How to Make a Canopy Tent

How to Make a Canopy TentPop-up farmer's market and art fair canopies are popping up in campgrounds. Now it's common to see the pointed shelters over picnic tables or adding shade to a shadeless campsite. Once a specialty item ordered by open-air vendors, pop-up canopies are available in warehouse, sporting good, recreation and camping gear stores. Some canopies come with attachable sides or screen walls. Strong, relatively light for car camping, it's possible turn the canopy into a tent when the sun goes down.


Difficulty: Moderate


Step 1
Place the 12 foot by 12 foot heavy-duty tarp on a flat area free of rocks and debris. Ensure there is room to walk around the exterior on all four sides. Open the pop-up canopy and center it on the tent floor.
Step 2
Fold the approximate 1-foot of tent floor outside the perimeter of the pop-up. Working one side at a time on three sides, fold the tarp the approximate 1 foot and crease the corners like wrapping a present. Clip each corner with two of the butterfly clips to hold it square against the legs. On the side that will be the entrance, fold the tent floor about 6 inches, and then fold the remaining portion toward the outside of the tent.
Step 3
Attach a 6-inch strip of Velcro on two sides to the pop-up legs where touched by the tent floor. Mate the strip with 6 inches of Velcro on the tent floor to secure the corner to the legs. The tent floor will now resemble a square wading pool with three sides about 1 foot high and one side about 6 inches high.


Step 1
Attach the factory-supplied walls (some manufacturers only provide three sides; in such a case, use a second 8 foot by 12 foot tarp as the fourth wall). The walls normally have ties to attach the sides to the corners of the pop-up canopy. The walls should hang to the outside of the tent floor. Use 6-inch strips of Velcro to attach the bottom of the wall to the tent floor sides. Place the Velcro as close to the bottom of the walls as possible in a pattern of 6 inch of Velcro followed by 9 to 12 inches of none.
Step 2
Cut four 2 foot by 8 foot strips from the 8 foot by 12 foot tarp. Using the Velcro in 6-inch segments, connect the strips vertically around the outside of three corners of the tent. The strips should overlap the corners by approximately 1 foot in each direction. Attach the Velcro as close to the edge of the strip as possible using a pattern of 6 inches of Velcro followed by 6 inches without
Step 3
On the fourth corner, which serves as the entrance, attach the tarp strip at the fourth corner so it is tightly attached to one wall with Velcro. The other wall should be attached to hold, but also to be released and draped aside for the entrance/exit of the canopy tent. Untie the straps on the entrance wall from the fourth pop-up leg. The Velcro will hold the door closed.

Tips & Warnings

During the construction phase, a garage floor or concrete driveway is the perfect place for assembly.
The walls hanging to the outside of the tent floor keep water from working its way into the canopy tent
The overlapping wall strips reduce the flow of wind through the tent
Add ventilation by cutting three sides of flap that can be rolled up. As an option, attach a screen to the outside of the opening using all-weather duct or "Gorilla" tape. Attach Velcro strips to allow the flap to be secured from the inside.
The canopy tent must be securely roped to the ground, otherwise strong wind will lift it like a sale.
Clear the campsite set-up area of any rocks or sticks.

Article Written By Eric Jay Toll

Eric Jay Toll has been writing since 1970, influenced by his active lifestyle. An outdoorsman, businessman, planner and travel writer, Toll's work appears in travel guides for the Navajo Nation, "TIME" and "Planning" magazines and on various websites. He studied broadcast marketing and management at Southern Illinois University.

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