How to Build a Miniature Tipi

Written by dawn quinn
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How to Build a Miniature Tipi
Tepee models can help educate children about Native American culture. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Schoolchildren are often asked to create models in school to help them understand particular subjects. If your children are in the process of studying Native American culture, a model could be required. A tepee, also spelt tepee, was a common dwelling that Plains Indians built for safety and protection from the elements. Actual tepees were often made with animal hides stretched over branches but models of tepees can be made with readily available items from the home or items that can be purchased from a craft supply or hobby store.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Computer printer
  • Printer paper
  • Templates
  • Pencil
  • Cereal box
  • Ruler
  • Examples of original tepees
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Water colour paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Marking pens
  • Small sticks
  • Colourful felt pieces
  • Clothespins

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  1. 1

    Download and print the templates from the website listed in reference number one at the end of this article.

  2. 2

    Cut the front and back off of a cereal box and trace the printed templates onto the non-printed sides of the box. Copy the angle guide lines onto the template using as a ruler to keep the lines straight.

  3. 3

    Get an idea of the final shape that the tepee will have by folding along the guide lines that you drew using the ruler and a pencil to make sure that you are on the right track before gluing the tepee together.

  4. 4

    Find examples such as photographs of original tepees and decorate your model to look similar to them. Study resource number one at the end of this article for examples. Draw and colour various shapes and colourful patterns onto your tepee using water colour paint and marking pens. Allow the paint to dry before proceeding to the next step.

  5. 5

    Fold the tepee again and glue it together along the guidelines. Attach clothespins along the seams of the tepee to hold the model together while the glue dries.

  6. 6

    Attach two sticks pointing up and outward onto the top outside of the opening of the tepee. Create a family or tribe identity flag using colourful felt pieces and glue and attach the flag to one of the sticks.

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