I am so excited to share my latest project with you! I got this bunting duvet cover at Ikea a few months back because I just loved the fabric, and I have been waiting for inspiration to strike on how to use it.
I’ve seen some pictures of hula hoop tents floating around and decided to try and make one for myself. I wanted to leave the hula hoop intact because, believe it or not, I’ve got some pretty mad hula hoop skills that I hope to pass on to my kids one day 😉
Starting with the tent sides
I decided to make it so that the sides and top can be easily removed (also handy for washing it if it gets dirty since ours hangs on the porch).
For the sides I used a seam ripper along the bottom of the duvet because the ends were already serged.
Along the top and one side I used scissors and trimmed right along the serged seam rather than using a seam ripper along that entire top and edge. One side I left in tact. Once you do this you can lay it flat and you will have a very wide rectangular piece.
At this point I hemmed up one side, across the top and down the other side (remember the bottom was already finished out.) I have some snap pliers that I purchased at Joann Fabric last fall and used them to add snaps along the top of the duvet. You can kind of see them in the picture above.
I measured 3 inches down from the top and applied one snap and then another 3 inches below that the receiving end of the snap. There was not anything super technical about this application I simply added snaps on opposite ends folded the fabric to find the middle point added another set of snaps and repeated until I had 9 sets of snaps across the top of the duvet.
That is it for the sides. Once you have your edges hemmed and snaps along the top your sides of your tent are finished!
If you want some snap pliers I recommend using a 40% off coupon at Joann Fabric and buying one there. It has come in handy on SO many projects and is incredibly easy to use. If you don’t have/want one you could easily do a button and button hole, or a ribbon kind of like my tent top shown below as well. Originally that was where I stopped and I used a thin rope to hang the tent by cutting six equal length pieces and tied each end straight across from each other.
If you are not very familiar with sewing and want to make this project but keep it super simple this is a great alternative to the red top I made. If you want to do a super minimal amount of sewing you can use hem tape to finish off the sides of your duvet, or simply use 2 twin sheets and sew them together down one long edge.
My son Jackson however kept asking me where the roof was and calling it his Circus McGurkus so I decided to make a fun circus tent top to it and surprise them after naps one day.
For the tent top I used a fabric tape measure (simply use a piece of string if you don’t have one and then measure your string length) and measured the circumference of the hula hoop then I divided that number by 8. I also measured the length from where my hook to hang it was out to where the hula hoop would be (24″).
I cut 8 “pie pieces” the exact same size. Simply add 1/2 an inch to the number you divided by 8 and that is how big the widest part of your pie piece should be. Then measure how long they need to be (mine were 24″) and that length should be the tip of your triangle.
Using a 1/4″ seam allowance I sewed them all together except one open side. Then I serged down all of the seams so that it would look nice and finished out from the inside. Having it open on one side made it easier to add on the scallops. For the scallops I simply cut 8, 14″ wide semi circles and serged them on one after another until I made my way around the entire circle.
I pinned and hemmed the top center of the tent and added a little strap to hang the tent (about 3-4 inches long) and sewed up my final edge. I then went back with my regular sewing machine and laid an 8″ piece of ribbon at the inside center base of each triangle and sewed all the way around which ended up looking like this.
I used those ribbons to tie onto my hula hoop
After I had my ribbons tied I snapped the duvet cover on as well and it was ready to hang up!
I usually like to have step by step pictures of the whole tutorial, but I was hurrying to get it done before nap time was over and it slipped my mind! I hope it makes sense and as always if you want to make one and have any questions please ask. In the mean time I will be enjoying our new circus tent with my three little goobies!
Update: Since this post I have started making and selling play canopies (see pictures below). I’ve changed the style some from this tutorial, but even after all of these years my kids still love having a fun little canopy to play make-believe in.
See our lookbook for all the different play tent and canopy setups we’ve created.