Homemade Teepee


Teepees are one of the oldest American traditions, a cool addition to any yard or camping trip. Purchasing a teepee can be a huge expense, but making one seems extremely daunting. Learning how to fashion a homemade teepee may not be as difficult as you think. Creating this functional conversation piece takes time and materials, and can be very simple to complete.

Preparing the Teepee Cover

To create a homemade teepee, you'll need to use strong material such as tarp or canvas. Cut the material so that it's roughly twice as long as it is wide (for a 10-foot teepee, it would be 30 feet by 15 feet). Using a knife, shape the material into a semi-circular pattern. On each end, cut a small semi-circle right into the material. When the two ends are brought together, these gaps will create a circular opening to be used as a door. You'll also want to cut two small, slit-like flaps near the top of the cloth to serve as smoke holes. If you want to decorate your teepee cover, lay it out flat and apply paint as desired. Allow your designs to dry thoroughly before you move on to the next step in making a homemade teepee. Save the remaining scraps of teepee cover material, because you'll use them later to complete the design.

Placing the Teepee Poles

Twelve poles, each 3 feet longer than the width of the teepee cover, will be used to create the teepee. Use smooth, very straight poles, because these will serve as the foundation for your teepee. Secure rope loops to the bottom hem of the teepee cover, making sure the loops are evenly spaced. You will place your poles through these loops to serve as supports. Attach another rope around the top of the poles where they meet the teepee cover. Use three of the sturdiest poles to form a tripod. Secure the tripod together with rope, slightly higher than the larger grouping of poles. You should have the beginnings of a conical-shaped homemade teepee.

Completing the Teepee

Now that the frame and teepee cover are essentially in place, stake the material down with wooden or metal pegs. First, stretch the material on the frame so that it meets the ground with 2 to 3 inches to spare. Using a mallet or hammer, drive the pegs through the hem of the material. Repeat the process all the way around, stretching the material so that it covers the whole frame. Get out the scraps of material you saved earlier. Fold two scraps into small pockets, and sew them onto the smoke flaps. Add as much material as necessary to make the area strong. Repeat the process with a single large piece of material to create a cover for the door. Sew one side of the door to the circular opening of the tent. The other side should have a small stick sewn into it, to serve as a peg so you can hold the door flap in place.

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About this Author

K.C. Morgan is a professional freelance writer, with articles and blog posts appearing on dozens of sites. Morgan published her first novel in 2002, following quickly with a second book a year later. During her years of writing professionally, Morgan has covered a wide range of topics for sites such as Suite 101, Gear Live Media and Developer Shed.

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