DIY tent for tiny persons

No Sew DIY Tent

We recently made the decision to turn our dining room into a playroom. And by “we,” I mean “I” decided this a year ago and it took awhile for Ed to come around to the truth that we were not utilizing our formal dining room. Sometimes I think Ed clings too much to our past life. You know, when we had time and money to entertain people. 

We shipped our dining room table off to the in-laws for storage, sold the china cabinet and took a trip to Ikea to outfit the room with kid friendly accessories. I would say the endeavor was mostly successful, except that Alex now drags toys from the playroom into the living room, rather than playing in the actual playroom. This kid . . .

But, we did get a pretty awesome tent out of a random Ikea kid’s canopy. It’s the one thing Alex does play with! Bonus: The entire project is no-sew. If you can use safety pins and glue, you can make this tent.

While Ikea does ship some items direct, they don’t ship their Mysig bed canopy, which makes up the roof of the tent. You can find Ikea products on Amazon, but you’ll pay quite a bit more than the Ikea store price. So if you’re not close to an Ikea, I recommend finding a friend who is. Or heckle the folks at Ikea.com until they offer this item for shipping. 

In addition the Mysig Bed Canopy, you will also need:

3 yards of standard fabric (home dec is not the correct width and will need to be trimmed if used)

3 yards of ring/shade tape (available at Jo Ann Fabrics)

Medium-sized safety pins

3 yards of trim to edge opening of tent

Fabric Glue (Fabri-Tac is the best!)

To start, assemble the canopy according to package directions (basically, stick the rods through the pocket). Glue the ring tape around the perimeter of the canopy, just above the area where you’ll be sliding the rods through. Let this dry overnight or at least several hours so it’s good and stuck on.

Tent instructions

For the tent walls, cut the 3-yard length of fabric in half along the short side (so you’ll have two 1 1/2 yard pieces). Along one cut edge on each piece of fabric, use the glue to adhere the trim. The trim edges will be positioned at the tent entrance, so just make sure you’re keeping everything turned the way you want (in the case of directional fabrics). The trim and glue will help protect the fabric edges, but you can also use Fray Check to prevent fraying if needed.

The next step is key to what makes this project truly no-sew. You need to hang the canopy high enough that the fabric panels hang at the correct height without any trimming. For us, this was about 75″ high. We just used a nail to hang the canopy hook on. You could also use a screw-in hook if you’d prefer. Once the canopy is hung, settle yourself under it and get ready to pin up the panels. This part involves some eyeballing, but you’re basically just using the safety pins to attach the fabric to the rings you glued to the canopy earlier. Spread them evenly on each side, starting with the center-most ring. (The center ring will end up with two pins in it, to keep the tent edges properly closed.)

Tent interior

And that’s it! The fabric width is perfect for this project, and with the selvage edges positioned at the top and bottom, you don’t need to hem or worry about fraying. The whole thing took about an hour to complete (not including drying time), and I think that was mostly because I kept gluing my fingers together during the trim step.

I outfitted the tent interior with a cushy rug, beanbag chair and lantern. I’m not sure Alex appreciates my interior decorating, but I forgive this temporary toddler oversight. Perhaps when he’s older he will thank me for his magical childhood.

Tent interior

Alex seems to enjoy his little hideaway, including running out of it repeatedly.

Alex running out of tent