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Build a magical fort with kids using household items

Jenn Kirk is a graphic designer by trade, but enjoys escaping the computer by developing hands-on DIY projects, especially the messy kind that involves her four and six-year-old boys. Recent transplants from coastal California, the Kirks...

A little bit of magic

Want to bust the boredom and really impress your kids? Create this impressive fort with materials you probably already have around your house.
Completed fort

On slow summer days, the kids have taken to constructing forts with whatever materials they can get their hands on. Finding that the living room couch cushions were more often on the floor than on the couch itself, I figured it was time to put together a dedicated fort for my little builders. This project came together quickly, and if you don't have any curtain panels to spare, you can purchase a pair from Ikea for just $10.

To make your own fort, here's what you need:


  1. Large plastic Hula-Hoop, approximately 32 inches in diameter
  2. 2–3 drape panels that are at least 57 inches wide
  3. Duct tape
  4. Medium-weight cord or rope


  • Scissors
  • Hacksaw
  • Ceiling hook for installation
Fort night collage
Fort night collage two

Open hoop

Saw through Hula-Hoop so it opens up.

Cut and open hoop


Hang curtain

Thread end of hoop through curtain panel.

Hang curtain


Thread the remainder

Thread the remaining panel(s).

Thread the remainder


Close hoop

Close up hoop with duct tape.

Close hula hoop


Cover hoop

The hoop's color can be seen through gaps between the curtain panels, so
attach a piece of duct tape to cover the design.

Cover hoop


Tie first cord

Tie a cord across the hoop's diameter (being careful not to make it too taut) by knotting the cord around the hoop at both of the cord's ends, in the spaces between the panels.

Tie first cord


Tie second cord

You will need to tie another piece of cord to the hoop perpendicular to the first, forming a cross for stability when the the fort is suspended from the ceiling.
But first, snip holes in the fabric where you will pass the cord through and around the hoop.

Tie second cord


Tie knots

Make knots on both ends of both cords.

Tie knots


Form loop

Take a piece of cord about 16 inches long and loop it around the point where the two cords cross.

Form loop


Knot the cord

Knot the 16-inch cord around itself at the point where the other two cords cross.

Knot the cord


Make second knot

Make another knot higher up, toward the end. Your fort is ready to hang!

Make second knot



Hang the fort by attaching the loop to a ceiling hook. Your kids can now decorate the fort with anything they like (see picture below for suggestions). Enjoy!

Completed fort

More fun projects from SheKnows

How to build a backyard pillow fort
Cool canvas art crafts
Make an indoor terrarium for kids

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