How to Build a Canvas Tent

Written by rebecca boardman
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How to Build a Canvas Tent
"A" frame canvas tents (Courtesy of

Camping is a wonderful experience. It saves money on hotel or motel expenses, let's you enjoy the outdoors and allows for the natural beauty of the landscape. Fancy camping gear is not a necessity. Canvas tents have been used for more than a hundred years and are just as functional today as they were in the 1800s. This article will give some tips on how to build a basic canvas tent.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Heavy duty canvas
  • Heavy duty cotton
  • Carpet needle
  • Rope
  • Fire
  • Wooden poles cut to size
  • Heavy duty shears

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    Building a Canvas Tent

  1. 1

    Begin by measuring your canvas. For a standard A-frame tent that will stand about 9 feet long and 7 feet in height, you will need approximately 30 yards of canvas cloth.

  2. 2

    Take your framing poles and set them up in the ground. You will have one at the front middle and one at the back. A simple wooden post tied securely between the two will create a basic frame.

  3. 3

    Drape your canvas over the frame and stake the edges securely into the ground to create tension. Measure your door openings, and cut additional canvas material to fit.

  4. 4

    Using your heavy duty sewing materials, attach the door flaps to the front and the back of your A-frame canvas tent. For simple ties to hold your doors shut, puncture a hole where you want the ties to be attached.

  5. 5

    Heat a piece of wood or iron in your fire and burn any holes you have made for the ties. By sticking the hot ends through the punctures, you seal the canvas and prevent fraying.

Tips and warnings

  • Canvas tents can be as luxurious or simple as you want them to be. Do research to find what suits your needs best, and then enjoy.
  • Always use caution with fire.

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