DIY Kid’s Play Tent (reading nook, cozy corner, hideout, etc.)

I had planned to post part two of our traveling with a toddler beach adventure, but my hubby is still working on processing photos (the few glimpses I caught assure me it will be well worth the wait) so in the meantime I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at Charlotte’s playroom. Since our guest room is now empty (miss you Mom and Dad!) I convinced my very accommodating husband that instead of turning the extra room back into an office we should make it into a playroom/craft space instead! Eventually this will become Charlotte’s big girl room after baby number two comes along, but one step at a time people. 🙂

So, what does every respectable playroom need? A huge play tent of course! Like most kids her age Baby Girl loves “hiding” in small spaces, so I knew she’s go nuts for a tent. It turned out a little bigger than I had imagined, but that is all to the good because it can grow with her. I have fantasies of catching her under a blanket in the tent late at night, with a flashlight and that Narnia book that she just couldn’t put down…but I digress.
My very handy dad built the frame for the tent using this tutorial as a guide. He said it was pretty easy, and I love that it’s adjustable so that we can move it around if we need to (when it’s fully set up it’s too wide to fit out the door). The wood was super cheap…I think the total was around $7.
The inspiration blog post suggested using old curtain panels to make the tent cover, but since this will be such a big piece of the room I wanted to make it look a little more special. I found two flat vintage sheets on Etsy for about $15 (did you know you can find all sorts of vintage fabric and material on Etsy? You should check it out) and bought coordinating teal fabric for the curtains. After I cut it I realized I didn’t have quite enough fabric to make the curtains long enough, so I added the yellow and red floral fabric at the bottom (it’s from a set of “fat quarters” I also found on Etsy and plan on using throughout the room).
To make the main tent cover I measured the width and height of the tent frame (it was wider at the bottom, so make sure you use the widest measurement) and then cut the sheet set down to fit. I had to use both flat sheets, but I just cut one edge off each sheet so I only had to sew two hems. I sewed the sheets together using the other two raw edges. The finished tent cover was 36″ wide by 180″ long.
The inspiration blog instructed you to attach the fabric with staples, but I wanted to be able to remove the cover so that the tent frame could be moved, and in case it ever needed washing (just a remote possibility in a toddler’s playroom, call me paranoid) so I decided to use velcro.

I had a ton left over from our master bedroom’s roman shade project (which I still need to blog about, whoops) which worked perfectly. The “loop” side needed to be sewn on, but the “hook” side had a sticky back. I sewed a strip of the loop side on each edge of the tent cover (I put the cover on the tent first and marked where to put the velcro with pins before I sewed it on).

I stuck a strip of the hook side on each side of the tent bottom, using staples to secure it. Then I wrapped the tent cover around the bottom of the frame and pressed the Velcro together. Voila! I think even my rough and tumble two year old will have a hard time detaching it.

A lot of the pictures I’d seen of this type of play tent just left the front and back open, but I wanted it to feel more like a real, cozy tent, so I decided to add curtains to the front and a panel to the back.

I made rod pockets on the fabric and then strung them on dowel rods remnants I had left over from another project. My hubby attached cup hooks to the inside of the tent for the dowel rods to sit on (he drilled pilot holes first to prevent the wood from splitting then just screwed the hooks in). They still weren’t super secure, so I clipped clothespins on each end to hold the rods in place.

I may need to find a more permanent solution down the road, but for now it works great. I stapled the outer edge of each curtain bottom to the bottom of the frame, and did the same with the back panel but used Velcro since I figured kids would end up going in and out the back of the tent too.
I have plans to add some big, comfy cushions for lounging and reading, but haven’t gotten there yet. Look for an updated post when I’ve finished them!

I made simple tie-backs for the curtains with the same fabric as the bottom panel. I stapled one end to the frame, then added Velcro to the frame and other edge of the tie-back so they can be opened and closed easily

C is in love with her tent. She would sleep in it if we let her. Right now it is full of all her “Mickey friends” stuffed animals and her Little People princess figurines. I love how bright and happy the fabric looks, and am super excited to get to work on the rest of the room. But first we have to do some not-so-fun projects, like cleaning out the closet and painting the walls. Look for more posts as the room progresses!
Do you have any major room-redos planned for the summer, or are you just thinking of lounging by the pool all day every day? Both plans sound very appealing to me…

Posted in DIY

7 thoughts on “DIY Kid’s Play Tent (reading nook, cozy corner, hideout, etc.)

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