Make Your Own Fabric Play Fort Kit!

posted in: Notes | 21

Make Your Own Fabric Play Fort Kit for Hours of Imaginative Play!As a child, I loved making forts with my brother — we would remove the cushions from our sofa and reconfigure things to make a fort with a roof, windows, and even a door (another cushion).  This play fort kit is inspired by those memories, as I wanted to give my boys something that would inspire them to play creatively and use their imaginations.

What better way to do that than by playing fort?  Sadly, we don’t have couches that are conducive to making cushion forts (yes, I’ve tried, amusingly).  So this fort kit seemed like the next best option.

My toddler has enjoyed making blanket forts with me — but the downside of blankets is that they’re so heavy.  It’s almost impractical to use a heavy blanket for spanning wider spaces — sheets would work much better.

So, when we had to retire our master bedroom sheet set, I decided to salvage some of the fabric and turn it into pieces of fabric for a fort kit.

There was no formula, no measuring.  I cut the sheets up into random sized squares (well, rectangles, mostly).  The fitted sheet too — I trimmed off the elastic so the fabric could lie flat.

Since woven fabrics tend to fray, I did finish the edges.  You could use your sewing machine to sew a hem around each piece, or if you have a serger, just serge the edges.  Pinking shears (the scissors that cut a zig zag pattern) would have also worked.

Anyways, once the pieces were finished, I looked at the pile of fort fabric and decided we needed a bag to keep everything together.  So, I folded a long rectangle of fabric in half, and sewed it closed on three sides to make a bag.  Then, I added a drawstring to the open end.

Being the overachiever that I am, I also decided to decorate the bag so no one would be confused as to what it was for.  So I used permanent marker to write: “Fabric Play Fort” on the bag.  If you decide to decorate with permanent marker (or paint…anything that will go through multiple layers of fabric), make sure to put a piece of cardboard behind the fabric so that your decoration doesn’t bleed through.

Finally, we had some PVC pipe frames that were at one point used as laundry hampers.  They’ve been commandeered for use with the fort kit.  Or for use as a bear cave, or boats, you name it.  I love how easy it is to repurpose stuff when you’re focusing on imaginative play!

Here are some more pictures of the fort kit.  Click on any image below to enter gallery view mode, or hover over an image to read the captions.

We’ve already gotten a lot of mileage out of this fabric play fort.  And Toby has used it for more than just fort building too!  One day, the fabric pieces became a cape and wings, another day they were strewn on the floor to make a nest inside a cave… the imagination knows no limits.

I love that this fort kit was so simple to create.  You really don’t need the stow bag, and if you didn’t care about frayed ends, you could really skip the step of finishing the edges too.  Hey, while we’re at it, you could just get a cheap sheet set and leave it fully intact for use as a fabric play fort kit, right?  Stuff the sheets in the pillowcase for storage, and you’re done!

And, as a bonus?  My non-napping toddler was more than enthusiastic about taking a nap in the fort tent we made.  Naptime was easy, and as I was snuggled up under the fort, basking in the afternoon sun that streamed through the window, I was grateful for the new memories I get to make with my kids every day.

The pieces of fabric were tied together around the chair and clothes tree; the other end was shut into the dresser drawer.
The pieces of fabric were tied together around the chair and clothes tree; the other end was shut into the dresser drawer.


Do you have a favorite childhood memory that involved imaginative play?  Did you ever make forts as a kid?  Do you think your kids would like this fabric play fort idea?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

21 Responses

  1. Penny Struebig

    Looks like so much fun! We made forts all the time when my son was small. It was one of those things all the kids just love doing.

  2. Don

    When we were kids we use to make tents over the clothes lines during the summer. If it was raining, my parents would make set it up in the garage so we could still play. This brings back memories! Looks like a great kit.

  3. HilLesha

    Both of my children (2 and 8) enjoy making their own forts. It is a wonderful way of providing endless hours of fun!

  4. Liz Mays

    That makes building forts so much easier. My kids built forts all the time. It’s a lot of fun!

  5. Vera Sweeney

    This si an awesome idea for a fort! I love how easy it is to make and change up.

  6. Nancy

    SO freaking fun! I love setting up these types of forts for my nephews and I when I’m home visiting them!

  7. Stephanie

    That looks like a lot of fun! I love that it doesn’t involve ripping all of the sheets and blankets out of the linen closet like my kids used to!

  8. Nicole Herose Escat

    My kids and niece would love this fun and exciting play, thank you for sharing this amazing idea. I love it!

  9. Angelic Sinova

    How fun! I LOVED playing in and building forts when I was a kid. Wha a fun activity to do on a rainy day <3

  10. Rebecca Swenor

    This would be so much fun for my niece’s kids indeed. I so remember making forts out of the furniture and sheets. Them are some of the best times ever. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Shaney Vijendranath

    Wow, this is awesome! My toddler would love this setup. We bought a little tent for her but it broke so a fort would be great.

  12. Colette - JamericanSpice

    This is super cool!
    My kids love to make forts and they keep stealing my chairs 🙂
    So this would be best 🙂

  13. Pinay Mommy Online

    My youngest daughter loves to make her own fort. She uses our fold-able mattress as her walls. ^_^

  14. Fi Ní Neachtáin

    This is so sweet! Simple things like this really make little ones so excited! My little guy has a teepee and loves climbing inside it to play 🙂

  15. Rosey

    This is such fun time for kids. Every single one of mine has loved to make a fort at one time or another.

  16. Myrabev

    aaah this brings back memories indeed, me and my siblings and cousins really loved playing fort and love your idea of using sheets.

  17. Kiwi

    I am so happy this generation of kids are still into forts. Sometimes you have to let these kids have an imagination and take away the phones, computers and tablets and let them play without technology! Love this!

  18. This is so cute. Brings back memories of building forts as a kid. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup. Pinned to our linkup board.

  19. Betsy Finn

    Thanks Tanya!

  20. […] We rebuilt it into its original form, and then draped our play fort fabrics over it (see how we made our own fabric play fort kit from old […]

  21. JenJacqs

    This post brings back memories. I used to do this when I was kid and just stay in the fort with my favorite toys. 🙂