How to Build a Teepee Craft

Written by darla ferrara
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How to Build a Teepee Craft
Tepees was once homes to Native Americans. (tepee image by Mike & Valerie Miller from

The Native Americans made tepee homes out of tree limbs and animal skins. Just like a modern home, they would enhance their room with drawings and meaningful symbols. If you want to make a paper craft model of a traditional tepee, grab a large paper bag and some crayons. reports this project takes about 30 minutes to complete. The tepee replica provides a delightful conversation piece to use as an ornament for Thanksgiving Day dinner.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 4 12-inch twigs
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Poster board
  • Large brown paper bag
  • Crayons or markers
  • Tape

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  1. 1

    Bind four 12-inch twigs together to form the tepee base. Set the twigs up so they expand at the bottom and come together at the top, creating a triangle shape. Wrap yarn or twine around the twigs where they intersect at the top. Use enough string to secure them together. Cut the string and tie a knot at the end to keep the twine from coming off. This should now be a freestanding base for the tepee.

  2. 2

    Use a measuring tape and record the height of the tepee base. Place one end of the tape at the twig intersection. Place the other end of the tape on the surface the base sits on, such as the table or floor. Write down how tall the tepee base is from the intersection to the surface. Measure the width of the base when it is sitting upright. Write down the width measurement.

  3. 3

    Cut the bottom (flat section) off a large, brown paper bag with scissors. Take the scissors and cut the bag open, so that it is a flat rectangle. Lay the brown rectangle flat on a table.

  4. 4

    Draw a triangle on a piece of poster board or cardboard. Make the height and width the same as the measurements for your tepee base. For example, if the twigs, tied together, stand 9 inches tall, draw the triangle 9 inches from the point to the flat bottom. Cut the triangle out. This will be a template for the tepee cover.

  5. 5

    Lay the template on top of the brown paper bag rectangle. Trace along the edges with a pencil. Move the template over so that one side lies on top of one side of the drawn triangle. For instance, move the template to the left and line it up with the left line of the triangle outline. Repeat this step two more times. You should now have four triangles drawn on the bag with the edges touching to form a polygon.

  6. 6

    Cut out the polygon with scissors.

  7. 7

    Decorate the brown paper polygon with Native American style designs, such as animals and symbols.

  8. 8

    Fold the polygon together so the two free ends touch. Snip off the pointed end of the polygon.

  9. 9

    Tape the polygon together to form the tepee cover with the decorated side outward.

  10. 10

    Insert the twig base into the skin of the tepee. The connected end of the twigs should point out of the small open end of the cover.

  11. 11

    Display the two pieces on a sturdy surface, such as a table.

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