How to build a play tent

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How to build a play tent

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Kids love a cubby. And they don’t get any cuter than this make-it-yourself indoor tent. Best bit? It’s so simple to assemble!

Tools and materials:


Drop sheet

Fabric for base (1240 x 2340mm)

Fabric for tent (3.6m x 1.8m)

Hot glue gun


Protective gloves


Tape measure

Timber dowels x 4

Timber skirting x 4

how to build a play tent

1. Prepare your base

The first thing you’ll need to do is to build your tent’s base – you’ll need some timber skirting for this bit, so head to Bunnings and have them cut your lengths to fit. Lay your pieces of timber down 100mm from the edge of your fabric base in a square.

how to build a play tent

2. Glue your base together

When your skirting is all laid out, grab a hot glue gun (if you don’t have one, hop online and see if you can rent one through a hire company or AirTasker). Place three dots of glue on each piece of timber to attach to the base sheet.

hot glue gun

3. Fold up your material

Once your glue is dried (this shouldn’t take too long) add a big strip of glue to the skirts and fold your material inwards. Once all the timber is glued you’ll see there are small pockets of material in each corner of the fabric – this is where your poles will go. Tack down with a dot of glue and wait for your pouches to dry.

how to build a play tent

4. Secure your poles

You’ll need a second pair of hands for this bit. Pop your dowel poles into the corners of your fabric base and gather them all together in the centre, then slide them out to your corners. Once in place, secure the centre poles with twine or rope. Once they’re nice and tight, use the glue gun to help keep all your pieces together.

how to build a play tent

5. Place your canopy on top

Drape your desired material over the top of all your poles – we’re using a plain drop sheet we found at Bunnings as it ties in with the decor. Once your material is on, grab a knife and make a 20mm slit above each pole so that you can pull the tops of your dowel through. Remember to take care when using the knife.

how to build a play tent

6. Tuck everything in

Once your canopy is in place, tuck the excess material underneath – and you’re done! How easy was that? Jazz up your tent with battery-operated LED fairy lights, baubles or handmade garlands (though you may want to avoid these if your kids are very small, as they could be a choking hazard). Make the tent nice and cosy by adding cushions or a sheepskin rug – get your kids involved with this bit and they’ll have a great sense of ownership over the project too. 

how to build a play tent

7. Admire your handiwork!

So easy! And so, so much fun!

how to build a play tent

Watch more from the series

For more simple D.I.Y. inspiration check out the full episode from Make It Yours Episode 5: Kids Bedroom Makeover by Poppy Lee.

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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