This is Polly back again from Pieces by Polly and I'm excited to be a guest here on the Shannon Fabrics blog. With summer vacation in full swing, we're all looking for ways we can make childhood more magical and keep the kids busy. I've got a fun doll tent tutorial for your American Girl® or similar 18 inch doll. It's made with Embrace® double gauze and Cuddle®!
And what's more fun and magical than a girl playing with her dolls? Girls and dolls love camping in the great outdoors too!
My daughter LOVES her dolls, and this is a great way to get her to play outside with them. You can put this tent together in an afternoon and still have plenty of time to play.
I've got a fun and easy way for you to make your own doll tent for outside play with your American Girl or similar 18-in dolls. The tent and the doll puff quilt (tutorial here) can fit two dolls laying side-by-side or two dolls sitting and having a face-to-face chat. If your doll prefers her own sleeping bag (tutorial here), she may need a bit more room to sleep alone.
The poles are held in place by the 3" foam base for easy assembly and the tent cover can snap off, so you can use the foam base as a bed when you don't want the tent set up.
Skill Level: Beginner
Time: 1-2 Hours
- 2/3 yard of your favorite Shannon Fabrics Cuddle fabric - We used Flowerfly Cuddle® Paris Pink
- 2/3 yard plus 2" of your favorite Shannon Fabrics Embrace Double Gauze - We used Embrace in Paris Pink.
- 1 piece 18"x 24"x 3" thick Project Foam from Fairfield World. (You need the foam at least 3" thick to hold the tent poles.)
- Babyville Boutique Snaps from Dritz (optional)
- Babyville Boutique Snap Piers (optional)
- Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
- Rotary Cutter, Mat, and Blade or Sharp Scissors
- 2 - 40" 1/2 inch wooden dowels and saw for cutting
- 2 small screws
- Drill (optional)
- Pen for marking
Start by cutting your foam down to 18" x 24" inches if you bought a larger piece. You can use an electric carving knife or a regular serrated bread knife. If you're purchasing direct from a craft store, they may cut it for you. Mark the middle of the foam with a pen 2" in from each end. (I marked for three holes in the picture, but ended up just using the two end ones.)
Use a thin knife to punch a hole on each end marking. No need to remove any foam from the hole. Your tent poles will fit in nicely.
Once your foam is the correct size, you're going to essentially wrap it in cuddle fabric similar to how you'd wrap a present. You want the edges to overlap just a bit. You're going to end up using almost exactly 2/3 a yard, but will need to trim a bit off the end.
As you "wrap" your foam, we're going to wrap it around the long way, so that the ends meet on one of the short edges of the foam. Glue snuggly on the end with the hot glue gun. LEAVE THE TWO LONG SIDES OPEN (unwrapped) for now.
Feel through your cuddle fabric to find the places where you punched a hole in your foam. Use your scissors to cut a whole in your cuddle fabric there. Use your glue gun to secure the cuddle fabric around each hole, but DO NOT glue IN the hole your tent pole goes in.
Now you need to choose if you're going to use snaps. I chose to snap my tent cover on, so that it could be removed and we could use the base as a mattress when we're not using the tent. If you're looking to just do this FAST then you can hot glue your tent cover on. If you plan to glue your cover on, skip the section on using the snaps.
BEFORE we glue the longs sides closed, you're going to FLIP your foam OVER to the other side. I marked for my first snap 1/2 inch in from the end and then about every 2 inches along the side (about 1/2 in from the long edge.)
Then follow the instructions on your snaps for installing the snaps. Poke a hole for each snap with the awl. Put the snap back up through the hole so that the backing will end up inside the mattress/base. Put the snap in and then squeeze on with the snap pliers. Note: You really need to squeeze the tool HARD for the snaps to work properly later. Also make sure that you're putting all the SAME kind snap on your mattress (and the opposite side snap on your tent cover.)
You should end up with a nice line of snaps.
Once the snaps are securely in place, glue the long sides of your base/mattress closed with your glue gun.
Now you need to make your cover. Cut a piece of the gauze that is 26" tall and the whole width of fabric. You'll need to trim about 2" off the end, but otherwise you'll use this whole piece. Hem all of the edges by folding the fabric under 1/2" and ironing. Then fold over 1/2 inch again and iron a second time. Sew in place. Note: If you're attaching with a glue gun instead of snaps, you can just hem the two long sides.
Lay your tent cover out next to your snaps. Make sure the lengths are right. You want your cover to be snug, but not too tight. The guaze stretches a bit more than other fabric, so you might need to hem a bit more. Use the snaps on the base/mattress to tell you where to mark for the snaps on the tent cover. MAKE SURE you put the snaps on THROUGH THE HEM. You need the snaps over more than one layer of double gauze or your snaps may rip though.
Add the complementing snaps to the tent cover and test the snaps.
Cut two length of 1/2" dowel to 18" long. These will be your tent poles. Drill a small hole all the way through the dowel about 3/8" from the top. Cut a 3rd length of 1/2" dowel 20" long to go along your top. Drill a small hole about 1/2 down the center of each end of the dowel. Use screws to screw the top support to each tent pole.
Put the poles through their holes in the tent base and add the cover. You're done!
(Front pole was removed and I'm holding the top up for taking this picture to give a better peek inside. Both poles are needed for tent to work.)
You're not going to want to stop there though! Be sure to check out my other doll tutorials brought to you by Shannon Fabrics and Fairfield World. You'll love our cozy soft doll sleeping bag, pillows, puff quilt, and even a whole travel suitcase.
You can find Shannon Fabrics at many local quilt shops and fabric stores, and online at fabric.com, theminkyboutique.com, and fabricdepot.com. You can also use their Store Locator to find shops near you: Store Locator.
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