Child’s Outdoor Play Tent Tutorial

The fall weather is coming and what better way to enjoy this awesome time of year than with some outdoor sewing fun! I know there are a ton of play tent and teepee tutorials out there but I came up with my own version that celebrates clean lines and sturdy construction. This is a great beginners project as there are only straight lines and I’ve given you a whole bunch of illustrations to make it even easier to follow along. The only draw back? A TON of fabric. Seriously. A TON. I used fabric I already had on hand but a cheaper option than buying yard after yard of outdoor fabric might be to pick up some canvas drop cloths at the hardware store. You could even involve the kiddos and paint the cloth before you start sewing!

So let’s get started and keep in mind that all of the measurements are very precise. Always Always Always measure your hems and seam allowances so in the end everything fits together nicely.

Childs Play Tent Tutorial


  • 93 1/4″ x 45″ (or 2 47″ x 45″ pieces that include the 3/8″ seam allowance to piece together) piece of outdoor fabric
  • 4 pieces of outdoor fabric cut @ 41″ x 5 1/4″ (referred to as sleeves in the tutorial)
  • 4 pieces of wood 1/2″ x 2″ thick cut 4′ long
  • 3 wooden dowels 3/4″ thick x 48″ long


1. With the woodboring drill bit attached to an electric drill, drill two holes on each of the 4 boards. The top hole is 4″ down from the top, the bottom hole needs to be 2″ up from the bottom. Set the boards and the dowels aside unless you plan on painting or staining them. If so, do that now.

Step 1 Kids Play Tent Tutorial

2. Fold both the top and bottom 5 1/4″ sides of each sleeve piece (there are 4 sleeves in total) down towards the wrong side of the fabric 1/4″ and press. Fold down another 1/4″, press, and pin to create a double 1/4″ hem. Top stitch the hems and unpin.

Step 2 Kids Play Tent Tutorial3. Fold one sleeve in half lengthwise , wrong sides together, and pin to the right side of the fabric panel 4 1/2″ up from the bottom. Baste stitch (just a very loose and long stitch to keep the piece in place) the sleeve in place. Repeat with remaining 3 sleeves.

You’ll notice from here on out the body of the tent and the sleeves are slightly different shades, this means NOTHING. It’s just so you can see them better as separate pieces and it’s not just one big mess of pattern.

Step 3 Kids Play Tent Tutorial

4. If using 2 panels, attach the panels now. To do this pin the tops together, wrong sides facing, and stitch with a 3/8″ seam. Press the seam flat. Finish the raw edges where the sleeves are sewn onto the body with either a serger, if one is available, or a tight zig zag stitch.

Step 3a5. Fold the serged (or zig zagged) edges under 1/2″ towards the wrong side of the fabric, press flat, and pin down. Begin top stitching this side hem but swing the sleeve out so it lays flat. Repeat with the other side.

Step 4

Once the side seams are stitched down this is what it should look like:

Step 5

6. Fold the bottom edge up 1/2″ towards the wrong side of the fabric and press. Fold the same edge up again but this time go 1 1/2″ up and pin. Repeat with the other bottom raw edge. Top stitch both of the sides down as close to the top of the hem as possible. This forms the bottom dowel casings.

Step 67. Fold the tent in half, right sides facing, on the center seam, press and pin. Using a fabric marking pen, draw a line 1 1/2″ down from the top and top stitch on the line. This creates the top dowel casing.

Step 7 Childs Play Tent Tutorial8. Now put it all together! Slide the 3 dowels through the 3 casings on the tent body.

Step 8 Childs Play Tent Tutorial

9. Slide the 1 1/2″ x 2″ pieces into the sleeves (remember, the side of the stake with the hole 2″ from the end is the bottom, the side with the hole 4″ from the end is the top). Cross the bars so the top holes overlap and stick the top dowel through. Next, stick the bottom dowels through the holes 2″ up from the bottom. The measurements are very precise so this part is a little tricky but once it’s all in place everything first perfectly!

Childs Play Tent TutorialENJOY and let me know how it comes out on Facebook or Instagram! Or feel free to post your questions or comments here.


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