DIY doll { American Girl } inspired teepee

My youngest, Myah will be turning 8 in under a week.

6 days to be exact.

She’s been doing a countdown and reminds me each day how many more days.

Yup, she’s been doing this since November 1st.

Ahh, to be a kid again and actually get excited for a birthday ! 

My girls just love American Girl dolls and between them they have a few.

One of Myah’s favorite American Girl dolls is Kaya, the cute Native American girl.

Recently, my friend Jenn and I took our little ladies to the American Girl store in Natick, MA.

Jenn’s daughter, Emma was celebrating her 10th birthday, and had never been to American Girl so this was exciting!

My daughter Myah had never been either, since when I took Elle for her 8th birthday, little Myah was too sick to come along.

Needless to say, all three girls were beyond excited and wide-eyed walking into the store and seeing everything “American Girl”.

The girls just LOVED everything.

American Girl just does things right don’t you think ?!?!  From the dolls, to the outfits, accessories, books and furniture!

Myah especially liked Kaya’s teepee, and mentioned she would love one for her doll.

I snapped a picture of the teepee, and started thinking about how I could make one similar for Myah’s birthday.

Not to sound like a cheap-skate, but I just couldn’t justify spending $125.00 for a doll teepee.

Call me crazy.

Much like the bunk bed my husband and I made two Christmas’s ago, I wanted try and make a handmade teepee.

This is the doll armoire I finished and gave to our girls last Christmas.

I guess I never got around to posting it, but I found this unfinished doll armoire at the Mill Store for about $45.00.

I was feeling patriotic and decided to paint a flag on the top.  I used little star fish to represent the stars.

I decoupaged the inside with sheet music, scrapbook paper and photos of the girls.

Laine seemed pleased.

BTW, the American Girl armoire is over $300 !

Much like myself, my girls really, really appreciate handmade, repurposed or hand finished, which also adds to the gift.


Back to the teepee.

Myah just loves fall, especially Thanksgiving, as she was born on Thanksgiving day in 2004.

Our little turkey.

I thought this teepee would be perfect for her birthday and very fitting for this time of year as well.

Oh, and I saved $$$ BIG TIME !

My teepee was just under $ 25, using coupons and supplies I already had on-hand.


Here are the supplies I used:

::  Bamboo sticks (they come in a set of six, which I found at Michael’s) – $9.99 but I used a 50% off coupon (total $5.00)

::  Jute string (had on-hand)

::  2 yards of fabric (I found some great faux suede Native American inspired fabric at Joann for $12.99 a yard, less 50%) (total $12.99)

:: Straight pins (had 0n-hand)

::  Scissors (had on-hand)

:: Thread (had on-hand)

:: Sewing machine (had on-hand)

::  Coordinating fabric (optional, had on-hand)

::  Feathers (optional) (total $2.00)

:: Fringe (optional had on-hand)

:: Eyelets (optional had on-hand)

:: Suede cord (optional) (total ($1.50)


My first step…figuring out how big I wanted this teepee.

I used the dimensions I found on the American Girl website:  W: 37″ x H: 32″ x D: 37″

Next, I assembled my bamboo sticks, using my tape measure to ensure the width, height and depth were accurate, then tied the sticks together with Jute.

This took me a couple of times, but once I found a “good fit”, the Jute was all I needed to keep my sticks in place.

(I only used 5 out of the 6 sticks since that seemed to work better)

Next I took my 2 yards of fabric and folded it twice, this will leave you with 4-layers and easier for you to cut a center hole and keep the rest of the fabric about the same length.

( this picture is not the fabric I used for the teepee, rather a scrap piece.  I took this picture to give you an understanding of what I’m talking about since I didn’t take a picture while making it. )

I know, that sounds confusing, maybe this diagram will help you understand what I’m talking about.

It’s basically the same technique used to make a circle skirt.

( actually I used this to make my Wonder Woman skirt for Halloween and it’s so easy ! )

Source: via Jen on Pinterest


I tried to take pictures throughout the process, pictures always help me.

I didn’t take any while making the canvas top part of the teepee, but it’s basically a shorter “circle skirt” with embellishments.

Assembled my base.

Tied around and through many times to make sure the sticks held in place.

Fitting the teepee top and pinning seams.

This will give the teepee a more finished look, but it is not necessary.

I pinned seams at each bamboo stick.

Then stitched each seam.

Inside each seam, I sewed Jute ties, to tie to each stick, which will keep the top in place.

I also sewed some faux sued trim along the door opening.

I used eyelets, glued feathers and used suede cord for the top overlay.

This part is totally optional, but I think it added more of a Native American feel to this teepee.

inside you can see where I tied the Jute to the sticks.

I just love the feathers!

The duck cloth almost looks like suede, don’t you think ?!?

I just love the detail of the faux suede fabric, especially since I didn’t have to hand-embroider anything!

So, this was supposed to be a surprise, but Myah ended up seeing it when it was half made in my husbands office.


On a positive note, it did make working on it a WHOLE lot easier.

Myah just loves her finished teepee.

She even said that she likes it better than the one at the store.

( awww, she’s just such a pleaser, thanks baby! )

Kaya seemed happy too.


I didn’t “finish” the bottom edges of the teepee since the faux suede doesn’t fray.

Easy peasy.

So what do you think ?!?

I’m thinking…not too bad for an impostor !


Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

7 thoughts on “DIY doll { American Girl } inspired teepee

  1. This is gorgeous! I’m so copying you!  Even the AG Kaya teepees on Ebay are going for TOO MUCH! I had a feeling somebody creative has already figured out  how to make one! Great job! 

  2. I found the doll armoire at the millstore online. Did yours come with the shelves on onside and rod on the other?  It doesn’t say and customer service didn’t know.  I love yours!!!

  3. Hi. This looks AWESOME!! You are truly talented! I am going to try making this for my 9 year old!
    One quick question – Do you cut the fabric along the seams? (So they are actually 5 pieces of fabric?) – OR- Do you just “tuck it in” on the seams and sew them to make them look like they are separate pieces put together?

  4. Love the teepee and I agree with Myah; your teepee is much better than the AG teepee!!!

    Hope to make this for my granddaughter for Christmas, but do have questions……I like the idea of tying the teepee to the poles, but what keeps the teepee from sliding down the poles? Did you also tie it to the jute at the top of the teepee?

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