How to make bunk bed tents

Bunk beds are a common sight in many kids' bedrooms. Here is a way to take the common bunk bed and make it into something every kid will love. A bunk bed tent is not only a fun decorating idea, but also it can provide hours of exciting play for your children. This is a project that may seem quite involved, but it is not exceedingly difficult or expensive. The tent panels can also be easily removed for washing when necessary.

Measuring and preparing

Measure for the bottom bunk to create individual panels. Each side of the bottom bunk will be one panel. Measure the height of the bunk bed. If the bed is against a wall, panels do not need to be created for that side of the bed. Measure the width around the bunk bed (excluding the side of the bed against the wall, if applicable). Measure the height from the bottom of the top bunk frame to the point where the tent will extend. Floor length is recommended.

Measure for the top bunk. The top bunk tent will hang from the ceiling by two curtain rods. Measure for this by beginning just below the headboard and measuring up to the ceiling. Continue down the length of the bed and down to just under the foot board. This is a continuous measurement that includes the entire top bunk.

Add 12mm (1/2 inch) for seam allowances to the measurement figures. This is the amount of fabric needed to complete the bunk bed tents. The fabric requirements will be identical for the lining.

Purchase the fabric and lining for the tent panels. Choose a heavyweight fabric for the tent panels and a slightly lighter fabric for the lining.

Machine wash and dry all fabric before cutting and sewing the tent panels.

Bottom bunk tent

Referring to the measurements figured, cut out the tent panels and lining panels for both tents, adding seam allowances.

Sew the tent panels to the lining panels with right sides together. Leave a small opening for turning. Turn the panels out and add curtain weights by dropping them into the bottom corners of each panel. Sew these in place to secure and hand stitch the opening you left open for turning.

Top stitch each panel 12 mm (1/2 inch) from the finished edge.

Cut several strips of Velcro approximately 10 cm (4 inches) long. With both male and female parts of the Velcro adhered to each other, place the Velcro strips along the inside top of the panels. Hold the panels up to the top bunk frame to determine where the male side of the Velcro should be place to align with the female side of the Velcro on the panels. Once the Velcro placements and alignments are all determined on the top bunk frame, sew the female Velcro side of the strips to the inside of the tent panels. Attach the male Velcro strips to the top bunk bed frame, making sure they align with the female sides on the panels. If desired, make another row of Velcro attachments along the panel under the first for added security.

Top bunk tent

Sew the top bunk tent panel and lining together in the same fashion as the bottom bunk panels, except that the top bunk tent is made from only one long panel piece. Sew the panel to the lining with right sides together and 12 mm (1/2-inch) seam allowance leaving an opening for turning. Turn to the right side out and add the curtain weights to each corner. Stitch the curtain weights in. Hand stitch the opening closed and top stitch around the panel 12 mm (1/2 inch) from the edge.

Install the brackets for the curtain rods in the ceiling. Find a ceiling stud if possible, but if this cannot be done distribute the weight of the tent panel with butterfly brackets when installing the rods. One set of brackets should be installed at least 15 cm (6 inches) and not more than 30 cm (12 inches) in front of the headboard. The other set of brackets should be installed at least 15 cm (6 inches) and not more than 30 cm (12 inches) in front of the foot board.

The brackets should be positioned a tiny bit narrower than the width of the bunk bed.

Install the curtain rods into the brackets and attach the finials to hold the rods in place.

Insert the tent panel onto the curtain rods beginning at the front of the bed. Continue on the first curtain rod down the length of the bed and then over to the other rod. Allow the panel to simply hang toward the foot board.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood curtain rods with finials and mounting hardware
  • 150-cm (60-inch) wide heavyweight fabric (panels)
  • 150-cm (60-inch) wide lighter fabric (lining)
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing Notions (scissors, thread)
  • 2 metres of 25 mm (1-inch) wide self-sticking Velcro
  • Curtain weights
  • Tools for installing curtain rods
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About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.