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Saturday, January 19, 2013

DIY {A-frame tents tutorial}

A while back I mentioned I would share about some Christmas presents I made for all the kids in our family.  Caleb side has 6 nieces and nephews {with 1 more on the way}, and my side has 1 niece.  So with 7 kids to buy for coming off a year where I barely worked due to school, we needed to come up with a fun gift that also didn't brake the bank!  Of course Pinterest served as my main area for inspiration, and I came across this tutorial for making A-frame tents from the blog Cakies.  I decided to make 4 tents, one tent per family.  I pretty much followed the tutorial but I'll let you in on my process for making the tents...

- 4, 1"x2"x48" wood molding pieces
- 1, 3/4"x48" poplar dowel rod
- drill
- 3/4" spade drill bit
- ruler & pencil
- twine
- sanding block
- stain/sealer (optional)

Caleb did all of the wood working for the tents so I don't have any pictures but the process is pretty simple.  First I had him sand down all of the molding pieces just in case there were any splinters.  Then he made sure all of the molding pieces were exactly the same length and trimmed up any that weren't.  {SIDE NOTE: since I was making 4 tents, I bought several 12 foot molding pieces from Home Depot and they cut them into the 4 foot pieces for me - so there were a few that were just a tad off and I was just wanting to make sure that each group of 4 boards that would make 1 tent were all the same length}  Once he had all the molding boards grouped into 4 sets of 4, he measured from the top of the boards down 6 inches and made a mark in the center of the board where he would drill.  The drilling made the hole for the dowel rod and...voila', you can now construct the A-frame!  We decided to use some clear stain/sealer over the boards just to give them a nice smooth finish so that it wouldn't be rough on the little ones' hands if they grabbed the boards.  The twine is to tie the tops and the joints of the pieces together because it can be a little wobbly... the Cakies tutorial said that the dowel rod fit extremely snugly into the drilled hole that she didn't have to use the twine, but that wasn't the case for us.

- 1 twin sheet or piece of fabric {hemmed to apprx. 44"x83" -- the measurement doesn't have to be perfect}
- sewing machine & thread
- elastic strips: 4, 5" strips per tent
- scissors
- ruler

Hem the fabric to the measurement above and it doesn't need to be perfect.  Then fold over the elastic to make a loop coming off of all four corners of the tent - the strips should come off at a perpendicular angle from each bottom corner -- does that make sense?

Sewing on elastic strips to the tents

- 1 sack of potatoes!
- Knife to carve out design in potatoes
- Acrylic or fabric paint (I used acrylic because I had better acrylic colors)
- Scrap cardboard or other protective material to put under the sheet as your paint it
- Straight edge (I use a long metal ruler we have)

Get your area ready to use the potato to stamp out your design.  I had to do the stamping in my kitchen on my hardwood floors because its the biggest space in my house to lay everything out, so I made sure all my floors around me were protected! Then I carved out my designs in the potatoes...I tired to keep my designs fairly simple since I was making 4 tents. {SIDE NOTE: the potatoes don't last overnight once you've carved one because then the sides wilt and it won't look good -- I learned this the hard way & had to re-carve the next day} 

Potato stamping supplies

I found the area to start stamping on my tents by folding the sheet in half {like how it would hang on the tent} and measured down from there several inches and then used my long straight edge to make sure I was stamping in a straight line.

Some of the different patterns I did

 Let the one side dry -- I hung mine over my banister railing to dry -- then do the opposite side! Then assemble your tents...

The assembled tent {without the twine wrapped around}

 Then let the kids enjoy!




 Hope you enjoy this project as much as I did!

1 comment:

  1. such a cute idea!