Friday 17 August 2012

Tent Making (triangular form)

I´ve done making  Tents before, The medieval ones, but this is  a little how to on making triangular tents, and Trappers and Adventurers need tents.

So, stuff needed. Pair of scissors, some thin card, sheet of A.4 paper, sheet of polystyrene, sewing thread, sheet or two of toiletpaper, some glue, a sharp blade,  a couple of toothpicks, pen, ruler, a couple of thin twigs.(best are dried out hawthorn twigs) some sand and paints.

Decide how big, long wide and tall the tent will be. Cover the area with glue and sprinkel sand over it. Stick two cocktail sticks into the foam and cut them down to just about head height of a bod. Using the blade, cut a slot into the top of each stick, so that the slot is parrallel with the length of the tent.(ie from front to back)

Cut a strip of card to the height of the tent.  For the tent being made I needed a strip 17cms long as each side is 5cm´s long and each side is 3.5cm´s wide.Along the length of the strip I made a line. I chose the height by eye. Divide the ends of the tent  in half to give the points of the top. Basically, everything outlined in orange will form the sides of the tent (and dont´foget to leave a tab to glue the open side together)

Cover both sides of the card with toilet paper. This is easiest if you just lay the card flat, smear a thin film of glue over it and lay the toilet paper over it. Press down then remove (toilet paper is always in at least two layers) the top layers. When it´s dry, glue together to form the inside of the tent. Cut a slit (not all the way to the top) at one end the make the tentflaps.When all´s dry, paint.

Next the topsheet. Fold  a piece of A4 in half and cut a piece roughly the right size..better to big as too small though. By a bit of trial and error, laying the folded paper over the tent *, you need to end up with a piece with  about  1 cm overhang on the sides,  the front and back. Now the fun bit. Make a small fold at what will become the front and back of the topsheet. Put a thin smear of glue along each fold, lay a length of thread into the crease and fold flat. The folds will end up as the underneath of the topsheet and won´t be visible. For the middle guyropes, smear a line of  glue from one side to the other, lay the thread along it and then press a strip of paper over the top.
When all is dry, add a layer of toiletpaper as with the sides of the tent. When dry, scrumple the whole thing up into a ball. This makes creases and roughs the paper up. Unroll, Press flat and paint.  
Paint and decorate the ground, adding whatever inside and out.  Glue sides of the tent in place. Take 8 pieces of twig, 3 for the guyropes on the sides,  and two for the front and back guyropes. I used pieces about 1.5cm´s long. Using a toothpick make holes where the tentpegs will go, drop a bit of glue into the hole and then stick the peg in. You can make the pegs look like they´ve been hammered into place by dipping one end of the twig into water and then squashing it onto a hard surface to create a "mashed up woodgrain" effect. 
When the pegs are firmly glued, attach a length of thread to the front or back peg. This is then put into the slots on top of the toothpick tentpoles, pulled tight and then attached to the other tentpeg.
Add a bit of glue along the top edges of the tentwall and add the topsheet. Tie the guyropes to the side tentpegs and finished. I added a small dab of glue at the top corners of the topsheet at the front and back and then pinched it togther..looks better than it sticking out like it´s made of ?...well...stiff paper :-D

The end effect is that of rough canvas. To make it as animal skins I would have done it more or less the same way until the painting part. Here I would have drawn a pattern of skins (or squares like a quilt) onto the topsheet, then painted each "skin" in different brown tones, using a slightly stiff brush and thicker paint, making sure to paint in different directions for each skin.

* There is a way of calculating the size of paper needed for the top sheet. Measure the length of the slope of one end, times it by 2 and add a cm or two. Measure the length of the tent, times that by 2 and add a cm or two....but I´m a lazy bugger and couldn´t be bothered to pick up the ruler. :-D


  1. A great tutorial! Thanks for sharing that!

  2. You could do courses on this Paul, damn nice job!

  3. another great and useful tutorial!

  4. Thank you Paul, this is a great help. I'll try this and I'll try doing a really "rough" looking lean-to using twigs and dried leaf and plant material.

  5. Well done Paul, this is an excellent tutorial, thanks!!

  6. Great tutorial Paul, you do make things so straightforward. I'm sure I would have snapped several poles, tripped over the guy ropes and sulked off to the pub before every finishing!

  7. Nice work! Seeing the snapshot picture in my blog list I could have sworn it was someone's camping vacation photos!

  8. Turned out great Paul might give it a go myself!

  9. great paul this is a great tutorial, as are all your tutorials!

  10. Thanks Paul. I had a go at tentage a few months ago. I was pleased with my results but this is far better. My next effort will certainly use some of your techniques. Cheers again.

  11. Thanks for this Paul. This looks like a great rainy day project for my ACW chaps. Very helpful. The first picture of the finished tent is really convincing!

  12. Amazing stuff, Paul! Your resourcefulness and ideas never cease to amaze.

  13. Looks like I missed this one! Thanks for showing the "how to"!