As we were studying the excellent Land of Nod gift catalog, she was immediately drawn to this canopy.
She declared it a "Pillow Featherbed tent" (she is slightly LaLaLoopsy obsessed) and decided she needed one. But for $169? Ha. Sorry kid.
As it turns out, though, this is a really simple DIY. It can even be no-sew if you're not crafty! I threw it together in a naptime using fabric store supplies, but if you're not the seamstress type, you can make a few simple substitutions. I'll give directions for doing it both ways.
DIY Canopy Tent Tutorial
This is a great project for anyone to tackle, regardless of sewing ability. If you don't sew, you can substitute long curtain panels (Ikea is a great source for 96"+ panels at a reasonable price). Fabric stores will offer many more choices, so if you want a particular look but can't sew, look for iron-on hem tape to finish the edges. Where applicable, no-sew directions will be given in italics.
* 9 yards 45" wide cotton fabric (you can do 6 yards printed and 3 yards of a basic solid in the back to save money), or 6 yards 60", or three curtain panels the same height as your ceiling (so standard 8 foot ceilings require 96" curtains)
*Thick cotton cording, about 6 yards. I used the stuff from the upholstery section meant for piping, but anything thick and non-stretchy will work
*Strong cup hook, or eye bolt and S-hook for attaching to ceiling
*One basic hula hoop
*Needle and thread, or fabric glue such as Fabri-Tac
*Optional-fun trim for the front and/or around the top edge. 7 yards will get you both.
1. Get the panels ready.
If you are sewing or using fabric, hem the top and side edges of each panel. I just folded the selvages under twice to make it easy. If you're picky about the length, as I was due to a crawling wrecking ball afoot, save the bottoms for last and hem by hand after it's hung. If you don't mind a little puddle or high-water, go ahead and hem the bottoms now. If you are using pre-made curtain panels, this step has been done for you. Yay!
If you are using regular 45" width cotton, know that two panels will not be enough to go all the way around the hula hoop. You can either make three all the same, or do something different in the back. I just used some plain white muslin for the middle panel since it was already in my stash. As a bonus I didn't even have to hem the sides!
2. Make your hoop.
This requires some precision to make it both stable and level. To begin, cut three lengths of cord about 5' long. Tie one end of each at 1/3 intervals around the hoop as tightly as you possibly can. Secure with fabric glue if necessary.
Then hold the three cords together as one and figure out where you want the peak of your tent to be. The lower it is (so the shorter your three spokes are), the more stable it will be. Measure them to be exactly the same length and mark. If one is even slightly longer or shorter your tent will hang crooked.
Holding the three ends as one, tie together in a knot at the marked points.
Now go about 6-8 inches up and loop the cords around your finger, then tie a strong double knot underneath the loop again. This top loop is to hang it from the ceiling, and the space between knots is where you will gather your fabric. You can trim off most of the excess, but leave a few inches just in case of slippage.
3. Attach your fabric panels.
This part is more art than science. First, have another length of cord about 18" long ready to go. Now take the top of the first panel and bunch it around the cords, between the two knots. Make sure to keep the top level.
Do the same with the back panel, and then the other side panel, until all three curtain panels are gathered between the two knots. Make sure your hanging loop sticks out the top.
Then take your extra length of cord and tie it TIGHTLY around the three panels, between the knots (an extra set of hands would be lovely here). Put the tie towards the back panel so it's less visible when hanging. Make sure none of the top edges have slipped out and that they're all above the cord.
I know it's a bit hard to see what you're looking at here, but that's the top edges of the panels, tied off paper bag-style with a piece of cord, and the hanging loop sticking out the top. Secure knot with fabric glue or stitches if necessary.
4. Finishing touches
Fuss with your panels until they drape down from the peak and cover the hula hoop evenly.
Bring the edges of each panel side by side at hula hoop level.
5. Hang the thing!
I used a 3/16" eye bolt and S-hook because I had both on hand. It's rated to 120 pounds, so it should be very secure. If you can find a cup hook of that size, it won't require the S-hook and may be less prone to spinning.
Drill a pilot hole, then muscle the bolt in with pliers. Attach the hook and then hang the loop from it.
6. Make it fun...
...as if it wasn't already.
If you want to add some cute trim at the opening, just line it up with the edges and sew with a running stitch. I did this after it was hung so I could see what I was doing, but you could do it before you hang it too. You can also just attach with a dab of fabric glue every few inches to hold it in place.
Toss in in some spare pillows. Or make one. Or, you know, buy the one from Land of Nod for $69. It's your world.
Whatever you do, absolutely involve flashlights, books, dolls, rocket ships, stuffed TARDIS, and pets.
It's your own little world.