Step 1

Gather your materials!

diy kids tent

Step 2

Stack the 1x2’s in pairs and then on top of the scrap lumber. Drill with the spade bit two inches from the top of the board on both stacks. This is going to be the top of the “A” on your tent. Turn the boards around and drill on the other end one and a half inches from the end.

Dunn Lumber Pro Tip: Take full advantage of scrap lumber! It can be hard to get a clean back on a spade bit hole, but with the scrap lumber underneath it’s perfectly smooth with no breakage.

drilling kids tent
wood for diy a frame tentwood for kids a-frame tent

Step 3

Now we start the assembly. Slide one of your dowels into the top hole of one of the stacks (the one two inches from the edge). Slide the other end of the same dowel into the top of the other stack. You should now be able to see the basic structure of your tent. Stand your tent up and slide the remaining dowels into the holes at the bottom of the structure. All this takes a little patience because the dowels will tend to slide through the holes and everything will collapse. But hang in there with me!

kids tent diydiy a-frame tent wood

wood for kids aframe tent

Step 4

Once you’ve got the tent standing, we can secure it. We’ve made this tent completely collapsible so that it’s easy to store. (If you'd prefer a more sturdy, permanent tent, you can secure everything with 1” or 1 ¼” screws.)

With your 3/32” drill, make a hole through the outside 1x2 into the dowel. We picked a drill that’s just a little bit bigger than our nails, so now all you have to do is press the nail in with your finger. When storing, you’ll be able to easily remove the nails and take the tent apart.

diy tent instructions

diy tent nailing

Step 5

With the sharpie draw a line across the 1x2 through the dowel. We made ours in different colors to distinguish each piece, but you can also number them—just make sure you keep that line! This will help you know exactly where the hole for the nail is when you’re putting it back together, and it will save you a lot of frustration.

diy kids tent measuring

Step 6

Now it’s time for the cover. For the play tent we covered it in fabric, but there are other options! You can use the A-Frame to create a miniature greenhouse. Measure out a piece of clear polyethylene sheeting, approximately 48”x98”. If you want, you can even cover the front and back. This makes a great tomato starter!

diy kids tent fabric

For the play tent, cover with fabric. We used 54” width upholstery fabric and folded the edges to avoid fraying. You can use a top sheet cut to size if you prefer. Staple along the top dowel, and then pull taut and staple to the dowels at the base.

fabric for tent

fabric for diy kids tent

*If you want to be able to take your tent apart then make sure you don’t staple the fabric to the 1x2s!

That’s it. Now it’s time to let the children play in it (or the plants grow in it). Have fun!

how to make a kids a frame tent