Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Instructions on How to Make a Bottom Bunk Bed Tent

How to Make a Bottom Bunk Bed Tent (inspired by homemadebyjill's felt playhouse)
**Updated 7/8/2012--It's only taken a year and a half, but Pictures of the Top Bunk Bed Tent are posted here with very, very basic tips on how to make your own top bunk bed tent.

1. Measure bunk bed. At first I wanted mine to hang down from the slats underneath the top bunk, to avoid the ladder, but it hung so much nicer from the safety railing rungs. I think I might make the door way under the ladder next time, or something clever that would make it hang better right there. As it is I just put the ladder over it and it seems to be holding up okay.

2. Buy supplies. I bought snaps, ribbon, bias tape, two lengths of fabric in my measured size, and thread. I bought two pieces of 80" cotton fabric. I washed the fabric too. I don't know why. It just shrunk it and wrinkled it.  Next time I would totally buy felt (they sell it by the yard at Joanne's). I chose not to do felt because I didn't like the colors they had in stock and I thought it might be too heavy. But the time sewing on bias tape might have made it worth it. I also bought my straps from Joanne's. I wanted them a couple inches apart and I found the straps, which are a stronger webbing, in the ribbon section. They also sold it by the yard. I intended to use ribbon and just tie it on, but when I found this stuff I thought it would be much stronger, and I had the idea to attach snaps to it, so I could snap it on instead of having to tie it. Velcro would also be another strong, easy idea.

3. I sewed pellon on to reinforce the fabric where I was going to sew the straps, then I pinned the straps on, pinned both pieces of fabric right sides together and sewed them together, leaving a small hole to pull it right side out. After I flipped it right side out, I hand sewed the hole shut. Make sure your straps are facing into the fabric, not out of it, because when you flip it right side out, you might swear.

This is a close up of what my straps look like.

4. I cut my windows with my rotary cutter 15" long and 12" tall, which ended up being too big. They pouched funny at the bottom. That's why I ended up sewing/ hot gluing on the ribbon to help them not fall in. Next time, I would cut round windows (easier to sew bias tape onto), and I wouldn't cut them so big. But I like the ribbon. I think it's cute.  I sewed it on the edges and hot glued it at the crossings, because I got sick of sewing.

I also top stitched some curtains onto the backside of the windows for privacy :) 

5. Next  I cut my door by cutting two slits up from the bottom of the sewn together fabric. I made it 21" wide. I don't know why I chose 21". It just looked right at the time. I would probably make that smaller too. Probably more like 15-18".

6. I sewed bias tape around my windows and up and down both slits for the door. The corners were a pain for me. I'd never sewn bias tape before so I totally botched it. This bias tape video from Amy Karol "Angry Chicken" helped me figure bias tape out, but she didn't talk about corners and all the other videos I watched were about outside corners of blankets or placemats and I don't have the rendering skills to figure out how it applied to my inside corners. My brain does not work like that. That's why I'll do round windows next time. (Next time! Ha!) My mom did the corners that turned out nicely. (thanks mom!) I also sewed some big buttons and elastic loops at the top of the door to hold it up if the girls want. Usually, though, we just tuck it up into the rails when we want to put it up.

7. My roof idea is from homemade by jill as well as my mailbox. The butterfly by the window is a patch that I cut out from felt (using a butterfly graphic from Word) and then decorated with glitter paint and fabric markers. I cut the roof out of some white glitter felt and my mailbox from felt scraps leftover from my quiet book project and sewed them both on. I chose not to cut the mailbox all the way through and left it as a pocket on the outside. I top stitched almost everything. (And if you don't know what that means, join the club. I didn't until this project. It means to sew on top of the fabric.)

8. Using a snap setter tool set I set large snaps into the straps and then hung it on the bed. Viola! Beautiful bottom bunkbed tent. It was a pretty simple.

Look at these fabulous ideas for play tent embellishments from talented people all over the Internet in homemadebyjill's flickr group.  I plan to put a few of these on Kenzie's top bunkbed tent as another project for another day.
Mike sewed and put together the top bunk bed tent. I'll have to get him to write a tutorial. :) And I can't for the life of me figure out if bunkbed is one word or two. So I just randomly decided to try both throughout this post. Spell check says bunk bed. I say whatever.

Here's my schematic of what I initially planned. Those are my measurements too. Sorry it's hard to read because I used scratchpaper and then I made all sorts of notes all over it.


Anonymous said...

I'm speechless. That is amazing!! Your daughters are very lucky. Of course they won't realize this until they grow up and have children of their own. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Oh, but their friends will know how lucky your girls are!
From your comment on #3, I would guess that you seewed the straps on the wrong side. :0) Experience is great (after it's all over).
Love you, GMB

Rachel Sue said...

This is an awesome idea. I think my boys would like it even better than my girls. One more thing to add to the project list!

Tori said...

Sooo impressive! I love this idea! I'll be copying you as soon as I have bunk beds, for sure.

Anonymous said...


misty said...

i love the top bunk tent where or how can i get that

Amateur Steph said...

I've had a couple requests for the top bunk tutorial, so I took a few pictures and will be posting very, very basic tutorial soon!

Amateur Steph said...

If you leave me your email address, I'll email you the pics.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see pictures of the top bunk. I think I can see how you did it but I'd like to be sure. My friends just got a bunk bed for their sons. They are 19 months old and 5 years old. Please email the photos to my email, Eventually I'd like to do this for my child. What type of fabric do you recommend?

Amateur Steph said...

I finally posted those pictures and the instructions here: