How to Make a Tent Bed

Inspire a spirit of adventure or just create a cozy hideaway for your kid with this adorable tent bed.

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Build a Tent Bed

Build a Tent Bed

Build a cozy tent bed

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Materials Needed:

  • (3) 2"x10"x8' boards
  • (2) 2"x4"x8' boards
  • (3) 2"x2"x8' boards
  • (1) 1"x2"x8' board
  • (3) 1"x6"x10' boards
  • 2-1/2" wood screws
  • (2) 4" wood screws
  • (8) 4" carriage bolts, washers, and nuts
  • (2) 9'x12' canvas drop cloths
  • khaki colored thread
  • sewing machine
  • scissors and/or rotary cutter
  • hook and loop tape

Building the Bed Frame

Cut the 2”x10”x8’ boards to two lengths of 2”x10”x82” and two lengths of 2”x10”x46”. Cut the 2”x4”x8’ boards to two lengths of 67” and four lengths of 8-1/2”. Cut the 2”x2”x8’ boards to four lengths of 48” and one length of 71-7/8”. Cut the 1”x2”x8’ board to 77-3/4”. (Image 1) Sand and stain/varnish the wood as desired. Cut the 1”x6”x10’ boards to nine 38-1/2” lengths. They do not need to be stained and varnished.
At the end of each of the 10” boards mark a line from top to bottom 2 inches from the short edge. Make another line 1-1/2” from that line. Make a line across the two lines 4-5/8” from the long edge, dividing the lines in half. Cut along the two vertical lines to the horizontal line. Make sure that cut extends to the same point on the back of the plank. Use a chisel and hammer to knock out the notch at the horizontal line. (Image 2) The notches should be cut out pointing in the same direction on each board.
Lay one of the long planks on a flat surface with the notches pointed away from you. Place one of the 2”x4”x67” boards on the long plank with the thin, bottom edge flush with the bottom edge of the long plank and 7-1/2 inches away from each end of the long plank. Attach the 2”x4” board to the long plank with wood screws. (Image 3) Lay one of the 2”x4”x8-1/2” boards vertically at the end of each 2”x4”x67” board with the top edge of the 8-1/2” board even with the top of the long edge of the 67” board. Clamp it in place and drill two holes about 1-1/2” apart and through the 2”x4” and the 2”x10” boards with a 1/4” drill bit. Insert carriage bolts from the outside of the 2”x10” boards and through the 2”x4” board. Attach with washers and nuts. (Image 4) Repeat for the other long 10” plank.
Turn the two 2”x10”x46” boards with the notches pointing down. Place the two long 10” boards with the 2”x4” attachments facing each other. Place each of the 2”x10”x46” boards on the ends of the 2”x10”x82” boards intersecting the notches. (Image 5) Place the 1”x6”x38-1/2” slats across the inside 2”x4” supports, spaced evenly. (Image 6)

Building the Tent Frame

Position the end of one of the 2”x2”x4’ boards in the front on the long 2”x10” board just inside the intersection. Place the end of another 2"x2"x4' board in the back at the intersecton on the short 2"x10" board. The opposite ends of the 2”x2” boards should be gathered at the top and clamped tightly together. Lay the clamped boards on a flat surface and lay another board or straight edge on the open ends of the boards with the straight edge lined up with the outside corners of the 2"x2" boards. Make a line across the 2"x2" boards to make a triangle which must be cut away. (Image 1) Remove the clamp and cut away these angles. Repeat for the other two 2”x2” boards.
Use wood screws to attach the boards to the frame with the angled sides down. (Image 2) Place the 2”x2”x71-7/8” board between the attached, angled 2”x2” boards on the ends. Secure all three 2”x2” boards together on each end by screwing a 4” wood screw through the two angled 2”x2” boards and into the end of the 2”x2”x71-7/8” board. (Image 3) Attach the 1”x2”x77-3/4” to the back side of the angled 2”x2” boards 24 inches from the bottom on each side. (Image 4)

Making the Tent Cover

Cut the drop cloth as follows:(1) 77-7/8”x49”, (1) 76”x49”, (2) 47-1/2x46”, (2)4”x49”, (6) 4”x18"

Fold the two 47-1/2”x46” pieces in half with the fold being 47-1/2 inches. Make a mark 2-1/2 inches from the fold at the top of the fabric. Make a diagonal line from the mark to the bottom corner on the edge that is not folded. Cut out the angle for both pieces. (Image 1) Make the ties by folding the 4”x18” in half lengthwise. Iron them in place and then fold the long edges into the center. (Image 2) Fold the two sides together and sew a seam along the open edges close to the edge.
From the 77-7/8”x49” piece cut a notch on both ends of one long edge that is 1 inch from the top edge and 2-1/2 inches from the side edge. Cut a small diagonal line at the corner of the notch and fold 1/2” of each side of the notch over. Sew it in place.
On one of the long edges of the 76" piece fold over 1/2” and then fold the piece in on itself, creating a 1/4” hem. Pin it in place and sew a seam close to the edge. Repeat for the short sides of the 76” piece. On the edge of the 77-7/8” that is not notched fold over 1/2” and then fold the piece in on itself, creating a 1/4” hem. Pin it in place and sew a seam close to the edge. On the bottom and top of the triangle pieces fold over 1/2” and then fold the piece in on itself, creating a 1/4” hem. Pin it in place and sew a seam close to the edge. Create the same hem on both ends of the 4”x49” pieces.
Pin one edge of each of the triangle pieces to the short edges of the 77-7/8” piece, matching up the bottom hems. Sew them together with a 1/2” seam allowance. (Image 3) On the opposite side of each of the triangle pieces pin and sew the 4”x49” pieces with a 1/2” seam allowance, lining up the bottom hems. Fold the opposite long edges of each of the 4”x49” pieces at 1/2” and sew in place.
Lay the piece flat and place the 76” piece on top of the 77-7/8” piece, good side to good side. Pin them in place and sew them together with a 1/2” seam allowance.
Attach three of the straps to the inside of the seam of the 76” piece and the 77-7/8” piece. (Image 4) One strap should be in the center and the other two should be 18 inches from the ends. Repeat this process on the outside of the seam.

Finishing the Bed

Attach a long piece of hook and loop tape to the free long edges of the 49” pieces. (Image 1) Drape the tent cover over the frame. Wrap the 49” pieces around the front poles and add the correlating piece of hook and loop tape to the pole. (Image 2) If not using strong adhesive hook and loop tape it may be necessary to staple the tape in place. Attach a small piece of hook and loop tape the the bottom corner of both of the front poles and then to the inside of both front corners of the tent flap. (Image 3)

Build a Tent Bed

Build a Tent Bed

Build a cozy tent bed

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

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