on how to make this, just do a Google search for “DIY play tent” and you’ll find plenty. I’m just going to give an outline so you know how simple this was!

The frame of the tent consists of three 1/2″ dowels that you can buy at a hardware or craft store, and four 4′ boards of 1×2″ wood (these usually come in 8′ lengths at the hardware store, and you may be able to ask an employee to just cut them in half for you). My brother rounded the edges of the 1×2″ boards, but you can just sand them to make sure they’re not splintery. From there, the only power tool you really need is a drill, to drill the hole in each end of the boards. To assemble, just pop them together.

The fabric portion is an old bed sheet I had been holding onto. I cut it roughly 44×94″, hemmed the cut long edge and then folded and stitched the bottom to make a little channel to slip the dowels through. It’s sloppy – the edges aren’t perfectly straight and it’s a little big causing some sagging, but I did it quickly after a long day, and after I had removed my contacts too. Little Miss didn’t seem to mind.

Saturday evening I set up the tent in the living room, pulled in a blanket and pillow, and Little Miss and I spent the evening cuddling and having pretend tea parties in the tent while her daddy watched television. Not a pillow fort, but pretty darn nice.

Here’s my breakdown on the tent project:

The cost: by my estimation, the wood cost about $10 and the fabric price will depend on what you use. If you have fabric on hand or repurpose something like I did (don’t forget thrift shops for sheets and blankets for cheap fabric) it will be fairly inexpensive.

The time: According to my brother, he didn’t even cut the dowels. The active work time included measuring the two 1×2″ boards and cutting them from 8′ to 4′ long, rounding the edges and drilling 8 holes. The fabric part is very simple, but will depend on how fast you work.

Moving forward: I plan to either stain or paint the wood portion both for looks and durability, but I will wait until it’s warmer and I can work outside. I’d also like to go to a thrift store to buy a blanket to make a nicer, better fitting fabric cover. The style I did here is the simplest, but you can also make a back and front flaps, attach it with ribbons, or add a channel for the top dowel as well.

The benefits: It’s a fun little play space for the little ones, and I kind of like it as well. It can be assembled and disassembled very quickly and easily, and is totally portable. It will be a great sunshade for outdoor events, and I’m looking forward to setting it up in the yard for Little Miss this summer.

Troubleshooting: I’m finding that the legs of the tent are spreading a little, so I need to find a way to brace them to stay in place. This is fairly simple, I just haven’t had a chance to deal with it yet.

Alright…back to the tent we go.

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