Kids play tent tutorial {Updated}

Im reposting my play tent tutorial for those of you that are new here. I have made some minor changes and hope it makes the tutorial easier to follow. Remember if you have made one and want to share pictures of it with us. You can add them to my flickr group.
Here is the updated tutorial for the kids play tent. I added a few pictures of my templet to hopefully help you understand my measurements a little more, and I also added an extra step when attaching the ties. If you have already made a play tent using the tutorial and want to make the changes, then just scroll down to the bottom of the page. It is a quick add in to do, if you want. I am also adding pictures of some of the other play tents I have made. Im hoping lots of little ones will be getting one of these for Christmas!

2 little hooligans play tent tutorial
(Beginner Project: From start to finish project should take about 2-3 hours.)

Materials needed:

*3 twin flat sheets- 2 of the sheets should be of the same pattern. (I bought 4 because I wanted contrasting colors and I am planning on making some accessories for my tent.)
*1 hula hoop (I bought one of the larger hoops, 36″)

Use a stitch length of 1, and make sure you zigzag stitch or serge over all raw edges.
Start off by either cutting your ribbon to the following sizes or making your own ties. I made my ties by using my bias tape maker.

Make the following:
*Four ties 60″ by 1/2″ wide, (will be used to attach the hula hoop to tent.)

*One tie 30″ by 1″ wide, (will be used to hang the tent.)
*One tie 80″ by 2″wide, (will be used to keep door open.)
Cut out 6 triangles, each measuring about 24″ long on the sides and 22″ wide at the base.
Make the curve in the triangle by placing the hula hoop on base of triangle. Trace and cut. Triangles should now be about 21″ from tip of triangle to the middle of curve.
This is what my templet looks like. Your measurements should be the same as the ones shown.

With right sides facing, sew two triangles together on one side. Sew one more triangle to the other two. Should have three triangles sewn together like here. Repeat with the other three triangles.

Take the 30″ by 1″ wide tie and sew a loop on one end. This will be used inside of tent to hang things on.

Take one of the triangle sets and pin the looped tie to right side of fabric. Let it overhang a few inches like above. With right sides facing, pin other triangle set on top of the first one. Pin in place on the straight edge only and sew.

Make sure you back stitch a few times over the tie. This needs to be very sturdy. This is what the tent will be hanging by.

Should look like this so far.
If you want to, at this point add some Velcro to the tie.

Should look like this on bottom side.

Gather the four 1/2″ ties.

Evenly space them out around the top (circle.) Pin the ties in place. I left about 8″ hanging off the top, which will be used to tie the hula hoop on. The longest part of the ties are going to end up being on the outside of tent and will be tied into a bow.

Sew in place, remember
to back stitch a few times!
Set top aside.

Now get out the two twin flat sheets that will be used for the sides of tent. Each sheet measures only about 96″ in length, which is not long enough to go around the top (circle). You are going to be attaching the length sides of the sheet to the top (circle) of tent. You are going to have to cut the remaining fabric needed to complete the top (circle) from the second sheet.
Get your second sheet out and fold the sides (width) of the sheet together. Keep folding together until the sheet is small enough to cut with your rotary cutter. Now that your sheet is folded width wise, measure in 35″ from the edge and cut. Make sure you are cutting off from the length of the sheets. Now you will have enough fabric to go around the top (circle). Don’t sew together yet, just pin right sides of sheets together.

Before you sew the sheets together, measure down about 25″ from the top of where the two sheets will be sewn together. Place the middle of the 80″ by 2″ wide tie half way in. You will end up with half of the tie on the right sides of fabric and the other half will be hanging out. Sew sheets together.

Now it is time to sew the sheets and top (circle.) together. Start by pinning right sides of top (circle) and sheets together. Make sure that the long ties are tucked in and short ties are hanging on the outside.

The sheets will overlap one another about 3″ or so at the end. That is what you want. It will make the opening of the tent a little sturdier.

Here is the overlap and the opening that will be your door.

This is what you should have.

You can see the extra sheet that was sewn together and the overlapped part.

Finish off raw edges of sheet.

Outside of tent.

Inside of tent.

My sheets came in these cute little bags, so I just had to use them.

I sewed two of them on the inside of tent about 20″ from bottom.

And these on the outside of tent. I placed mine about 12″ from the door at staggered heights.

**Updated part of the tutorial **

I noticed that the hula hoop was not staying in place. It was falling down an inch or so from where it should have been. It was causing the top to look loose. So, I decided to just sew one of my ties up 1″ to make the hoop fit more securely. Now the hula hoop fits snuggly and the top of the tent looks great. Now the hoop lies right on the sewed seam of where the top and sides meet. Here is how I did it. Working on the wrong sides of fabric with the same color thread as the top of the tent.

Simple right? Now you are ready to attach the hula hoop.

Turn tent inside out and tie hoop on with the little ties.

Should have this now, turn right side out and you are finished! Find a great spot to tie or anchor the tent to.

**Please feel free to use this tutorial for your personal sewing projects. You may link this to your blog and use any photo’s, just be kind and give credit where credit is due. I spent many late nights working on this. Happy sewing!

Any questions or comments please contact me. If you make a tent using this tutorial please send me an email or add it to my flickr group.

Here are a few other tents I have made.

Related posts:


  1. Thank you so much for this tute!! I have been looking for something exactly like this!!! :) Thank you!!

  2. This is wonderful. Thank you so much.

  3. Anonymous says:

    oh my gosh this is beautiful xxxx

  4. This is a wonderful Tut. Thank you! I can't wait to try it!

  5. Did you use organza for the pink tent? My 4yr old daughter saw it and now wants one for her room. :)

  6. 2littlehooligans says:

    hi denise, i used a sheer sheet that i bought from walmart. hope that helps:)

  7. Thank you so much. That helps a lot and saves me a lot of money on fabric.

  8. margaret says:

    shame it can't be brought over the internet

  9. Thank you. After having your original post bookmarked for about a year I finally got round to making it! My girls love it! and

  10. Anonymous says:

    A little confused on template….you state that is should be 24" long on the sides and 22" wide at the base. But in the template it is 19 1/2" long on the sides and 18 1/2" wide at the base.
    Which one do I use?


  11. 2littlehooligans says:

    hi jessica, you want to cut out your triangles so that they are 24" long on the sides and 22" wide at the base. then use your hula hoop as a guide to give the triangles their curve which comes out to be about 19 1/2" long on the sides and about 18 1/2" wide at the base once curved and cut. does that help you out any better?

    • I have my template laid out and have the bottom of the triangle on the hula hoop and cut the curve. The height of the triangle is 21″ like yours. My two sides of the triangle are 19 1/2″, but the bottom, from the start of the curve to the other, is 21″. Ahhh! I don’t know why I can’t get the 18″ at the bottom. Any advice?

  12. Toni Parvin says:

    These are great! Do you sell them? I have no time but I would love to use this as a photo prop.

  13. Inspire Me Heather says:

    Gosh your tents are lovely! Thanks for posting the tutorial as well. I've got this linked to my play tents post too today, for inspiration!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I'm hoping to make one of these as a Christmas gift. But the hoola hoop I found was 35 1/2 inches across… My brain isn't wrapping around the math… How much do I need to change the width and/or length of the triangle for the top? I am excited to see how it turns out!

  15. 2littlehooligans says:

    anonymous, you wont have to worry about the 1/2" difference. you should have no problem at all following the tutorial as is.

  16. LOVE your site. Pinning it madly! Thank you!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I am so confused by the 4 1/2" ties. Do they get sewn on the inside or the outside?? Thanks!

  18. 2littlehooligans says:

    the ties get sewn on the inside and outside of the tent. when attaching the the sides of the tent to the round top you tuck the long ties in and short ties are hanging on the outside. so when finished the shorter part of the ties will be on the inside for attaching the hoop in place and the longer part of the ties will be on the outside for decorations. does that clarify bettter?

  19. Any chance you would sell one? I do not sew and my 4 year old daughter squealed with delight when she saw this!

  20. Jeannette says:

    I am in love with this but have no sewing machine or tools. I see a few other people have asked, so I’ll ask too. Do you sell these or would you make one to sell? The one on the porch is absolutely lovely and perfect colors for my duaghtes room. Would so pay you to duplicate it for me. Any chance?

    • Christina says:

      hi jeannette, im sorry but i am not selling any of these at the moment. my three little ones are making it too hard to sell on etsy like i did in the past. hope you understand:)

  21. This is an adorable idea! I, like so many others visiting your site, do not own a sewing machine, and can’t sew. I am wondering however, could you use a high quality/heavy duty fabric glue instead of sewing?? My son is almost 7, so he would be more gentle than perhaps younger children. Great tutorial!

  22. Diane Herring says:

    When looking at this I was thinking what a wonderful idea for an outside dressing room by the pool or perhaps a surround for an outside shower.

  23. Sarah Slater says:

    The pink, white, and green one has to pulled open on both sides, how different are the measurements for this one?

  24. Thank you so much for this tutorial. My niece is going to be very happy… and my daughters are going to be begging for one too. :)

  25. I have to express my admiration for your kind-heartedness in support of women who really need guidance on this theme. Your very own commitment to getting the message all over had become pretty valuable and have surely allowed girls like me to realize their desired goals. Your entire interesting recommendations can mean a lot to me and further more to my colleagues. Many thanks; from everyone of us.

  26. Hi there very nice blog!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds also…I am happy to search out so many helpful info right here within the submit, we’d like work out extra strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing.

  27. Brittany says:

    I have been looking for a cahngeroom to have in my booth for when i go to vedor shows with my vintage shop and this will work perfectly! Thank you so much!

  28. pRtDkp wow, awesome blog article. Keep writing.

  29. Charity says:

    I *finally* got around to making this after having it pinned for months. =) I took some artistic liberties as I needed the base of my tent to be much larger. I used big box pleats around the top to make it fit my hoops. I also just cut out a circle for the top as my hoop was smaller than yours and I wasn’t up to the math. lol The last change I did was to sew some little loops of webbing on the bottom so I could stake the base out like a tent to have room for all my kids. Great tutorial – I love the practicality of some shade in the backyard.

  30. Hi! Thanks so much for sharing all that you do! Being a mom of 5 , with a 6th on the way, your entire website is so refreshing. It’s nice to see another mom that fits arts & crafts into her schedule! :)
    I will be making one of these tents for our Baby-Q this month (with all the kids invited, I think they will love it hanging from our tree.) But, I am confused when you show the photo of the ties that need to be sewn onto the “top” of the circle. The longer ties stick out, but on the inside – what happens to the 8 inches of the looped tie? I think I can figure out a way for this to work, but just wanted to check in with you before I attempted my first shot.
    Thanks so much for sharing! I’m a fan! :)
    Take care!

    • Sarah Slater says:

      I believe the 8 inches on the inside are used to secure the hoola hoop in place

      • The whole “inside, outside” thing was confusing to me at first, but I realized she was just referring to what was inside or outside *at the moment*. So, when she says the short ties go on the outside and the long on the inside, your fabric will be turned wrong side out. When you sew it and flip it right side out, the long ties will be on the outside, and the short ties on the inside. The long ties are for decoration (bows), and the short ties will hold the hoola hoop in place. Does that make sense?

  31. I love the idea of using it for an outdoor shower, but it would need to be larger. Anyone have an idea of something larger than a hula hoop to use?

    • Anonymous says:

      I was thinking of the same question. I’ll bet there is a plastic hose/pipe in the hardware store that might work and give you the chance to make a bigger circle. There is probably also a fitting that would knit both ends together. I’m guessing it’s going to have markings on the surface and might be black- but if it’s plastic, that Krylon spray paint should stick to it and give you the possibility for a different color. Also, the semi-rigid hose that I’m thinking of, may be difficult to bend without a crimp forming. If it is set out in the sun, it should be much more pliable.

      • I’ve seen custom made hula-hoops online for adults that are at least 45 inches in diameter. If you search online for “extra large Hu;a hoops” you may find something.

  32. Anonymous says:

    (I haven’t read the entire comment thread, so sorry if someone else already brought this up.)

    Something to look into with this is treating the sheets with a fire retardant solution (usually found at home improvement stores), or use curtain fabric that’s been treated. Anything that hangs floor to ceiling like that can be a hazard for spreading a fire quickly if, heaven forbid, one ever starts.

    Overall, looks like a great idea. I’ve always loved little nooks, especially as a kid. This is a great way to make one in an open space.

  33. Hi was the pink green and white tent made the same way? Ive been wanting to make one for my daughter, thank you so much for your tutorial!!!

  34. Very beautifull! Your work is so great….! Thank you so much for this.

  35. AWESOME awsome awesome

  36. COOL

  37. I LOVE this!! I’ve already got my brain working on some of my old sheets…heh heh. I’ve got a few nieces that would adore this, and a girl of my own on the way. I want to get it started now…

  38. kristen gibson says:

    hi how much would you charge to make one of these for me? the colored one with stripes? i want one for my sons room but i just cant see spending 150/200$ let me know thanks!

  39. My nieces would love this!! :)

  40. I am new to sewing and decided to give this a try for my son’s room (using yours as inspiration) – he loves it and it was quite easy! It took me about 5h since I’m an amateur sewer, but well worth it and only $25! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  41. Have you made anything bigger? I was thinking about making something similar to this to use when we went camping because frankly I dont feel like paying $150+ to buy one when I could just make it.

  42. I am so excited about this and that I don’t have to be an expert seamstress to make it happen. My grand, Kamille, will flip over it. Thank you. Ktc

  43. Hello,

    Do you still custom make these play tents? If so, please email me! Thank you so much.

  44. I have also seen this done (minus the top)for use as a camping shower!

  45. I just finished mine this morning :) using old curtains. Now I just have to find a way to hang it in my daughters room. I’m so proud of my finished product! Thank you SO much for the tutorial.

  46. I ran into some issues finding the materials of all things… seems like most of the stores near me are selling sheet sets and they’re pretty pricy.

    I decided on one full size sheet and one twin, instead of 3 twins.

    I also couldn’t find the silly hoola hoop in the larger size. The bigger ones were all Wave hoops, which meant they had water in them.

    Hoping I can make the pattern work with a small hoop and the sheets I have. fingers crossed.

  47. I am in awe of your creativity!!

  48. I’m back. I found a larger hoola hoop, but still going to go with a full size sheet because I feel in love with the pattern (ponies) and they only sold it in a sheet set.

    The top is done, but I’m struggling on creating the sides from the full size sheet.

    What are the dimensions of the twin sheets once sewn together? I’m trying to get myself a piece of similar size. The full size sheet is 81 x 96.

  49. I just love these tents…and I do not sew at all but my grandma and I decided to do this together as a product for some bonding time
    We started this tonight and like I said I do not sew so I have no idea what went wrong but when we sewed the three templates together and then all six together it was more of a cloud shape rather then a circle…can someone please help lol What are we doing wrong

  50. Christina says:

    oh no! im not exactly sure what you mean. can you just trim it to look more like a circle?

  51. that is what I am thinking otherwise the sides will just be different I guess lol

  52. Just wanted to add a quick thank you, you put a lot of work into this and it is very appreciated!

  53. Christina… I need to have your phone number, so I can text you how cute my tent just came out. I didn’t necessarily follow your tute (you know us sewing freaks can’t really do that very well), but I did “sort of” see how you did yours to have a start… AND IT IS ADORABLE!!! AH!

  54. Thanks so much for sharing!
    They look great and your instructions are very comprehensive.
    Also impressed by your bias binder machine!
    Regards Pat

  55. wonderful tutorial! will definitely try this! thanks for sharing!

  56. Do you remember what the dimensions of the twin flat sheet are? I can’t seem to find single flat sheets so I wanted to look into maybe using curtains, table cloths or just buying some fabric. Thanks!

  57. Pauline McMillen says:

    I think this is brilliant and will be making 2 for my 2 grandchildren. Thank you.

  58. Tania Blaas says:

    I like! :)

  59. Maravilhosas !!!!!!

  60. OMG i LUV ur design! I want to make one for my little brother’s room, but i am wondering if i have to make the triangles for the top. Any help would be appreciated! Thx!!

  61. Thanks so much for this post. I’ve been looking for a while for such a pattern. I was really getting stumped about how to join the top section to the bottom. I’m not really a sewer, so the pictures are going to be very helpful.

  62. I do not understand the step for the second sheet where you cut it to fit the rest of the circle…can you help explain that? Do I just need to cut a 35″ piece from the new sheet?

  63. Anonymous says:

    the only hoop i could find was 28″, could i still make this tent, im rubbish at maths

  64. What a great tutorial. I have been looking for an good idea to create a reading area in my classroom. I will definitely use this idea! Thanks.

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  66. If you ever decide to go back into business, I have a granddaughter who just would love one of your gorgeous creations.

  67. Sierra says:

    I’m going to try this and put it over my 2 year old’s bed…She will love it..

  68. i LOVE this!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is so cool!

  69. Anonymous says:

    amei esse tutorial, minha filha e alunos vão adorar…quando confeccionar te envio umas fotos…. adorei

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