How To Make A Outdoor Canopy Tent (DIY Step-By-Step w/ Videos)

Are you thinking about making your own tent?

Do you have some DIY skills?

Do you want to learn how to make a outdoor canopy tent for your needs?

If so, this article is here to help!

There are several reasons why you might be interested in making a DIY tent, such as:

  • Knowing how to build a tent on the go in any situation.
  • Being able to save money without having to buy a store-bought tent.
  • Having the ability to customize a tent to your needs.

No matter why you’re interested in this project, the information below can help you figure out everything you need to know about how to get started. There are a lot of different ways to build a tent yourself, so be sure you take the time to check out our recommended videos for even more suggestions, too.

Now, let’s get started learning how to make a DIY outdoor canopy tent frame and cover you can use for just about any situation!

Materials

  • PVC pipes
  • You will need enough PVC pipes to make up the four sides of the canopy tent as well as the support beams. This number will change depending on the size of tent you want to create
  • Elbow joints
  • These are joints that are shaped at a 90-degree angle. These will be used to connect the corners of the frame where you don’t need to attach a third pipe.
  • T-joints
  • These joints are shaped like the letter T and allow you to connect three pipes together instead of just two.
how to build a canopy frame
  • Saw
  • You can use just about any saw for this purpose. You will need something that’s capable of cutting through PVC piping, but you don’t need anything too heavy-duty. You can use a hand saw instead of a power saw for this if you prefer—it’s up to you and whatever you already have on hand.
  • Rubber cement
  • The rubber cement is used to help you secure the PVC piping together when you’re finished building the canopy frame. You can leave it off if you want something less permanent.
  • Bungee cords
  • This is optional, but you may want bungee cords to secure the tarp covering to your PVC piping frame when you’re finished building your canopy.
  • Tarp
  • You can choose to use a different type of covering other than a tarp; this is entirely up to you. However, for a quick and easy DIY canopy, a tarp is an affordable and lightweight option that works well. You can also purchase a premade sun shade sail fabric or you can opt for tent canopy fabric. If you go this route, you may be more limited in the size of the tent you can build, based on the size of the fabric.

Directions

  • 1
    First, decide on the size of the tent you want to build. This will help you figure out the number of PVC pipes you need to get. Once you have your dimensions figured out, multiply these measurements by three and take this number to the hardware store with you. Find the PVC pipes that will fit together to make this measurement and remember that you’ll need to make three versions of the frame in order to complete this DIY project.
  • 2
    Lay out the pipes so that they form a rectangular frame and join them with elbow joints at the corners and T-joints in the middle.
  • 3
    Repeat this process to make the middle portion of the frame and the top portion of the frame in the same way. Remember that the number of PVC pipes and connectors you need to use will differ depending on the final size you’re going for with your canopy.
  • 4
    Attach the three frames together using vertical pipes secured to the T-joints on each level of the frame.
  • 5
    Continue until you have assembled all three frames stacked one on top of the other using T-joints.
  • 6
    After your canopy frame is put together, use the rubber cement to secure everything in place so it won’t move around or get knocked over easily.
  • Note: If you want to have an easier way to enter and exit the tent on one side, leave one of the cross-bars without being cemented in place so you can remove and replace it as necessary to get in and out.
  • 7
    Drape your tarp over the top of the canopy tent and get ready to use it for any outdoor event you might need it for.
  • 8
    Congratulations! You have just completed your quick and easy PVC pipe outdoor canopy tent project.

Conclusion

We hope this quick and easy how-to guide has helped you feel a little more confident in your ability to put together a tent without having to purchase a frame from a store. There are some instances when you might prefer to buy a tent that’s already premade and ready to go, including the following:

  • You may want a premade tent when you’re looking for something that won’t require a lot of time spent putting it together.
  • If you’re looking for something that’s durable and capable of being used for several days in a row, a premade tent may be a better option for you.
  • A premade tent may be a good choice if you want something that can fold up or down fairly easily for camping and hiking situations.
pvc tent frame plans

There are other times when a DIY tent may not be the right call, but you’ll have to determine what’s true for your specific situation based on your needs. There are plenty of times when a homemade tent frame and cover is an excellent alternative that can save you a lot of money, so don’t hesitate to give it a try if you feel like this may be true for you.

But is it possible for a tent you make yourself to really ever be as sturdy as one you buy from a store or online? Don’t you have to worry about the tent collapsing or getting blown away a lot more often if you’re using one you made yourself? In short, no—but you’ll need to take some extra precautions. For example, if you want to use your tent for sleeping in while outdoors, you’ll want to waterproof it unless you’re only planning to use it for a night and can be sure it isn’t going to rain. No matter where you choose to use your tent, you can use sandbag anchors or stakes and ropes to secure it to the ground and make it much safer and sturdier, just like you would with a store-bought tent.

With the right planning and precautions, there’s no reason why you can’t safely and successfully use a homemade PVC tent in place of a store-bought one.

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