Make a Summer Reading Tent/Teepee!! {tutorial}

17 Jun
summer reading teepee
Summer’s here, let the fun begin!!!
Although we plan to spend plenty of time at the pool and goofing around this Summer, I always try to emphasize reading and quiet time too.
ella and trixie in the reading teepee tent
So I decided to make a Reading Tent.
After thinking about it for a few days, the plan kind of evolved into more of a teepee than a tent, but I am really pleased with how it turned out.
hannah and ella reading in the teepee
Now, I have only been sewing for about a year, so this project was a little tricky and did involve a little swearing LOL. The seams turned out a little wonky, but overall I am so happy with the way it turned out. 
And more importantly, the kids love it. 
Even my 15-year-old wants to spend some time in the Reading Teepee!!
reading teepee header
Here’s a little rundown of what I did if you might want to make one for your house.
top view of the reading teepee

I considered buying wood for the teepee sides, but decided to go with PVC pipes. Not only are they cheaper, but with the joints you can buy, it’s like putting legos together.

And I was able to construct a base that will retain it’s shape and hold up better with rambunctious kids. With PVC pipes, you can make any shape you want. From a square tent, to a house, to a teepee!!

putting the frame together
When we got home we mapped out the area we wanted the tent to be. I decided that 6 feet in width and length was a good size. Jeff helped me with this part. He also has this really cool PVC pipe cutter tool which fascinated and scared me. It’s so dangerous looking!!
cool and scary PVC tool
Once we cut the pipes, we put the 8 foot poles in the t-joints and drilled holes in the tops of the poles. We secured the poles at the top with zipties, but you could use string too.
drill holes and zip tie
Now I started on the tricky part – making the cover. I picked up some tablecloths that were on clearance at Target. But as I was thinking about it later, you could totally use drop clothes, and not only would it be cheaper, but the seams wouldn’t show as much. 
The PVC pipes cost $17 and the tables clothes $21 = total cost of about $40
put the frame together
I measured one panel and cut that size out of my material. I added a couple of inches to each seam just in case. Then I held it up to the PVC panel and pinned it onto the panel. Make sure to pin the material BACKWARDS If you are using material that has a right or wrong side. You want your seams to face outwards.
clearance tablecloths
I did this with each of the panels and then I pinned them together while they were on the teepee frame. Use TONS of pins, you want to be able to see where to sew each of the seams and not get confused once you take the material off the teepee frame.
pin the panel on the frame
Once it was all pinned, I took the slipcover upstairs and sewed the whole thing together. Then I flipped it right side out and put it back on the frame.
sew the bottom
Now I hemmed the bottom of the slipcover. I left a couple of extra inches at the bottom, so it could be tucked under. I also sewed velcro ties every couple of feet on the slipcover. These velcro ties wrap around the PVC pipes at the bottom of the frame.
velcro ties
And I also cut a slit in the one side of the teepee for the entrance. I cut it about 4 feet high. Then I took the cover back up and sewed the bottom of the slipcover and also hemmed the front slit. To cover up the rough edges of the slit, I sewed ribbon over those edges, so when the tent flaps are folded back, the ribbon shows.
sew a ribbon on the edge

I also made a cushion for the bottom of the teepee with an old duvet and covered it with leftover material. The last thing I did was installed a chandelier that I had leftover from my oldest daughter’s room. I ziptied it to the top of the teepee poles, so the kids can have light if they are reading in the evening, or if they want to have a camp out in the teepee.

reading teepee tent at night with chandelier
reading teepee at night from above
I also made a Reading Bin where they can store the books they are reading. 
I printed out the “Read This” saying with my Silhouette machine.
the book bin summer reading
And I keep  a bowl of Smarties in the reading tent as a little treat.
Reading = makes you smart (ie)!!
smartie reading teepee prize
Happy Summer!!
hannah and trixie in the reading teepee
And just to clarify, the Reading Teepee will end up permanently in our basement, but the light is so bad down there, that I set it up outside to get some better pictures 🙂 
 PS — I am linking up to these fun parties – check them out!

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