Teepee Making Instructions

So much to love about painting and playing in a teepee this Summer.  You can cover the teepee in canvas fabric and paint on your own original designs.  A secret sanctuary.  Snuggle up for a good read!  

First, follow the YouTube Video for the Willow Lantern Houses as it contains techniques helpful for making a teepee.  Then follow the instructions below.


  1. Make 2 hexagons out of  damp withies, 120 cm each side for the larger hexagon and 60 cm each side for the smaller hexagon.  Tips: withies can be used individually or as pairs for extra strength.  If used in pairs, tape them together every 20 cm. Overlap and tape together pairs of withies to create longer lengths for a teepee and on any bends add plenty of tape.
  2. Overlap at the ends of 2 pairs of withies and tape together to make vertical lengths approx. 240 cm. Attach the vertical lengths to the corners of  the large & small hexagons and secure with tape (the larger near the bottom and the smaller one, one-third down from the top).
  3. Drill 2 holes in each of the 6 dowels and thread fine wire through each hole.
  4. Attach the 6 wooden dowels vertically at each of the hexagon corners, tying the wire around the withies so the wire can’t be seen on the outside of the dowel. Bring all six dowels together at the top and bind them together by wrapping wire around the 6 dowels and trim off any excess withies.
  5.  Cut out one section for your entrance.  Then cut  5 strips x 180 cm from 10 m canvas roll and fold each strip around 2 vertical withies and glue the wrapped edges to the main dowels making sure you stretch the canvas as tight as possible before sticking.  Tip: use clothes pegs to hold canvas in place against the dowels while the glue is drying.
  6. Use matt white paint to prime the 6 canvases and paint your own designs to each panel and seal with a varnish.
  7. On rainy days, you will need to store in a garden shed, garage or cover with either a waterproof material or under a gazebo.
  8. If you haven’t got anywhere to store your finished teepee like a shed or garage over the winter – flatten the teppee and place against a wall.  You can do this by unwinding the wire around the dowels at the top, then cut 2 sections of the hexagonal withies inside the teepee in order to fold up.  Next Summer, you will need to reattach these sections of the withy hexagonals at the corners with tape and rewind wire around the top. 
  • You can buy 5 kg bundles (100) 160 cm, willow withies , heavy duty masking tape and PVA glue as separate items from https://www.musgrovewillows.co.uk
  • 6 dowels (18 mm Dia x 2400 mm) and fine wire can be bought from large DIY stores.
  • 339 g (10 oz) unprimed cotton duck canvas : 91 cm width : 10m roll from https://www.jacksonsart.com/our-shops/gloucester -shop
  • Any further information, contact nikki@christianartsfestival.org  01242 898403
  • There’s the opportunity for your teepee to be part of an installation at our Festival of Stars in Whaddon – rescheduled for Saturday 8 May, 2021.
    We’d love to see an image of either your willow lantern houses or teepee, big or small, on our website!  Send to nikki@christianartsfestival.org
    Prizes will be awarded for the best in show at the Festival of Stars (provisionally Sat 8 May, 2021)


Art Workshop
Location: Date: Time: - Giant Teepee