Tag Archives: DIY

DIY Doll Tent

Let me preface this post with this; going into most DIY projects I think “This shouldn’t be too hard” and then it ends up being a beast that I can not conquer and it sits 90% finished in our office/craft room closet for years. With this DIY Doll House Tent I went into the project not expecting great results but promising myself that I would finish it because it was July 26th and Elise’s birthday was July 28th and I refused to pay $85 on an American Girl Doll Tent that had previously been listed at $35. I was surprised how quickly it all went together.

DollTent

So yes, this one time I would say that this DIY project is easier to make than it looks. So go for it!

Supplies needed:

  • Fabric for base. 20″x20″(I used duck cloth. It is cheap and sturdy and cleanable)
  • fabric for tent pole loops: I used the same as the base so I just bought extra of the base fabric. 1 yard is enough for the base and the loops.
  • Tent fabric: 2.5 yards There will be extra but you will need this much if you have a patterned fabric and want the pattern to go all the same direction. I had a solid fabric so I used a little less yardage. I also used duck cloth for the tent walls for the same reasons as above.
  • contrasting fabric for window curtains: 1/4 yard
  • ribbon: I spool of gross grain ribbon was enough
  • tent poles: 3/8 pex tubing found in plumbing department
  • tulle for window screens: 1/4 yard of sturdiest tulle you can find
  • tacky glue
  • sport/coat zipper 14 inch
  • thread
  • sewing machine

 

First I cut the base. I wanted it big enough for two dolls and for any future AG dolls. Right now Elise has a set of the BItty Twins which are 15 inches tall but the bigger dolls are 18 inches tall so the base of the tent is cut to a 20 inch square. That gave me a 1/2 inch all the way around for seam allowance and room for error. I figured a 20 inch tent would be big enough for the taller dolls and their sleeping bags.

I designed this tent so that there were two windows on opposite sides, the door had a 14 inch zipper and the wall opposite of the door was solid. I felt like one wall needed to be solid in order to keep the tent more sturdy.

It wasn’t until the entire tent was sewn together that Tim pointed out that the zipper was in upside down. Because of that I will skip any photo pics of how I put it together because I did it wrong, you don’t want to mimic me doing it wrong!

Back to the tutorial. Your tent poles need to go somewhere and even though it would have been easiest to just sew a long hem along the inside of the tent to snake the poles through (think curtain rod but on inside of tent) I opted for tent pole tabs so it looked more like a real pop up tent and to give the tent poles a little more room to flex.

And this is where my photo taking stopped. I know. I suck. I was running out of time and everything was going easier than planned and I just got excited and forgot to take photos of every step. I will do my best to describe what I did to finish off the tent with a few photos I have.

I made 4 more tabs but this time I sewed them so they would be the “pocket” that the end of the tent poles would sit in.

Next is sewing the four walls together. Pin your pole tabs evenly spaced along the edges of the tent walls. Pin you bottom pole pocket in place. Sew together. This will be used as the top tie support. Do this for every wall taking care to piece the walls together in the correct order so you don’t have two windows walls bordering each other. Ripping seams out is my least favorite thing. It completely derails all momentum and makes me want to quit and abandon my projects.

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Note: on one of the seams you need to pin a piece of ribbon folded in half to the peak of the tent. This will be used as the top tie support. (finished tie on top)

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When all four walls are sewn together you can then sew the base to the walls.

Start about 6 to 7 inches from the zipper and work your way around all three walls and then finish by only sewing 3 to 4 inches on the other side of the zipper. You need room for the zipper door flaps to open but you also need to secure the wall in place.

*note: If i were to do this again I would have hemmed the front of the base piece of the tent so there wasn’t a raw edge at the zipper opening. I will have to sneak the tent away from Elise now and do something to stop the fraying.

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As recommended by another DIY doll tent maker I bought this for the poles.

I did not have good luck. It stood but didn’t hold it shape well at all. It barely stood up to the cat so I knew it wouldn’t hold up to our 4-year-old camping with her dolls.

I went back to Menards, this time with Tim and we picked up two 5′ Pex tubing. We used the 3/8 inch and it works great!

Feed the tent poles through the tabs and trim to the correct length.

I wrapped my tent poles in a fun duct tape to cover up the terracotta color. It took 2 roles of that duct tape to wrap the poles.

Tim feeding the new taped up poles through the pole tabs.

Tie the top ribbon in place and you have a tent!

With any luck, you’ll have a tent and a very happy kiddo. The boys love the tent just as much as Elise!

Sleeping bag tutorial coming soon.

More photos of the process here. 

 

Kitchen Reno: Nook Plans

I never finished my communications degree. I never really cared that I didn’t get that double major until I dreamed up this nook in my head and then tried to explain it to contractors and cabinet makers. Thank God for Tim and the years he has spent learning to speak and translate Meg’s Big Ideas because without him and the help of Google SketchUp, I don’t think this kitchen would ever get built.

Here are my plans for the Kitchen Nook or Banquette as Tim translated them from fuzzy words, estimated measurements and bad sketches into Sketchup with precise measurements.

So where are we with the renovations? We have hired a contractor and put a large down payment towards the reno. We have met with countless cabinetry people and chose a local guy with a shop in his backyard that does amazing work and is fairly priced (Go Local!). We have bought kitchen appliances and they will be delivered in March. We have begun the long process of cleaning out rooms and making donate, garbage and store-in-garage-until-after-reno piles.

Last night Tim and I sealed off the play room and scraped the popcorn off the ceiling. We opted to DIY wherever we could to save us money so we could pocket the cash for predictable “unforeseen costs” that we have been warned will arise with any renovations of this size. So we scrapped the ceilings to save a few hundred dollars so when plumbers need to move a water line or contractor needs to rewire something, we are prepared. Plus… I love DIYing and seeing Tim in a face mask makes me smile. Follow me on Instagram for live updates on all things reno and kids.

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Boys Room Decor and L-Shaped Loft Bed

We get a lot of requests for more photos and information about the L-Shaped Loft beds we built for the boys.

Here is a rundown of the answers to the most common questions we get.

Cost: under $100 in lumber

Size of Room: 95″ x 121″

Size of bunks:

The loft beds are 116 1/2 (the baseboards account for the 1/2 inch) and 100 3/4 inches long.

Width: 41.5″

From the top of the mattress to the ceiling is 3′

They mattresses are standard size inexpensive twin foam mattress

I wrote about how we built the boys’ L-Shaped Loft Beds back in March in this post. Read through the comments for even more information.

This post talks about the bookcase support and the ladders.

While all this building was going on I decided to tackle the wallpaper border (read even more here) and removing the popcorn ceiling.  Because I am crazy.

At the end of all of the building, scraping, sanding and painting we stained the loft beds, put the room back together and hung up curtains that I made.

That was ten months ago. This is what the room looks like today.

The curtains are no longer hanging on the loft for two reasons, one: the boys were naughty and playing too roughly in their room so I took them down as a punishment and two: the IKEA Deka curtain rod didn’t hold up to the daily abuse use of the curtains by the boys and the weight of the lined curtains I made. The rod became slack over time and didn’t look good. I have plans to put up a solid wood rod in the near(ish) future.

The boys are still using the chalkboard dresser from June 2012. Now there is art hanging above the dresser. The “art” on the bottom row are book jackets from David Shannon books that are favorites of the boys and matched the decor so I hung them in frames that I got for under $3 years ago at Target.

The Bro-Bots print is something that I made for the boys. I thought the chevron back drop for the Bro-Bots was trendy and fun and Tim and the boys thought they were tire tracks, that is what I call a two-fer! You can download the print here for free. 

The under part of the loft is all about encouraging reading. The bookcase, fun moon light, couch and rug with oversized pillows is a book lovers paradise. The boys love hanging out under the loft just as much as they love sleeping up top.

The bookshelf is a mess but keeping things honest, that is what it looks like. When I straighten and “stage” the bookshelf it never lasts long because our boys love books and the love of books is great but rarely neat.

I love how the room turned out. It isn’t exactly like the mood-board I made when I first started the room makeover but it is close and gives the same feel of young boys and brothers that I was going for.

The room makes me happy and the boys love it. I would say that that is a two-fer too! More photos here.

 

365 Day 26

Challenge: “2pm”

2 pm we were cleaning. At 2pm today the boys were scrubbing the kids’ bathroom clean for the first time while Tim and I were on top of the boys’ l-shaped loft beds changing sheets. Yeah. Read that again. The boys scrubbed the kids’ bathroom. Life is good. It took two hours of cleaning but the boys’ room, Elise’s room and their bathroom are clean. I only stepped on two Legos and I didn’t curse so that, on top of the kids’ clean rooms and bathroom are a total parenting win for me today.

I took a few photos of the boys room when it was all picked up. People have requested to see more photos and info on the L-Shaped Loft beds we DIYed a while back. I will post more photos and more info tonight.

Photography note. The past 10 photos I have posted for the 365 have been shot in manual. They have not been the best but I am starting to wrap my head around ISO and that is an exciting thing for me. I am improving and I have my friend Christine to thank for pushing me to do this 365 photo challenge. So thanks Christine!