How to make a bunk bed tent

If you’re looking for a creative and fun way to jazz up the bunk beds in your kid’s room, consider turning them into a tent! Bunk bed tents offer many decorating possibilities along with hours of fun. As an added bonus, they’re very easy to sew and assemble.

You can construct a tent just for the top or bottom bunk, or both. As with all things used in a child’s room, please make safety first! Make sure your methods of assembly and the materials you use are safe and age-appropriate for your child.

We’re going to discuss making top & bottom tents, and to get started you’ll need to take some measurements! For the bottom bunk, you’re going to make individual panels that hang down from the frame of the top bunk. You’ll need to measure the length (long side) as well as the width (short ends of the bed) to create measurements for each individual panel. You do not necessarily need to make a panel for the side(s) of the bed pushed against the wall. If you do want to cover all 4 sides of the bed, measure accordingly. You will also need to measure the distance from the bottom of the top bunk frame, down to where you want the tent to end.

It’s generally best to have the bottom of the tent be at, or just above floor length. The tent on the top bunk is going to be more open and will be suspended from the ceiling by two curtain dowels. To measure for this piece of fabric, start a few inches below the headboard, measure up to the ceiling, down the length of the bed, and down to just below the footboard (this is one long continuous measurement that will encompass the whole top bunk).

Add ½-1 inch for seam allowances to create finished measurements to determine the amount of fabric you will need to purchase (if you are going to make lined tent panels, you will need to double the amount of fabric needed. Using a contrasting lining can be a fun way to make a reversible tent!). Then it’s time to go shopping for fabric and supplies!

You can use just about anything for your tent fabric, but some fabrics will wear much better than others. Keep in mind that when kids play, they often play rough. Lacey, sheer, and delicate fabrics may look pretty but they also tear easily and may not hold up to repeated washings. When you are fabric hunting, look for fabrics that are a nice heavyweight. It’s also a good idea to look for a fabric that has a little bit of polyester in it. Polyester or other synthetic fibers add strength to natural fibers (like cotton) and retain dyes better.

This will help your tent fabrics hold up to your child’s adventures and the washings that will come afterward! Also pay attention to the wide of the fabric. Fabric usually comes in 45 and 60-inch widths. The wider fabrics are ideal for making bunk bed tents! Be sure to pre-wash and shrink your fabric before cutting and sewing into a tent so it won’t warp & shrink the first time you wash your finished project! You will also need thread, ½-1 inch wide hook and loop tape (about 2 yards), curtain weights, and any trims you may want to add to your tent for decoration (fringes of various types look really neat hanging off the front edge of the top bunk tent!).

The only hardware you will need to construct the tent is a pair of wooden curtain dowels with finials and mounting brackets (these can be bought as a set). These can be found at most hardware stores, or chain shopping marts. Buy the dowels that are at least as wide as the bed. They can be cut shorted if need be!

Now, on to the cutting and sewing! For the bottom bunk, you will need to create panels for any exposed side(s) of the bed, or all 4 sides if you so desire. Use the measurements you created earlier and cut out the panels you need to create the tent (remember to add seam allowances!). If you are going to line your tent pieces simply cut out 2 pieces of the same size, sew wrongs sides together leaving a small opening for turning. Turn right sides out and drop your curtain weights into the bottom corners of the panel.

Sew in place, and then sew the opening you used to turn the fabric closed. Topstitch the panel using a straight stitch ½ inch from the finished edge to prevent the fabric from shifting. If you are using one piece of fabric, hem all 4 sides of the piece by turning under 1/4-1/2 inch and pressing with a hot iron, and then turning under again and sewing in place. When sewing the hem for the bottom of the panel, place a curtain weight at each corner before sewing the hem closed. For both methods, cut a piece of hook and loop tape about 4 inches long.

Place the smooth baking of one piece of tape against the textured side of the second piece and sew both pieces to the top corner of the panel (this will allow you to loop and secure the pieces around the frame of the bunk. Use a longer or shorter piece of hook and look as necessary to fit around the bunk beds frame). Sew the second set of closures to the other corner of the panel, as well as at intervals across the middle of the panel to prevent drooping. For the top bunk, tent panel uses either of the above finishing methods to create the one long tent piece.

To hang the top tent panel, you will need to install the hardware for the curtain dowels to the ceiling. It is best to sink the screws into a ceiling stud. If you can not locate a stud, use butterfly brackets to distribute the weight of the tent panel. Install one set of brackets 6-12 inches in front of the headboard, and the second set of brackets 6-12 inches in front of the footboard (this will cause the fabric to angle in like a tent).

The brackets should be spaces just slightly narrower than the width of the bed. Run the curtain dowels through the brackets and attach finials to secure in place. Then run the tent panel from the front of the bed, up over the first curtain dowel down the length of the bed over the second dowel and let it hang down towards the footboard! Use hook & loop closures to attach the bottom tent panels to the frame of the top bunk.

The brackets should

Then just add children for instant fun!

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