Growing up, I had a teepee-style tent I loved. I’d drag out pillows and blankets from the house and turn it into a cozy little nook, and then I’d spend the afternoon listening to book tapes and doing crafts. (Yes, I grew up on Klutz craft books.)
There was only one problem with this setup: Being enclosed in my own little place sounded so appealing, in theory, but it only took five minutes before the inside was 10 degrees hotter than the outside, and then, as the day went on and the tent inevitably ended up in direct sunlight, it became unbearable. This is why my favorite time to be in my teepee-style tent was when it wasn’t warm and sunny. Ideally, it would get left out on a dry, sunny day and then it would sit until a rainy day came along. I’d throw towels on top to cover up the opening and keep the drizzle out, and, because the canvas was relatively water-resistant, the ground inside would stay dry. The inside would get warmer than the outside temperature, but this time, it was a benefit. Those drizzly days were by far the coziest and the most magical.
When I went to design the teepee-style tent from last week, I thought about what innovations I would have wanted at that age. All of these accessories allow for more outdoor play in more types of weather. The waterproof floor means you can get set up while the grass is still wet; the drawstring cover means the fun can continue even when it starts raining; and the waterproof spray means you'll stay dry longer and dry out sooner. All of these accessories can be added to the Dunn DIY teepee-style tent, or the measurements can be adjusted and added to a tent you already own.
Accessory 1: Waterproof floor
Step 1: Measure floor
First, lay out the 5’ x 5’ drop cloth, with the plastic side down. Line up the front of the teepee-style tent with one side of the drop cloth. Adjust the poles until you’re satisfied with the tautness of the fabric and the position on the drop cloth. If the drop cloth doesn’t reach all the way to corners, don’t worry about it. Use a straightedge and a fabric pen to mark each of the four sides. (For the front, you can use the hem that’s already there).
Step 2: Cut and hem floor
Once the shape of the teepee-style tent has been traced out on the drop cloth, cut out the shape 1” away from markings. Fold over raw edges 1/2” and then 1/2” again so the raw edge is encased. Pin in place and sew together.
Step 3: Make and add ties
If you made the teepee-style tent from last week, then you can use the long 1 1/2” wide length that was cut out for ties along the finished edge of the fabric. Fold the tie roughly into thirds with the raw edge tucked into the folds. Topstitch the ties together with a zig-zag stitch.
If you didn’t make the teepee-style tent from last week and you bought fabric just for the accessories, you won’t have enough of the finished edge to make those ties. Instead, cut out a 2” wide length (64” long) and fold in both raw edges before folding in half and sewing with a zig-zag stitch.
Cut ties into five 13” lengths. Because the fabric is so thick, I finished the ends of each tie with fray check rather than hemming them. Fold the ties in half and sew them to each corner of the drop cloth floor. These ties will tie onto the poles and keep the bottom from shifting.
Accessory 2: Drawstring cover
Step 1: Measure and cut out cover
Measure a rectangle 18” x 41 7/8". I find it easiest to use a framing square to make sure the corners are square. Cut out a rectangle. Then, measure and cut out a 14” wide circle. I found a large serving plate in my cupboard that was the right size, so I traced around it. Whatever you use, cut out a circle.
Step 2: Sew rectangle and mark
Fold the rectangle in half and hem the short side with a 1/2” seam allowance. This turns the rectangle into a tube. Fold in half with the seam on one side. Mark the fold opposite to the seam. Then, fold together so that the seam and the mark line up. Mark the fold on either side of the tube. Now, you have marks that divide the tube into quarters.
Step 3: Mark circle and attach to tube
Fold the circle in half and quarters, and mark each quarter (just like you did with the tube). Place the circle inside the tube, lining up all of the markings and pinning them together. Clip the edges of the tube so the tube can more easily match the curve of the circle. Pin the circle and the tube together and sew with a 1/2” seam. Turn the cover right-side out to check your sewing and make sure there aren’t any glaring problems.
Step 4: Hem and add casing
Fold the bottom edge in 1/2” and press, then fold over 3 1/2” and press. (I found this canvas very moldable, so, instead of ironing, I pinched the seams together with my hands until a crease formed.) Flip the cover wrong-side out again for sewing. Hem 1/4” from the top fold, and then 1” away from the top. This will create a channel for your drawstring.
Step 8: Add cord for drawstring
Cut notches in-between the channeling, on either side of the side seam. Apply a seam sealant like Fray Check to keep the fabric from splitting apart. Tie your cord onto a large safety pin and thread it into one of the holes. Pull the safety pin through the casing and out the other side. Tie the ends of the cord together to keep them from sliding back into the casing.
Step 9: Add teepee-style tent cover
Pull the cover over the top of the teepee-style tent and cinch the drawstring until it's tight.
Accessory 3: Waterproofing teepee-style tent
Step 1: Spray on waterproofing
The last step for making your teepee-style tent weather-resistant is to treat it with a waterproofing spray. We used a waterproofing shoe spray that’s designed for canvas shoes (since this is a canvas tent!), but you can also use one designed for camping equipment or outdoor furniture.
I hope you enjoy making these teepee-style tent accessories, so you can spend time in your tent in all types of weather!