How to build a den – An infographic by the team at Climadoor
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A-Frame Tent Den
Materials You Will Need (Frame):
4 – 1” X 2” X 48” Whitewood Molding
1 – ¾ x 48” Poplar Dowel
Drill with a ¾” Spade Bit
- At the top of each of the four moldings, with your pencil, mark 6 inches down each one.
- Drill a hole at each mark… make sure they’re all in the same place by placing two moldings on top of each other.
- Push the dowel through the holes on the two moldings. Repeat this step for each side.
The frame is around the size of a double bed duvet cover, so if you have a flat one laying around you can save yourself time by throwing that over the frame. If you want to make a cover, it’s as quick and easy as making the frame and can be done with or without a sewing machine.
Materials you will need (Cover):
- Fabric large enough to cover the frame. Approx 46” x 88.5”
- Coordinating thread
- Elastic strips
You can hem the fabric if you have a sewing machine, do this by using a straight stitch with a half inch hem.
- Cut four 5” elastic strips.
- Fold them over and sew to each corner of the tent cover
- Cover the frame, and loop the elastic around the legs to secure the cover.
The tent should now be ready to use! You change the fabric to match your toddlers ever growing and changing tastes.
Materials You Will Need:
Colored or patterned tape
Coloring pens, pencils and markers
Large cardboard boxes
Glitter, stickers, decorations
The scope to be creative with this is massive. You can add as many or as few boxes as you like, decorate them how ever you want, and tape them together in whatever order suits you best.
You could have a large box as the center, with a few smaller boxes tape to the side as ‘rooms’. Or two large boxes connected with a rectangular box as a tunnel… the only limit is your imagination!
Some advice though…
- Cut exterior bi-fold doors and windows out of the sides of the boxes before you tape the boxes together.
- Decorate the boxes once they are taped up
- Try gluing or stapling some fabric to the ‘windows’ for an extra special touch
- You could have an arched door for the front of the box, cut at the top, and down the middle, leaving the ‘doors’ attached at the sides so they open and can be closed for play-time privacy.
- With the flaps of the boxes that usually would form the base of the box, cut slats out to make them look like turrets.
Super Easy Dens
The Classic Pillow Fort
You Will Need:
Use a central pole (An old mop or broom pole works well), held in place with tins, bricks or heavy books. Place the sheets over the pole, pegging multiple sheets together if you want to make a bigger den. Use additional heavy items to hold down the sheet in the corners.
Try using the backs of chairs as walls and placing sheets or blankets over for the roof.
The sofa is one of the most valuable den building tools you can have at your disposal.
Use the cushions as walls. They’re great for walls because of their square, brick-ey shape and sturdiness!
Get the sofa itself in on the action by using the back of the sofa as a wall. Place a sheet over the side of the sofa and use poles to prop up the other side. Kinda like an awning on a caravan.
Things to take into a den are just as important as the den itself. After all – it’s what on the inside that counts!
Take an empty shoe box and cover it with some ‘funky’ wrapping paper by gluing it on. Decorate the box with your little one. Get them to write ‘Treasure Chest’ on top or side as they wish and decorate it with glitter and stickers.
Fill the box with snacks, sweeties, games, glow sticks, music players and toys.
Name the den – It could be a fort, a castle, a nest, a lair, a cave or a den! Maybe you could incorporate something that your child loves into the name such as “The Ice Cream Castle” or “The Glitter Palace”.
On a nice piece of card, write the name down and decorate with stickers. Try finding some stickers related to the name of the den or of something that your little one enjoys. You can pick some cheap but wonderful stickers online, from eBay and Amazon. Not only will having and building a den entertain your kiddies for hours, but making a sign is another great way to get creative.
Color Schemes & Themes
- Princess Themed for Pretty Princesses:
Pale/Baby Pink + Silver/Gold + Hot Pink + Glitter
Try making glittery signs using glue, glitters and card.
You could make a cardboard door sign in the shape of a crown or make a pink, glittering flag to make it into a ‘real’ castle.
Add fluffy, soft cushions and cushions like velvet and silk for a Den fit for Royalty – and don’t forget to stock the Den up with Fairytale books.
Try making strawberry cupcakes to take in as a fruity, pink treat.
- Jungle Theme for Little Monkeys
Grassey Green + Brown + jungle colours (think tigers, parrots and more).
Try decorating homemade door signs with animal prints like polka dots for a leopard, stripes for a tiger or snake print.
Add fluffy blankets like a lions mane, or even add some astro-turf to the floor of the Den to make it look like jungle grass. You can easily get brightly colored feathers from high street arts and crafts shops – you can easily string some up and pretend they are birds of paradise.
Take in lots of educational wildlife books and some animal crackers that you can pick up from any supermarket.
- Space Theme for Aspiring Astronauts
Blue + Navy + Silver
There are all sorts of things you could do with tin foil – maybe try sticking some to the walls of you den to make them shiny and sci-fi!
Try making some cardboard or paper mache models of the planets, they can be hung up inside the den and little ones can learn about the solar system.
If you search far and wide on the internet, you can buy vacuum packed food as novelty gifts, it’s based on what astronauts would have eaten – try snacking on some space food in the den.