How to Build a Backyard Teepee

Create a play space or quiet outdoor napping spot with this simple canvas teepee. 
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Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Easy No-Sew Teepee

This simple canvas teepee takes just a short while to construct for hours of enjoyment. 

You Will Need

Nine 10-foot poles, 1 to 1.25 inches in diameter (We used 1.25-inch conduit, but you can use dowels or bamboo also. PVC at this diameter is not rigid enough.) / rope / tape measure / 12' x 15' canvas drop cloth / permanent marker / string / scissors / rotary cutter and cutting board (optional) / craft knife / furnishings such as an old blanket for flooring, light fixture, pillows.

Connecting the teepee base

Gather three of the poles together and wrap rope around it several times about 1 1/2 feet from the end. Tie a tight double knot and remove excess.

Assembling the poles

Find the spot where the teepee will go. Spread the three poles out evenly over the space like a tripod, with the rope and knots at the top. Lay one of the remaining poles between each of the three that are tied. Repeat. Spread the poles out evenly in a circle.  

Measuring the canvas

Open the canvas completely and lay it flat on the ground. Measure the longest edge, which should be very close to 15 feet. Divide the number of inches by two to determine the center point. Measure to that point on the longest edge and mark with a permanent marker. 

Marking the canvas

Tie one end of a string to a permanent marker. Place the marker at one end of the longest edge of the canvas. Stretch the string to the center mark. Extend it a couple of inches longer and cut. Have someone hold the string in place on the center mark while you make a large semi-circle beginning at one end of the longest edge and finishing at the opposite end. 

Cutting the canvas

Use scissors to carefully cut along the line. Keep it as neat as possible—it will not be hemmed, so this edge will show. 

Cutting the strips

With some of the remaining canvas, cut 12 strips that are 1 1/2 inches wide and 18 inches long.

Adding the canvas

Wrap the canvas around the pole structure with the straight edge at the top and semi-circle at the bottom. Begin by placing the center mark you made on the canvas at the top of the pole in the back, opposite of where the door will be. Overlap the straight edges at the front to act as the door. Note: you may want to use a clamp to hold the canvas in the back while you work it into place. Cut two slits about 1 1/2 inches apart at the top, where the door flaps overlap. It should go through both layers. Make two more slits about halfway down and again at the bottom. 

Tying the canvas strips

For the door, pull a canvas strip through both holes of the bottom layer and tie a knot. Pull ends through the holes of the top layer and tie another knot to close. For added support, cut slits at the bottom on either side of the poles and tie canvas to poles with canvas strips. 

Finished Tepee

Your teepee is ready to be furnished or be used as-is for a break from the sun or for children's imaginative play.

The View From Inside

The shady teepee makes a great place for a quiet outdoor nap. 

Play Time

Make a small table and bring a tote of games and activities for outdoor fun.

Make it a retreat

Dress up the table with more grown up stuff for a quiet evening conversation spot. 

Finishing touches

Throw an old blanket down for the floor (fold the edges under to fit inside the teepee), add some pillows, a table and a pendant light for a cozy backyard getaway.

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