Build this fun fort for the kids without any sewing involved

Nov 21, 2014 at 2:30 p.m. ET
Image: Debbie Wolfe

My kids love to build forts. I like that they use their imagination to make these hideouts. What I do not like is the abuse my furniture and my bed linens have to endure in these endeavors. So, I took it upon myself to build them a teepee in the backyard.

The teepee is made from supplies I purchased from my local home improvement store. This tarp is just a canvas painter's drop cloth. It’s not waterproof, but I added grommets so I can easily unlace the tarp and bringing it indoors during inclement weather.


DIY Kids fort: Supplies

  • 6 (1 x 1 x 10-foot) wooden poles
  • Twine
  • Handheld drill
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  •  9 x 12-foot painter's canvas cloth (tarp)
  •  6-count grommet packet with kit


Step 1:

DIY Kids fort: Step 1 measure

Lay out your wooden poles side by side. Measure and mark 69 inches from the top of all the poles.
Drill a 1/4-inch hole through the center mark of all the poles.

Step 2:

DIY Kids fort: Step 2 cut twine

Cut a 4-foot length of twine and string it through each hole. Tie a knot on each board as you go through, then wrap the twine around each board before you string it through the next.
Once the twine is loosely threaded through the boards, tie a loose knot and stand the poles up. Begin spreading the poles out and positioning each on to your preferred width. Make sure that the poles are sitting level.

Step 3:

DIY Kids fort:Step 3 wrap twine on support poles

Once you have the teepee shape you want, wrap the tops of the poles with layers of additional twine. Pull the twine tight and tie with a secure knot.

Step 4:

DIY Kids fort: Step 4

Fold your tarp in half along the 9-foot length side.
From 1 corner of the folded edge, measure 69 inches toward the middle of the folded tarp. Mark that point. Pivot the tape measure over 4 inches to 1 side of the center point, and make a mark. Continue to do this on both sides of the center point until you have several points to connect. This will make a semicircle.

Step 5:

DIY Kids fort: Step 5 cut canvas

Cut along the radius line you've created.

Step 6:

DIY Kids fort: Step 6 cut top hole for poles

At the opposite end of the folded edge, measure a 6-inch radius and create a semicircle. Cut along that line. This is the opening in which the top of the poles will go through.

Step 7:

DIY Kids fort: Step 7 add grommets

At the top of the tarp (the smaller opening), measure 4 equal spacings for the grommets. I used 3 on each side. You have to make a small cut in the canvas in order for the grommet to pass through. Insert your grommet and use the driver from the grommet kit to set it.
After you insert the grommets, wrap the tarp around the teepee and thread the grommets with a piece of twine (like lacing a shoe).

Step 7

DIY Kids fort: Step 7 Finished

Add some kids and enjoy!

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