Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Dad's school project - building a Teepee

I thought my school days have finished a long long time ago, until that is, I had to help my daughter finish (meaning: start) the school home project that needed to be in at school the next morning. Great!

Luckily we had some materials to hand from the previous day's visit to the shops. Brown paper, some bamboo barbeque skewers and a base. Great, what can go wrong..... well, for starters it's already 7.30pm

After doing some quick rough calculations the 'skeleton' of the teepee was born...

Now all I needed to do was add on the cover and job's done. Wrong...! 
I've pre-cut some triangular pieces of brown paper and tried to super-glue them to the sticks. Needless to say, I got covered in the stuff. Had to prise my fingers apart several times. This method was soon abandoned. Needed to come up with plan B. 

After some collaboration with my daughter, we've come to the conclusion that we needed to add an authentic look to the teepee. And the idea of an animal skin was born. After all, that's what the Indians used to built their teepees. A mention of skinning our cat did not go down well with my daughter. Second best option was to use a chamois leather. I did not have one so it was time to scrounge. And where does one go when one needs to scrounge? David, my brother in law. He has everything. So a quick trip to his house to dig up some old piece of chamois leather he inherited from his dad (and I was about to make a tent out of it). That was more than 30 years old piece of leather there. Anyway, it had to be done. My daughters education was at stake! I am sure grandad would have forgiven us.

We came home and the chamois leather had the 7 star treatment. Hand washed as it was filthy, a spin in the washing machine to get it as dry as possible, we smoked the pipe, performed the (stop the) rain dance, slaughtered a buffalo to appease the great Manitou and various other native American rituals.

Finally, it was ready to be used on the frame. Hmm.... see for yourselves, not so great!

Manitou wasn't on our side. We quickly abandoned that plan too!

Time was running out and failure wasn't an option. Ditched the authentic look and gone back to basics.
Plan C was to go back to Plan A and refine it. This time, Greek ingenuity kicked in (keep the comments to yourselves) and everything started coming up nicely together. Bit by bit we were nearing completion. We had to, it was nearly midnight. 

.... and finally, the Masterpiece, nicely decorated by my daughter

This better get some good marks at school, but as she has told me towards the end, she will not be taking History next year, so it doesn't matter!!! Arghhhhhh.........

One thing's for sure though, I will not be wasting anymore buffalos to Manitou again!



  1. In your case, truly education is a continuing process.:-) Well, that's a character of a good dad - having time with their children.

  2. i got some ideas from that! thanks

  3. Hi
    Need to build a teepee for my son's 4th grade project, can I ask where did you get he long sticks for you teepee? thanks

    1. Hi Janet,

      the long sticks are wooden BBQ skewers. You should be able to get them from any supermarket.

    2. Try this link...

  4. Janet, I'd love to see yours when it is done......