I’ve been wanting a tent for the kids playroom for a couple years now. I never splurged and bought one because I knew it was something I could DIY for a fraction of the cost. The boys have recently been on a fort kick, but they collapse in a matter of minutes so I figured it was time to finally build something a little more reliable than a sheet draped over some chairs and more tasteful than a cardboard box.
I got my inspiration from a couple places… I have been specifically eyeing the tents from Restoration Hardware. Their rustic, industrial style always fits my design bill, but rarely my wallet. So the style of the tent was very much RH B&C inspired. There’s also a lot of other, similar, great DIYs out there that I’ve seen via my Pinterest feed. Here’s how I did my version of an industrial inspired fold-up playroom tent (and for less than $20!… I <3 PVC).
DIY Kids Playroom Tent- Supplies
- 3 x 1/2″ PVC pipes, cut to 42″ length
- 6 x 1/2″ PVC caps
- 4 x 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ x 4′ pieces of untreated wood (sometimes available pre-cut to 4′ at hardware stores)
- Fabric of choosing, cut to 40″ x 98.75″ (there is some wiggle room here depending on your seaming precision) *I scored some heavier weight home decor fabric in the red sticker clearance section ($2.50/yd!) at JoAnns
- Wood stain, optional (I used Dark Walnut)
- Sanding block or sand paper
- 3/4″ drill bit *note that most PVC measurements are the interior diameter. Your drill bit should be the same size as the OD measurement of your PVC pipe
- Electric drill
- Hack saw or pipe cutter (PVC can also be cut at your local hardware store, but it’s easy to do on your own)
- Stencils, optional
- Fabric paint, optional
- Spray Paint (I used Valspar, Flat Gray)
- Sewing machine
- No-Sew fabric glue, optional
DIY Kids Playroom Tent – Directions
If not pre-cut, cut wood into 4′ lengths. Drill 3/4″ holes approx. 1/2″ from edge into each of the wood. (Each piece should have a hole on either end for a total of 8 holes. If preferred, the four pieces of wood can be clamped together as illustrated by my dad in his signature Adidas slip ons below to drill through all at once).
Sand all sides/edges of the wood until smooth. Wipe the wood down with a clean, dry cloth to remove dust. Using another clean, dry cloth, rub the wood with the stain color of your choosing. Wipe off excess stain. Allow the first coat to dry, and apply a second, again, wiping off excess stain. Allow stained wood to dry thoroughly before proceeding to assemble the tent, approx. 24 hours.
If necessary, cut the PVC into 42″ length pieces using a hack saw or pipe cutter. Use spray paint to paint the PVC caps. (It is not necessary to paint the PVC as it will be mostly hidden).
*4 caps are shown in the below picture, however as stated under supplies, six are needed… make sure you are purchasing the caps that pop on verses screw on; these get all mixed up in those boxes at the hardware store and its easy to grab the wrong ones if you’re in a hurry… hence why I originally only had four 😉 ).
The fabric should be cut down to 40″ x 98.75″. Fold over each side 5/8″. No-Sew fabric glue can be used instead of having to pin around your fabric. I find this to be really helpful and you don’t risk breaking a sewing machine needle. Sew down the edges. Fold over the two longest sides of the fabric once more to have a clean seam. Your fabric should now measure 37.5″ wide.
On the remaining sides of the fabric, you will create a tunnel for the pipes to feed through. fold the pre-sewn edges over approx. 2.5″ and sew down. Your finished fabric piece should now measure 37.5″ x 92.5″.
If you chooses to paint on a design, do so at this point. I created stencils with vinyl using my Silhouette Cameo. I used a sponge tipped brush to dab on the paint to create a more authentic, vintage-like appearance. I chose to paint “RAF”, which stands for Royal Air Force (again inspiration from RH). The RAF “record number” is actually a combination of the kids’ birthdays (10/2, 6/1, & 3/19). The other side is the RAF symbol.
Stencils created using Silhouette Cameo
Once all components have dried thoroughly, the tent is ready to be assembled. Insert a pipe into each of the tunnels that were created in either end of the fabric. Insert each end of PVC into a piece of wood. The third pipe should lay underneath the fabric in the middle to attach the opposing ends of the wood. When inserting the pipe into wood which will ultimately be the top of the tent, be sure to alternate the outermost piece of wood so the width between the wood where each pipe lays is equal to one another. (refer to arrows for point of clarification).