How Do You Make a Teepee?

make-teepee Credit: Lynn Gail/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

To build a teepee, which is also spelled tipi or tepee, cut a large piece of canvas into a semicircle. Erect the poles, and then pull the canvas around the pole frame.

  1. Cut a large semicircle

    Cut a large piece of canvas into a half-circle that is twice as long as it is wide. The size depends on the desired size of the teepee. A good size for the canvas is 15 by 30 feet. Punch holes along the straight edge to tie the canvas together later. Cut a partial circle toward the either end of the straight side to form the door.

  2. Erect the poles

    Use 12 poles for the framework. They should be about 3 feet longer than the width of the canvas cover. Make a tripod with three of the strongest poles by tying them together a little higher than the height of the cover. Place the rest of the poles against this tripod to form a cone shape. Lash all the poles together at the top with rope.

  3. Pull on the cover

    Pull the canvas cover around the pole framework. Fasten the overlap with rope or wooden pins. Peg down the bottom of the cover, and spread the poles inside to stretch the cover. You may decorate the outside of the teepee if desired.