Nov 22, 2012

The blog in which it's an 18" doll tent made from PVC pipe (Tutorial with pictures.)

I don't know how I fell into this, but I did.  Some people are crazy cat people.  I am NOT one of those.  Thank goodness.  However, I might be worse.  I am a crazy "if you can think it up I can make it up with PVC" type of people.  So, at this point, I have created a play house for my son, a doll tent, a table and chairs for the dolls, and a doll bed.  I chose to not make it a bunk bed, but I might tweak it so that it can be either/or.  Seriously, the people at our local hardware stores know me.  They were so thoughtful when they suggested I purchase a pair of PVC pipe cutters ($10 at Lowe's) to work alone, at home, without asking them to re-cut and re-measure, a lot.  I'd like to thank them all by name, but I am sure they are too humble for that accolade ;o)  However, I am grateful for my cutters.  And to that, it's time I share the project with you.  The measurements are my own creation, but you can share and tweak them to your own needs.  These fit my daughter's American Girl doll well, and you will be able to see from the pictures how I pushed my VERY limited sewing abilities on these projects.  I was also considering making a puppet theatre with PVC pipe, but at this point, I am sorta' out of space.  The truth is, the pipe is super affordable.  However, the connections add up since they often cost more than the pipe.  So, I liked using the 1/4" pieces for the doll stuff, but I believe I used the 1/2" on the play house.  All of these gifts are my children's Christmas presents.  We spend up to $100 on each child, and both kids get three gifts each- just like Jesus.  So, the play house cost $35, and is HUGE!  Our whole family plus the dog can fit in it.  The tent was $14.  Shay wanted the real one from American Girl, but it would have been close to $100 with shipping.  So, we did what we could, and we trust that both children will be grateful for what Jesus afforded "Santa's elves" to provide them with.  The PVC table and chairs were from left over pipe, so I only had to purchase the connectors.  ... and the PVC doll bed was under $20 as well.  As for the fabric--- it's all left over from my sewing kit!  (I was big time into making my daughter and her doll those pillow case matching dresses.)  I learned how to sew because of it.  Who can afford the real stuff?

The tent was VERY easy to think up.  I had to play around with the connectors at the store to figure everything else out.  Think Tinker Toys- for adults.  Here are the pictures.  Below you will find the instructions.  It is broken down to ridiculously simple because that is how I like to follow tutorials.  Let me know what you think in the comment section below.  Thanks for checking it out!  *The tutorials on the other projects to follow if there is interest in them by show of comments below.

This is what she wanted.  
This is what she is getting.

Interesting.  I added the sleeping bag and pillow.  Turns out, they sell their's for the doll for $28.  Mine is reversible.  So there.
Coordinating Items- I believe my fabric for my sleeping bag cost about a dollar.  If that.  Have I mentioned that it's reversible??? And that I added a white paint, cookie cutter, American Girl themed "star" to all my "coordinating" items??? Fancy-Shmancy, I know.


All the pieces in the kitchen garbage bag, next to 18" doll for size comparison.  
You need 6 of these pieces.  One for every corner.   4 base ones , and two on top.

Gives the shape of the tent.  Need 4 for each base piece.   

These bend/tilt pieces just need a little scrap piece to attach to the next piece.  
All the pieces out of a kitchen garbage bag.  Long base and one top piece is 24."  You need five of those and 4 cut to 16 inches.  

My hand drawn plans.  My brain needs visuals.  Even if it comes from my own brain, I needed to see it.  I'm weird like that.

I might even try to spray paint the PVC pipe, depending on if I can do it without the kiddies seeing it before Christmas.  Shay's three gifts from us/Santa are all PVC projects.  This tent set, a table and chair set, as well as a doll bed.  SHHHH- it's a secret.  Don't tell her you saw this.

Please share this with other families you feel would appreciate it.  While I copyright my blog, I feel the savings and fun should be passed on.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial! I've tried my hand at woodworking, and it didn't go so well. I also don't have the power tools on hand and have to call in favors all the time.

    However, I *do* have PVC cutters, and the people at Lowe's and Home Depot know me as the "unusual projects lady", too, I'm sure. :)

    I'll be using this idea soon. Thanks again!

  2. This looks so cute and easy - thank you for doing the hard work of figuring out the pieces needed and the lengths. My sister works at Home Depot and her husband works at Rona so I am covered for materials and cutting lol.