How to Make a Party Tent out of Fabric

Written by joanne thomas
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This method makes a fabric party tent that is customisable in terms of fabric choice and size. It has a quirky homemade look that can be enhanced by using different patterned fabrics sewn together to create a patchwork effect. Fabrics kept the standard width of the bolt are sewn together to make wide strips that will form the walls and ceiling of the tent, and as many of these long pieces as necessary are joined with Velcro to make the tent your desired size. The roof is suspended over a washing line tied securely between two fixed points at the same height.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 3 lengths of washing line (or other strong, thin rope)
  • 4 tent poles (or other poles that can be secured in the ground), the height of the walls of the tent
  • Cotton fabric(s)
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Velcro strips
  • Glue or strong double-sided tape
  • Duct tape
  • Tape measure

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    Assembling the Party Tent

  1. 1

    Examine the area where you want to erect the tent, and consider the size you want the tent to be. Securely tie a washing line parallel to the ground between two fixed points at the height you want the upper line of the tent's ceiling to be.

  2. 2

    Secure four poles into the ground so that they stand upright at equal heights to act as the four outer corners of the tent. Knot or duct tape a length of washing line between the tops of each set of two poles to form sides parallel to the upper washing line. You should have two lower lengths and one upper length of washing line parallel to each other and the ground.

  3. 3

    Measure the height from the ground to the top of the pole, the diagonal distance between the top of that pole and the upper washing line, the diagonal distance back down to the pole on the other side, and the distance back to the ground. The total distance is the total length needed for the fabric strips.

  4. 4

    Make fabric strips. If your lengths of fabric are not long enough to cover the side wall and roof dimensions of the tent, you will need to sew pieces together to make a long-enough strip by placing the right sides together and seaming along the edge, then pressing the seam from the right side. Make enough strips so that when they are placed side by side they cover the washing lines and create your desired tent size.

  5. 5

    Hem the top, bottom and long sides of each strip by folding over 1 inch to the wrong side of the fabric and straight-stitching along the fold.

  6. 6

    Cut the Velcro into 3-inch strips, and glue, sew or use double-sided tape to attach the strips at approximately 12-inch intervals along the long sides of the lengths of fabric, alternately on the top and bottom sides so they can be attached to form one large rectangle. The tabs must be spaced identically along the edges of each strip so that they match up evenly.

  7. 7

    Glue or tape Velcro strips to the poles so that the front and back fabric strips can be attached to them.

  8. 8

    Assemble the tent by hanging the first fabric strip over the top washing line so that half of the strip is on each side of the line. Take each side over the lower washing line, and secure it to the poles with the Velcro strips.

  9. 9

    Continue by laying the next fabric strip over the lines in the same manner and attaching it to the first strip at the Velcro tabs. Repeat this until you reach the other poles, and attach the Velcro on the last strip to the poles. The poles can be moved to ensure a perfect fit.

Tips and warnings

  • Use lightweight cotton fabric that can be held securely by the washing lines.
  • Lighter coloured fabrics will allow some light through.
  • Bed sheets can be used instead of bought fabric.
  • This tent will not be waterproof.
  • If the poles do not stand upright well or do not hold the line taut, consider tying the lower lines to points on walls, trees or other structures at equal heights to the tent's walls.

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