Canopy Tent

Something about a canopy space is simply relaxing and for children it can be like an imaginative escape as they play, read or even nap under the umbrella of the canopy.  These are great for photo props, reading nooks and play rooms.

I needed to come up with a canopy that fit my needs for the photos I wanted to create for my Llofty Llama and Bodacious Bull dolls…plus for more photos down the road.  It needed to fit a specific space.  I will share the dimensions I used for this purpose, feel free to use a larger (or smaller) hoop and adjust the fabric accordingly.

My tent has a 20 inch diameter and the tent sides from the hoop down are 6 feet. The canopy top is about 18 inches tall.

You Will Need:

  • – 5 yards light weight fabric, I used Shannon Fabric’s Double Gauze.  A muslin, linen or sheer fabric will work great! Alternatively you can use curtains for a ‘no sew’ option without a canopy top.
  •  – Hoop, I used a 20″ diameter hoola hoop.  You can get creative here and find pliable tubing that is strong enough to support the fabric and create your own hoop.  I ordered a custom hoop from shelLEDhoops on Etsy in a 3/4 inch diameter.
  • – OPTIONAL 2 yards cotton fringe trim, 2.25 inches long, similar to this one I found on CraftyDevotion on Etsy
  • – Natural thick twine, for hanging…approximately 75 inches long.
  • – Notions: thread, scissors, sewing machine, sewing needle, etc

Please Note:

I photographed the construction steps using my actual project that I now used as a photo prop, therefore, it is of the fabric I used and can be impossible to tell ‘right side’ from ‘wrong side’ as they are the same.  Since this project uses 5 yards of fabric, I didn’t make a second one for tutorial purposes only in which case I would use fabric that is easy to discern right side from wrong side.  I have labeled the photos and given careful instructions, I hope this helps you discern how to assemble this easy, but bulky, project.

If you’re using a curtain instead of fabric yardage, simply slip it onto the hoop you’re using and add some twine to hang it and you’re done.

Step 1: Cut two 2-yard lengths, leaving 1 yard for the canopy top. You should have two panels that are 6 feet long and the full width of the fabric you’re using (the fabric I used was 48″ wide). These are your tent side panels.

Note: I liked the frayed look of the selvedge edge of this particular fabric, so I left it.  You may choose to cut the selvedge edge off and either leave the edge raw or hem it on the edges that will be the opening of the tent. I also left the edge of the fabric that will sit on the floor raw, you may choose to hem that as well.

Step 2: Place the two panels right sides (RS) together, aligning the edges on one of the 6 foot edges. Pin in place and sew along this one edge using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  I left the selvedge edge here, but if you removed it, then you may want to either zig-zag stitch the seam allowance/raw edge (or use a serger if you have one)…or, open the seam allowance, press it down to each side and then sew it down along each side of the original seam.

Step 3: Measure the circumference of the hoop you’re using.  The 3/4 inch diameter hoop I used had a circumference of 2.35 inches.  I wanted the tube to easily slide through the sleeve so I folded it over two inches to create a sleeve with a circumference space of 3.5 inches after the seam allowance.  I later had to hand stitch the sleeve to fit the tube more snuggly so it sat right when hung, especially with trim. So, maybe don’t give as much extra space in the sleeve for the tube.

Step 4: Fold over the top edge of the fabric to the width you’ve determined to fit your hoop.  Pin in place.

Step 5: Sew using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  The canopy tent side is now finished and ready to add the canopy top.

Step 6: Cut the last yard of fabric in half lengthwise so you have two panels that are 18 inches long by the width of the fabric.  Sew them together as you did the tent side panels in step 2.

Step 7: Add twine to the top edge of the canopy top, one of the long edges. This method is best to avoid having to thread the twine through the sleeve…which is not fun! I waited to cut the twine until I had it in place.  Leave at least a 10 inch length of twine hanging off the edge.  Lay the twine near the top edge of the fabric as you fold the fabric over and pin in place.  You want the twine to move freely in the sleeve, so don’t make the sleeve too narrow.  Continue doing this until twine has been placed onto the entire length of the top edge of the fabric.  Leave about an extra 10 inches of twine and then cut any remaining twine away.

Step 8: Sew along the raw edge of the folded over fabric using about a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Then sew over the raw edge of the seam allowance with a zig-zag stitch to prevent fray and give added strength since the weight of the canopy will be hanging from this location.

Step 9: Add the Canopy Top to the Tent Side. Place the tent side right side up with the folded-over top (sleeve) on your work space. Place the canopy top right sides together with the tent side, with the bottom edge (raw edge) of the canopy top aligned with the folded edge of the tent side sleeve.

Step 10: Place the pinned edge of the canopy/tent on your sewing machine with the canopy side facing down so you can see the seam on the tent side sleeve.  Sew along the seam you created on the sleeve of the tent side in order to attach the canopy top but not make the sleeve any narrower. 

This is how it looks once the canopy top is sewn to the tent side.  Sorry, due to the size of this project, I was unable to get photos of the full project, but you get the idea.

Adding Fringe Trim - Optional

There was about 96 inches of fabric width to slide onto about 62 inches of tube (I wanted fabric to be a little gathered on the tube).  However, I didn’t want the fringe to be gathered also.  So, I used 72 inches of fringe.

Step 1: Add a running stitch of thread right under the seam where the canopy top is attached to the tent side.  I worked in sections and did this one half of the width at a time. Gently pull the thread in the running stitch to gather the fabric.

Step 2: Find the halfway point on the length of fringe trim and align it with the middle point on the tent side, at the seam where the two tent side panels were joined together.  Pin the middle point of the fringe trim to this seam.  Then pin one end of the fringe to one edge of the tent side.  Adjust the gathered fabric to align with the length of the trim and pin in place.  Repeat with the other half.

Step 3: Sew the trim to the tent side, just under the seam where the canopy top is attached. Sew along the top edge of the trim.

Step 4: Remove the thread along the bottom of the fringe, it should just pull off.  Fluff the trim.

Add the Canopy to the Hoop

Step 1: The sleeve for the hoop should be on what will be the inside of the tent. 

Step 2: Slide the tube through the tent sleeve and secure the hoop closed.

If you have a solid hoop, carefully cut it so the tent can slide on.  You’ll need to close the hoop back up after you get the tent on it.  There is hardware for this or you could use a short dowel placed inside one end of the tube and once the tent is in place, slide the other end of the tube over the dowel and tape together with duct tape or other strong tape.

Step 3: Pull the twine on the canopy top to gather the fabric as tight as possible.

Step 4: To balance out the top, create a slit or hole just under the twine sleeve using an awl or scissors directly opposite of where the twine emerges from the sleeve. Push the twine though this hole.

Step 5: Tie the twine to the canopy top where you pushed it through the hole, be sure to leave plenty of twine for hanging. 

Step 6: Tie a knot in the twine near the hole/opening in the canopy top so there is a loop for hanging.

Step 7: Cut the excess twine and secure the ends with some hot glue, or other glue.

Hang your canopy on a hook and enjoy the tranquility.

The saguaro cactus pattern (pictured at the top of this page) will be released sometime in the near future.