Upcycling Idea: Hula Hoop Tent

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My kids love building tents, forts and other spaces they can crawl into and get comfortable. This usually means — particularly during the summer — that my living room winds up decorated with blankets and various improvised poles to hold up their often multi-room constructions. But as much as I love letting them use their imagination, when Walmart challenged me to share a DIY home project, I knew I wanted to give them their own tents, in their own rooms, so I’d maybe get a break from all the building. Plus, tents in kids’ rooms are just cute, right?

I purposely stayed away from teepees. Why? Because even though they’re super trendy right now and therefore available in every color, pattern and style imaginable, I’m also come to realize that they are also super culturally appropriative of Native American culture, or at least the parts of it that most of us know anything about.

Anyway, back to my tent idea. I wanted to create something easy to construct and install, as well as affordable to make. As it turns out, this tent can easily be made either with inexpensive items from Walmart, or with supplies you already have laying around the house, like an old hula hoop and sheet.

DIY Hula Hoop Tent

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You’ll Need:

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  • Hula hoop
  • Sheet (at least full size)
  • Safety pins
  • Rope
  • Ceiling hook and anchor
  • Scissors
  • Optional: Ribbon, tulle, etc. and Hot glue

The great thing about this project is that you can literally start with what you already have laying around at home. The old hula hoop your kid doesn’t play with anymore? Use it. That old sheet set that has seen better days? Use it. I didn’t have a hula hoop on hang, so I got one for $3.5o at Walmart. And to make sure the sheet would match the decor in my daughter’s room, I picked up a full-size flat sheet for just under $10. A bigger hula hoop would require a queen or king sheet to go all the way around.

This may look complicated, but it’s really easy to construct. First, fold the top edge of the sheet over the hula hoop by a few inches, and secure it with safety pins. Repeat until the whole hula hoop is covered. You can use as many or as few as you’d like, but I’d recommend no fewer than 6. I used 8, just to avoid large gaps. The sheet won’t sit flush, since the hula hoop is a full circle, but it won’t really matter once it’s hanging.

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Where the two ends of the sheet meet, overlap them and pin them together so that they won’t separate and the sheet start sliding around on the hoop.

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Next, you’ll need two pieces of rope of equal lengths. Base your rope length on how close you’d like the hula hoop to hang to the ceiling. Loop the first piece of rope around the ceiling hook. Then tie the ends to opposite sides of the hula hoop. You can really do this step before you attach the sheet, but doing it after helped me to see where I’d have space for the rope.

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Loop the second piece of rope through the ceiling look, and tie the ends of the rope to the other two sides of the hula hoop. This way, you’ll have four points of contact to the hoop, so it will hang straight. Be careful to make sure you tie both pieces of rope so that they are equally taut. Otherwise, the tent will hang lopsided.

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Next, you can decorate the tent, if you’d like. I just hot glued some tulle and ribbon near the tent entrance. You can dress it up however you’d like. Just try not to add anything that will make it heavy. If you’re worried about your kid getting tangled in or pulling the ribbons, etc., I’d skip this step for safety reasons.

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Finally, you need to hang it. It’s a good idea to use a stud & wiring finder to make sure you’re not near any electrical wires in the ceiling. Hammer in a drywall anchor, and screw the ceiling hook into it.

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Keep in mind that you will probably twist the rope while screwing the hook, but that’s nothing some spinning of the tent in the opposite direction can’t fix.

That’s it! Now, your favorite kid will have a perfect, personal play space/hiding place that looks much more elaborate and expensive than it is.

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So what about you? Do your kids like building tents? Would you make this for them?

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2 comments… add one
  • Avatar Jane July 18, 2016, 12:13 pm

    Simple and clever. Wish I’d have thought of that 15 years ago!

    Really like the ‘what you will need’ photo – makes the project look achievable.

  • Avatar Jess Potter June 3, 2017, 12:58 pm

    It’s a lovely hula hoop tent!

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