Look What We Found: Made for the Shade

Easy DIY tent to protect from all elements

During the dog days of summer, I found myself searching for a safe place for my grandson to escape the sun’s blistering rays. For starters, whatever I found had to be easy to haul. It had to be breathable and, of course, it had to look good. During a few trips to different junk sales, I kept spotting these A-frame style fabric tents. After one look, I knew this could be an easy do-it-yourself project. You can make this tent any size, for any age. The tent featured here is a small one, perfect for a baby up through the toddler years and measures roughly 4’ by 4’. Feel free to tweak the supplies to make it larger. Seeing it in any size, you can just imagine the possibilities! This fabric beauty could be that great indoor (storable) fort for your kids, a perfect little reading nook for your bookworms, or even a shade tent for the sidelines of your kids’ sporting events.



2 8-foot-long 1” x 2” boards

3 ¾” x 4’ dowels


¾” spade drill bit

Old tablecloth or roughly 3 yards of fabric

Ribbon or fabric for ties

Start by cutting the 1” by 2” board in half, making the 4-foot long legs for your tent.  Stain or paint the dowels and the 1” by 2”s, allowing time to dry. Once dry, on the top and bottom of each 1” by 2”, measure and mark 1-1/2” from each end with a pencil making sure to center the pencil mark on the wood. Using the pencil marks as your guide, drill the ¾” hole on the top and bottom of all four pieces of wood with the ¾” spade drill bit.  Stack two of the 1” by 2”s on top of each other lining up each ¾” hole.  Slide in one of the dowels, repeating with the other two legs using the same dowel.  The legs should look like an upside down V, forming a kind of A-frame with the dowel running across the top.  This is the frame of the tent.  Slide in the remaining dowels on the bottom of each side of the tent for stability.  Grab an old tablecloth or three yards of a fun fabric and drape over the top of the tent. Rip coordinating fabric into strips or cut ribbon or rope into eight to twelve 12” long pieces. Sew the strips onto your main piece of fabric. These will be the ties that you will use to attach your fabric to the wood frame. Simply lay the fabric over the frame and tie closures using a knot or bow. When the fabric gets dirty, simply untie and throw your tent cover into the wash.

These tents have a vintage feel and while they are perfect for summertime time fun, you can use them in all seasons both indoors or out.


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