Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday 2011- DIY Indoor Tipi

Inspired by-

My versions-
3 Poles (each six feet long)
Drill with small bit
Twine (1 yard)
9x12 Drop Cloth
Narrow Ribbon (8-10 yards)
Elastic (10-12 inches)
Tape Measure or yard stick

I pretty much followed Rachel's instructions, making adjustments for three six-foot poles rather than five eight-foot ones.  David drilled a small hole 12 inches down from the top of each pole.  Then I threaded the twine through and wound it around the three poles, securing it with a couple tight knots.

I decided that the tipi would measure 48 inches from pole to pole at the bottom and of course the three sides would measure 60 inches from top to bottom.

A little basic geometry would have come in handy on the next step, but alas, my memory failed me.  Either that or I just didn't pause long enough to pull it from the archives.  Since I was making two tipis, I used some left over canvas drop cloth from the tablecloth project.  If your drop cloth has a nice finished edge already (mine didn't) and you do happen to remember your geometry, you can save yourself from having to measure, iron and sew the bottom seam. Refer back to Rachel's instructions for more details on measuring and cutting out the panels.

Sew the ribbon ties into the seams of the front two panels.  When the tipi is finished, go back and sew three sets of two ties onto each of the side seam allowances.  I sewed one set very near the top, one an inch or two up from the bottom and another somewhere in the middle.  Mark your poles at each of the sets of ties and then drill a hole.  Thread one of the ribbon ties through each hole and knot it tightly around the pole with the other ribbon.

You shouldn't have to take the fabric off the poles in order to take the tipi down.  Simply gather it up like an umbrella and use the three sets of ties in the front to secure it.  As a side note, this is precisely why I wish I would have made the front ties a bit longer.  Instead of eight inches, they should be more like 10 or 12.

Overall, this was a very easy project!  And that's saying something coming from me since I have a habit of overcomplicating things.  It definitely helped to print out the instructions and make a few diagrams, which I plan to keep for future tipis.  Sorry I didn't take more pictures...maybe I can post more later.  If you have any questions, definitely let me know!

Look at this cutie...

One more thing... I totally intended to paint some fun designs along the bottom with fabric paint, but simply didn't have enough time.  There are tons of pictures of real Native American tipis sporting some designs that look very easy to copy!


  1. these are so fun for little ones! my mom made one for James a few years ago. We might have to get it out and camp out again soon :)

  2. What a fun project! I love how they turned out, great job Katie.

  3. Honestly, I can't think of one single better present for kid than this! So darn cute! I bet it was a huge hit!! Good job, Katie!


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