Finally, Emma’s & Bri Bri’s teepee.
The girls have actually been sleeping in this teepee since my birthday, but in keeping with my habitual inability to post content timely, I’m just now getting around to sharing this project/space with y’all. Because I just got around to photographing it a couple days ago.
For my birthday this year I took down the girls’ bunk beds (they stopped sleeping in their beds months ago, instead opting for “sleepover” every night on the floor of their room so why not?) and gifted them a handmade no-sew teepee for their room, because I’m nice like that and like to share the joy. JK. I did this on my birthday because Shannon had to go out of town last minute(-ish) that weekend and it really fucking sucked, so I had to keep my mind busy. And obviously the best way to do that is to build a teepee. So that’s what I did.
I don’t have a sewing machine or patience, so I opted to go for a no-sew version of this project. All the tutorials made it look/sound super quick and easy. It wasn’t. IT SUCKED. This was WAY more frustrating than any tutorial online alluded to and it took me ALL. FUCKING. DAY. to get the fabric situated around the “poles” in such a way that it didn’t look like it belonged on the curb Tuesday morning for trash day.
I took the kids to Joanns and let the girls choose one fabric each for this project. Briseis chose the small floral print and Emma, of course, chose the pink tulle. I knew the tulle wasn’t really the best choice for this project but there was no swaying Emma, so I picked out a light lime green + white chevron patterned fabric. The lime-ish color of the chevron print actually plays off the green on the leaves in the fabric Briseis chose, so it basically matches perfectly without being matchy-matchy. And as an added bonus, it also matches the wall map in their room. Because YES.
The biggest issue I had with this project was wrapping the “poles” with the fabric in a way that seemed even remotely “right”. I was following along to this tutorial for the fabric-wrapping part (I followed this tutorial to put the frame together), but my strips of fabric kept angling themselves and bunching up and I was ending up with huge gaps all the way around and I was thisclose to throwing the fucking thing out of the window. #TRUESTORYBRO. I honestly don’t even remember how many times I took all of the fabric off and started over from the beginning, but I do know that it was a lot.
The plus side to spending all damn day on this project and doing and re-doing it over and over is that now I have a few solid tips to share with y’all in case any of you decide to try your hand at this.
01 | Once you’ve attached your “poles” together at the top, move the teepee into position before you go any further. Seriously. Move it to exactly where the final product is going to be and then angle the bottoms of the “poles” into whatever position suits your space or preference. Also, remember that you need a front, so don’t space the “poles” evenly all the way around. Leave a wider-y-ish gap for the front.
02 | After your teepee frame is in place, start with your strips of fabric. Work from the bottom up. I began with wider strips at the bottom and used less wide strips as I moved up. I also alternated my fabrics in a fairly predictable pattern.
03 | Through countless instances of rage-laden trial-and-error I figured out that for a no-sew teepee the best way to avoid gaps and bunching and homicidal rage is to secure the bottom edge of your strip to the frame first. I began by leaving a bit of extra fabric at the end (to tuck inside the first “pole”) and then proceeded to tautly pull it around the frame, securing the bottom edges as I went. After the bottom edges were completely secured and any extra fabric on either side of the front was tucked inside that first pole, I began securing the top of the fabric strip.
To secure the top of the fabric strip I began by standing on the side of the teepee — at one side of the front — and folded the top of the fabric strip over itself at each “pole”. You can kind of see what I’m talking about in the bottom-most strip of fabric in the photo below. The tulle was more malleable than the cotton fabrics were so this start-at-the-bottom-of-the-fabric-strip-and-then-fold-over-the-top-of-the-fabric-strip technique wasn’t really necessary. And by the time I got to the top-ish of the teepee frame I was over it. OVER IT. Which is why I just gathered the fabric in back and called it a day.
This is definitely doable as a one-person job, but having another set of hands can’t hurt. Unless you’re like me and just want to get shit done the right way the first time and having “help” from someone just standing there watching you irritates you more than it doesn’t.
04 | I used push pins for this project because I don’t have a nail gun or staple gun and didn’t really want to break out a bunch of tools for this project (i.e. I didn’t want to walk down two flights of stairs to the basement to grab the small photo frame nails and a hammer because if you know anything about me, I hate any form of exercise), and they’ve held up just fine. Even with three kids constantly playing in and around this thing.
05 | For an extra whimsical, princess-y feel we added a string of globe lights. If you do this, just make sure your kids aren’t devil children that break everything or else a string of globe lights could be big trouble. Luckily, we’ve escaped any major incidents with our globe-lights-decorated-diy-no-sew-teepee.
Welp. There you have it. It is FAR from perfect, but it sure is pretty. And also super rad. The girls love it and its always a big hit when the neighborhood kids come over to play with Bri Bri, which means that building my kids a teepee for a bed makes me like, the coolest mom ever. I’ll take it.
The wall map is from Ikea (and was $30 cheaper when we bought it 3+ years ago); that fun little banner above the windows is Martha Stewart from Michaels (also seen here, and much cheaper at like, $7-ish bucks); and that “look at the bright side” print hanging between the windows is from this fun shop.