How to Build a Tipi Model

Written by lori furgerson
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Making a tepee model is easy to do and only takes about an hour. Before you build your model, take some time to read about Native Americans and tepees. Learn what tepees were made of, how they were formed, how they were decorated on the outside, what the symbols stood for and what they had inside. After learning about tepees, create your own miniature tepee. You could even create a whole village of tepees. Collect some tortillas and paint and begin making a tepee model.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Flour tortilla
  • Watercolour paints
  • Small paint brush
  • Wooden skewers
  • Toothpicks

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  1. 1

    Cut a tortilla in half and lay it on a table.

  2. 2

    Paint traditional Native American symbols on the tortilla with water colours. Native Americans believed everyone was assigned an animal when born and would paint their animal on their tepee. Decorate your tepee with the animal that is assigned to you. Other popular symbols included the sun, which was very important to Native Americans because it provided them warmth and light and grew their crops, and animal tracks. Native Americans believed animal tracks were left by the animal's spirit as prints on their lives. Some prints to include on your tepee are bear, bobcat or fox prints. Allow the paint on your tepee to dry for an hour.

  3. 3

    Hold the four wooden skewers together at the top of the tortilla tepee.

  4. 4

    Fold the half of the tortilla into a cone shape around the skewers to form the tepee.

  5. 5

    Secure the tortilla together by threading three toothpicks horizontally, one on top of the other, through the tortilla to keep the cone closed.

  6. 6

    Poke the bottom of the wooden skewers through the bottom of the tortilla to stabilise the tepee.

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