A Frame Play Tent

This is one of the most popular toys in our house. It’s used for tea-parties, movie nights, sleepovers, even superhero catching crooks and putting them in the “jail” games. I purchased a faux fur throw (sigh) but the kids love snuggling into it and having a quiet read. I totally get it, it’s super cosy in there. These are cheap as chips to make, and you can choose whichever fabric you want, plus add special touches like trims. Ours is a UV resistant outdoor fabric because our playroom is sun-drenched and I knew it would fade otherwise. We also wanted to be able to take it the beach, so UV fabric made sense.

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How would you take it to the beach you say? This can be totally disassembled and put back together really easily, so we can pack the bits in the car and take it to the beach where it is re-purposed as a UV sun shade. Because it’s always used, it’s mostly up in the playroom, but if you want to create more floor-space, you simply fold it in and lean it against a wall. Too easy.

There are literally hundreds of great tutorials on how to make your own A-Frame play tent. We followed this one from Cakies, and I highly recommend it. We did make two of our own tweaks though:

  1. We added in an extra 2 x lengths of dowel to connect each “leg” because we decided our kids needed a bit more stability in their tent (AKA, I didn’t want it always falling over if there was rough and tumble going on). This works really well, and all you need to do is drill an extra hole through the bottom of each leg – so do this at the same time as you’re drilling the top hole, but position the holes closer to the bottom edge than you have for the top hole.
  2. Instead of sewing elastic onto each of the 4 corners to attach to the legs, I used the additional piece of dowel because it effectively gave me a bar to tie tags onto. I cut 3 x lengths of yellow mini pom pom braid, then pinned them to the inside of each side of the tent at the bottom edge (close to each opening and in the middle). Once the tent was all assembled, I then tied these ties to the bottom dowel. This means that the fabric stays really taut too. Bonus! I sealed the tips of the braid with clear nail varnish so it wouldn’t fray.

I know this seems like a full-on project, but don’t be scared off. Mitre10 Mega had everything we needed for the construction side (timber, dowel, drill bit to make the big hole for the dowel to slide through). You just need to decide how tall you want the tent to be because that dictates the lengths of timber that you get (4 x lengths of basic timber moulding for the frame and 3 x lengths of dowel, one for the top connecting piece (this is the bit that holds the tent up), and 2 for each side to connect the front and back “legs” – this is where I attached the ties to).

We’re pretty stoked with how this came out, and so are the friends who received them as presents. I added black pom pom braiding to the entrance on ours, and there’s also a sparkly gold sequin bow (which always gets removed by Tom because it’s “for girls”). All fabric and braiding/sparkles from Spotlight.

You can so do this one, your kids will love it. High smug factor on this one if nothing else! Tag me in your creations on insta @houseofralph #playtent

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