Sparkle Crafts
Craft Your Own Collapsible Play Tent

Craft Your Own Collapsible Play Tent

(This project accompanies the Martin & Sylvia: Saturdays! story “The Tiny House.”)

Summer days are long. Blissfully long. With so many daylight hours in each day, there are many opportunities to make magic happen! With just a little time spent at the workbench and behind the sewing machine, you can create a collapsible play tent for your little ones. Putting the wood and sheet together just so elevates the whole experience from just a collection of sticks and fabric, to a magical play tent perfect for spending long, lazy summer afternoons.

You Will Need

4 Wood Boards measuring 1x2x46-inches

3 ¾-inch Wood Dowels measuring 6-feet long

Twin Bed Sheet



¾-inch Spade Bit


Rubber Mallet

Sewing Machine

Straight Needles

What To Do

Saw your wood to size. If your boards or dowels are longer than needed, use a saw to trim them to the correct size. You’ll need to make sure all four of your 1×2’s are 46 inches long and the three ¾-inch dowels are 72 inches long.

Measure for the holes. At each end of your 1×2’s you’ll need to drill a ¾-inch hole – that’s eight holes total! To find the proper location, measure 1-½ inches down from the end of the board, draw a straight line, parallel to the end of the board. Measure the halfway point across that line (should be at ¾ inches) and make a mark. Where the line and the mark intersect is where you’ll want to place the center of your drill bit.


Drill the holes. Using your ¾-inch spade bit, drill a hole on each end of the 1×2’s. To prevent splitting, let the drill do the work slowly, don’t force it through.

Sand it down. You might need to do a little light sanding on any rough spots.

Sew the sheet. Make a simple casing to hold the dowel on each end of the twin sheet. Do this by folding each end of the twin sheet over and pinning in place. The depth of the fold depends on the original length of the sheet. You’ll want the final length to be about 85 inches. Sew a hem across each end.

Attach the dowels. Using your rubber mallet, insert one dowel into the hole of two boards. This will be the top of the tent. On the other end of each board, attach the second and third dowel. You’ll want to insert each dowel far enough that about 1-½ inches extends from the end.


Slip on the sheets. Slip one end of the sheet through one of the bottom dowels. Lift the sheet up and over the top dowel. Slip the other end of the sheet onto the final dowel.


Attach the last two boards. As you did with the first two boards, attach the final two.

Now, go and gather a few blankets and pillows, find a place to setup your tent and get yourself cozy!

Explore More

Perhaps you’re not quite ready to build a play tent with wood and sheets – how else could you make a tent?

Martin & Sylvia like to do a variety of things in their tent – drawing, reading, snuggling – what would you like to do in your tent? Who would you like to invite in with you?

Make Connections

Have you ever gone camping or even just stayed away from home? When Martin & Sylvia return to their room after a day spent out, everything seems bigger to them. How does being away change how you notice things?

About the Authors

Andrea Folsom

Sparkle Crafts Blogger

Andrea Folsom describes herself as a writer, editor, creative maker, and eternal optimist. She is passionate about learning and sharing new creative techniques, making beautiful spaces, and talking about the social-emotional benefits of creativity and art. She runs Crafting Connections - a website providing inspiration, practical advice, and projects for creative families - with her close friend Danielle Reiner.

Danielle Reiner

Sparkle Crafts Blogger

Danielle Reiner describes herself as a creative, a maker, and a mama. At the heart of her story is creativity, though that hasn’t always been the case. She rediscovered her deeply hidden creativity early in adulthood – with a ball of yarn and a couple of knitting needles – and hasn't stopped since. Danielle also runs Crafting Connections - a website providing inspiration, practical advice, and projects for creative families - with her close friend Andrea Folsom.

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