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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.
A little bit of magic

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
A little bit of magic
A little bit of magic

Open hoop

Saw through Hula-Hoop so it opens up.

A little bit of magic


Hang curtain

Thread end of hoop through curtain panel.

A little bit of magic


Thread the remainder

Thread the remaining panel(s).

A little bit of magic


Close hoop

Close up hoop with duct tape.

A little bit of magic


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.

A little bit of magic


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.

A little bit of magic


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.

A little bit of magic


Tie knots

Make knots on both ends of both cords.

A little bit of magic


Form loop

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

A little bit of magic


Knot the cord

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

A little bit of magic


Make second knot

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

A little bit of magic



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!

A little bit of magic

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