interior of living room pup tent

DIY Living Room Pup Tents: Part Two

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.

image of posts on mitre saw
Fig. 1: Mitre the ends of the posts at 22.5° to allow the tent to sit flat.

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).

image of tent posts
Fig. 2: Use a 1x3" blank to trace an outline for the stringer position.

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.

image of drilled posts
Fig. 3: Pre-drill the holes for the stringer screws.

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.

image of stringer screwed into posts.
Fig. 4: Carefully screw the posts to the stringer.

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.

image of stapling the sheet
Fig. 5: Wrap the sheet around the exposed stringer and attach with staples.

Finishing Touches

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.

image of brass chain attached to posts
Fig. 6: Cut a small length of chain and attach to sides of the posts to prevent 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.

image of PVC with coupling
Fig. 7: Cut the end off a cap and glue in position inside the posts to prevent the posts from sliding laterally along the PVC.

Final Thoughts

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...

image of folded tents
Fig. 8: The tents fold nearly-flat for storage.

The Finished Tents

[slickr-flickr tag="diy-tents-complete"]

5 thoughts on “DIY Living Room Pup Tents: Part Two

  1. I was reading the comments from the “inspiration post” and found the link to your tutorial. Just what I was looking for! I like the sturdier boards and the chain. My husband is picking up the wood I need today. Excited for a birthday gift for my little girl!

  2. Wow, this was really nice and detailed from the original version posted. I don’t have any babies yet, but when I do I’d really like to have some great ideas and I need all the help I can get in the building department I can get since hubby isn’t super handy! Thank you for taking the time to further explain this!

  3. Thank you, thank you, for addressing the “falling flat on the kids” risk – I thought I was alone in that worry. Great chain idea – I used chains to stop my DIY play kitchen oven door from opening 90 degrees and pinching fingers. : )

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