This is part two of my DIY living room pup tent walkthrough. If you haven’t checked out DIY Living Room Pup Tents: Part One (or the original post this idea is based on), head over there and read that now. Go ahead, I’ll wait!
Assembling the Frame
Mitre the Posts
In order for the tent to sit flat on the ground, mitre the post feet at 22.5°. The original tents I’m working from mitred the top of the posts for aesthetics, but I’m applying the same technique to the base for a little more stability. To get the cut perfect, I’m using scrap PVC and a clamp to align the posts while making the cut (Fig. 1). You could make this cut prior to staining, but I found it was easier to work with the boards with both ends square.
Attaching the Stringer
I made a small blank from scrap stringer stock, and traced the outline of the stringer on the posts. Clamp two posts together and trace the outline of the blank. This represents where the stringer will connect with each post (Fig. 2).
Drill two holes inside the outline of the stringer (Fig. 3). It’s also a good idea to start each screw in place to prepare for attaching the stringer.
The sheets we’re using have a larger hem at one end. I opened the stitching on the sides of the large hem and fed a stringer through the sheet. With one end of the sheet connected this way, you need only staple the other end. Carefully connect the post to the ends of each stringer by setting the screws (Fig. 4). Take care; it’s easy to split the ends of the stringers and posts if you’re off-center or muscle it together too much.
Securing the Sheet
With the stringers attached and the sheet connected at the large-hem end, you can attach the posts to the PVC joist, and all that remains is attaching the open end of the sheet. The easiest way to secure the sheet is to open the tent completely flat, and wrap the loose end of the sheet around the remaining stringer. I secured the sheet with staples (Fig. 5). Don’t pull the sheet too snug, or you’ll end up with a bow in the PVC pipe; a bit loose is fine.
In the original post’s comments, someone wondered what kept the tent from opening flat and falling on a child (which seems like a valid point). So, in the interest of not scaring the bejeesus out of the kids under a collapsed tent, I added a small length of chain to the edges of the posts on one end (Fig. 6). This discourages the tent from opening flat.
Lastly, to prevent the posts from traveling laterally down the PVC joist, I cut the ends off two PVC caps and positioned them inside the posts along the pipe (Fig. 7). I glued them in place with regular-duty PVC glue. This is probably overkill, but I wasn’t sure how everything would loosen up or expand over time, so it can’t hurt.
I think the finished product looks really great, and only time will tell if they get the seal of approval from the kiddos. The best part is they fold nearly flat for storage (Fig. 8) — and Maherly discovered a great second use for the folded tents, but that’s a post for a different day…
The Finished Tents