How to build a great blanket fort

Building a blanket fort is a great way to engage with your kids in imaginative play, especially on hot or rainy days. They’re even more fun with friends or an overnighter inside.

There are lots of ways to create a blanket fort—the simplest is made by draping a king or queen-size sheet over a kitchen or dining room table. Add more room by turning the chairs with their backs facing the table, then drape the sheet over the chairs as well.

Another easy fort involves bunk beds—hang a sheet by tucking it under the top mattress and cover the bed below. The end of the bed is covered by a towel or small blanket… voila, fort!

But if you want to go beyond elementary building, take it to the next level. And no, not cardboard boxes.

friends fort

Allow me to provide my qualifications—I’m a dad, and I’ve built hundreds of forts for my kids. I even lived in one for an entire childhood summer—it had two rooms, beanbag chairs, a bed, a small fridge, and a TV.

Supplies:

  • Blankets, sheets, or quilts—and for added versatility, include a couple of fitted sheets
  • Pillows
  • Chairs
  • Tables, a sofa, or a bed—something as a main anchor
  • Clothespins or tape

Prep work and safety

After you’ve gathered all the supplies, you’ll need to prepare the space for construction. Look for a large space close to large furniture or a bed to use as a main anchor point. You’ll also need to clear out any breakable or valuable objects, as forts tend to be demolished once the kids move on to something else.

You’ll also want to stay away from small tables or pieces of furniture that could fall over on the kids while they play.

how to build a blanket fort
Photo source

Building an awesome fort

Step 1

After you’ve located your space, spread a large sheet over the anchor piece of furniture, like the back of a sofa or the top of a table. In my house, we use our piano.

Handy tip: if you’re using the back of a sofa as an anchor, use a fitted sheet to hold it more securely.

Step 2

Spread out the sheet and drape it over other pieces of furniture. Use additional sheets and blankets to add more room in the fort. You can either overlap the sheets as they drape over the anchors, or secure them with clothespins or tape (you can also anchor down the corners and sides with heavy objects or books, although it’s not recommended since they could be pulled down on the kids as they play).

Step 3

Bring in chairs or a tall support of some kind to prop up the middle of the sheet. You can use a tripod, a bar stool, or another sofa. Avoid using lamps or other objects that can easily fall. Wherever you see sags in the sheets, simply bring in another chair or support to get the sheet to the desired height.

For advanced builders only: Mount removable 3M hooks in the ceiling, drop string from them, and attach clothespins or potato chip clips to the end of the string. Then clip the blanket or sheet to the clips in order to create a floating ceiling.

Step 4

Once the roof is up, use the extra blankets or pillows to fill in the gaps. You may not get every gap covered—no worries, just use that gap as another door or window.

Step 5

Create a front entrance. No fort is complete without a main door. You can use a pillow, or if you want to really get into it, use a cardboard box as a tunnel entrance.

how to build a blanket fort
Photo by photo source

Step 6

Stock it with necessary supplies. This will include whatever age-appropriate toys or items your kids want: stuffed animals, sleeping bags, flashlights, puzzles, flat-screen TV with DVD player, cold beer and pretzels (oh wait—those are mine). You get the idea.

Step 7

Step back and enjoy your awesome creation.  It’s time to play.

One final tip: get in the fort with your kids. Let them be in charge of the play.

You can say no to constant busyness.

To lead your family with peace, you need to know your NOs and YESes. But what are they?

Like Your Life can help you figure them out.

104 Comments

  1. Emma @ Baby-log.com

    Your post brought back some forgotten memories from my childhood… Thanks for the idea, this is a great thing to do in a rainy day. My kid might be just old enough for us to build the very first fort together – he’s almost 2 🙂
    .-= Emma @ Baby-log.com´s last blog ..Toys That Last – Baby’s First Blocks =-.

    • ashlynn

      how do you make it

      • Skyler

        Thanks for the idea can’t wait to build it

      • Nicole

        Ashlynn it’s called read the post and then you will know how to make it!!!!!?????

    • Ava

      This turned out so good my 4 year old girl would not let her little brother in and all he does is crawl she would not even come out she did everything in there

    • Zayden

      i tried but it fell on me and my limitless sister

      • Zayden

        i meant me and my little sister

  2. Tabitha - From Single to Married

    ahhh… the good old blanket fort! What a great memory of growing up, thank you! I need to start keeping a list of these things as I’m pregnant with my first child and will want to make sure he/she has the same fun playtime that I did when I was little!
    .-= Tabitha – From Single to Married´s last blog ..High – Low =-.

  3. Amy Reads Good Books

    I just took down the remains of our latest fort. We use small cardboard boxes for cabinets. This last fort even had a mail slot!
    .-= Amy Reads Good Books´s last blog ..Top Three Tuesday =-.

  4. Michele

    My son just passed 10 months and I noticed the other day that he would probably love a fort soon, if not now. I can’t wait to experience lots of fort making with my son. Thanks for focusing on the fun aspects of parenting.
    .-= Michele´s last blog ..I want you to know… =-.

  5. Mandy

    How funny to read this this morning! I woke up to find a fort made by my two little ones. 🙂 It took over the family room and they were plunked in it watching Gilligan’s Island!
    .-= Mandy´s last blog .. =-.

  6. Cara @ repurposeful

    This is great– I love that you’ve laid out the “science” behind fort-making, because it’s not always intuitive to everyone. I remember my most favorite fort as a kid was one I built in the snow. I took out a bag of Cheetos and left them there overnight…. found them frozen solid in the morning, which I thought was so cool!
    .-= Cara @ repurposeful´s last blog ..Get rid of sticker residue on clothing =-.

  7. Rana

    We have forts in the living room all the time. The kids love it best when daddy helps set it up and plays inside with them.
    .-= Rana´s last blog ..Making plans. =-.

  8. Shanna

    Now, I never thought I’d read a blog post on building a play fort! I’ve built a few myself for my son & his friends but, being a mom, mine were extremely simple and consisted of a sheet draped over whatever chairs were available at the time, constructed as quickly as I could get it up and running for a busy preschooler. You’ve obviously put some serious thought into this 🙂 You rock, Dad!

  9. Scott

    A floating ceiling… sheer genius! I knew I was missing something. Now I can finally take our forts to the next level.

    On another note, I’ve found that a small tent (those 1 person kiddie types) make a great base/2nd room.
    .-= Scott´s last blog ..Standing On Your Own =-.

  10. Laura

    I made a fort for my daughter today! She kept crawling under the coffee table, from one end to the other. All I did was throw a large blanket over the table so it covered both sides and left the ends open. She loved it and it kept her occupied for a whole 15 minutes! Just goes to show fun doesn’t have to be fancy.

  11. Laurie

    Corey…You are too funny! This is awesome! I’m bringing you some blankets and other fort supplies up to Panera’s to watch you go to town. Think of all the work you could get done and the fun you could have in a blanket fort there!

  12. Tawnya

    Wow- this brings back memories! If you REALLY want to take it to the next level try this:
    When I was young we had a parachute at home (the real thing! not the small toddler time version) and we would spread it out over the whole family room anchoring it to couches, card tables, chairs, etc. along the walls. We put a couple fans underneath in strategic places, turned them on, and then propped up any other heavy spots with brooms or other tall objects. So much fun! I remember spending hours and hours in it with my sister and friends. When the fans first turned on it was fun to watch the whole thing billow up about 3 feet high through out the room, and of course it was fun to play in too.

    I made a tent with my kids this morning with a fitted sheet and card table. it works great for on our deck because I can see them but they are still in the shade.

    • Soleil

      Oh my gosh, I just love the parachute idea and I feel really silly for asking this, but where do you find an actual parachute?

  13. Melodie

    I just made the coolest fort for my daycare kids today. I clothes pinned a sheet to our fence outside and draped the other two remaining corners over two chairs and clothespinned them securely. Then I put one of those tent tunnels between the chairs and a yoga mat along the length right next to the fence. It’s big and roomy, tall enough for the toddlers and preschoolers to stand under and makes some great shade in our hot weather today. They’re loving it!
    .-= Melodie´s last blog ..The B’s of Breastfeeding =-.

  14. Nikki

    I love this post! I would also add a tip about what watching what you feed your kids before they enter said fort. Did I go there? Oh yes I did. Anyone who grew up with brothers can vouch for this tip. No cabbage, brocolli, beans… you get the drift.
    .-= Nikki´s last blog ..Nicmunks =-.

  15. Little Lovables

    Excellent directions on the blanket fort!

  16. Shannon @ AnchorMommy

    A fitted sheet over the sofa — brilliant!

    Thanks for the great ideas! I know what I’m doing with my toddler when it’s too hot to go out tomorrow…
    .-= Shannon @ AnchorMommy´s last blog ..Summer Tofu Skillet =-.

  17. Dominique

    My kids haven’t really tried out fort building but we do have a little tent bought from IKEA which they like to play inside in their room. The blanket idea looks so cool. May try out with them during the holidays.
    .-= Dominique´s last blog ..WW- New Skates =-.

  18. Lauren

    Clothes pins, rubber bands, (and for a family full of girls) hair ties can be fantastic for securing pieces together or more tightly to the tops of chairs. Moving couch pillows to the floor creates more room on the couch below the “ceiling” as well as a comfy floor for the fort — extra pillows are a MUST in fort building!

    • daniel

      yours sucked i bet

      • Katie

        Rude…

        Hair ties are great for forts. I bet yours was awesome!

      • Lily

        And a childish boy is on here because ……………..?

        those ideas are awesome 🙂

  19. Elizabeth

    Thanks for this post! It inspired me to build a fort with my boys (2 & 4) this weekend and we had a blast. Great times 🙂

  20. Chloe Alice Wilson

    My 8 year old son is going to love this. He already transformed his teepee shaped climbing frame into a fort by resting our olive branch cuttings against it. He even got his grandparents in there to read the paper! One in his bedroom seems the logical next step. Thanks for the ‘How To’.
    Cheers, Chloe
    .-= Chloe Alice Wilson´s last blog ..VTech Kidizoom Digital Camera Review =-.

  21. Celeste

    Wow, this is so ironic. Just lastnight, my husband and I were talking about stuff we did when we were children. I told him how I made a huge barbi mansion out of records and chairs. I used to fill zip lock bags with water and cover them so they would be waterbeds and I even filled a tupperware bowl for a swimming pool. He told me of his fort building stories and how he use to play pretend war behind the cushions and stuff…anyway it ended up with us making a fort of our own in our bedroom and well you know what was bound to happen next. Forts are NOT just for children…lol Our little one is not old enough to participate yet, but we can’t wait to help him build his first little fort! So strange that I came across this, when I saw this topic I was like…”no way!”

  22. Christy

    i love this idea!

  23. katie

    cool post!! my friends and i are making a blanket fort in my room for my birthday-they are sleeping over- and i’ve never been so excited! I’m 14….Haha, i’m gonna have to try that 3m hook idea!

  24. Jessi Tidwell

    Hey, this was so much fun 2 do! I enjoyed it so much!

  25. Rainman

    i made a fort out of my bed the other day, and now i know how to improve it! Even when you a teenager, forts are still fun. Thanks for the article

  26. Amy

    Thanks for all the great tips! I’m in college and we still make forts. My best friend and I bonded by making a fort together the first weekend of freshman year. I’m on Christmas break right now, but I can’t wait to get back to school and try using fitted sheets and hooks! 😀

  27. David

    I’m 16 and this makes me want to go turn our living room into a fort one night while the rents sleep…mwahahaha

    • Michael

      haha same here. I’m 16 too and started mine around 12 and just now finished. It covers my whole bedroom.. time well spent! lol

  28. Kiri

    Oh my goodness I love building forts! The kids I babysit and I build them constantly. Maybe I can convince my friends to help me build one for my 16th birthday next month. That would be an amazing sweet 16. xD
    And that ceiling idea is genius, I’ll have to try it!

  29. John

    I’m just curious, not trying to plug annoying ads, but me and my business partner share the same feelings about this timeless, classic way to entertain children. And we created a product (www.toydle.com) that we hope doesn’t take away from the nostalgic feel of fort building but allows kids to have “their own stuff,” meaning they don’t have to ask mom and dad if they can destroy the living room. What do you think? Good idea, or not?

    • Josh

      Good input John! My kids have one of these ‘toydle.com’ forts and I know what you mean about them having their own space! This way when it’s dinner time the fun with the fort does’t have to end. My boys are ages 3, 8, 11, and 15. They all enjoy making forts! and because this kit is compatible with pvc fittings my older ones have begun to customize it and do some really cool stuff. Anyway, be encouraged it is a lot of fun and keeps kids from rotting on tv all day!

    • clover

      I’m making a fort like a drop ceiling fort, but I’m going to use x-mad lights inside and turn it into my romantic date night fort! The husband and i will have dinner under this and watch a movie. Its going to be wonderful.

  30. Courtney

    i am a kid myself and i love your idea. i dont have any chairs that i can use but a replacement could be maybe night-stands or something. i am 11 and yes, i still love to make forts. one thing you left out is making an exscape-pod so then if somebody is comeing you can get away quickly and you wont have to take it down.

  31. Jim@Picture Lights

    Yes, every time we go to a baseball game for my older kids the younger two take blankets and use the coolers to make a blanket fort – very fun article.

  32. Andrew

    I am 16 and with the help of my friend Melissa had created the most awesome study fort, to prepare for exams inside. The fort spanned across the whole basement, had a microwave, a fan, lamps, an umbrella wing, and a TV. It was the most elaborate fort I have ever seen. Unfortunately earlier tonight Melissa’s sister got angry and destroyed it. A sad day the best fort ever known as Treasure Cove. Tonight we start rebuilding! Treasure Cove 2.0 is coming.

  33. Amy

    Is it bad that I’m gonna do this for myself? I’m 18 :]

  34. Ashley

    I have some experience building forts, and while looking around online for new tips I stumbled upon this blog post. Surprisingly, no one has talked about adding beams made of scarves – this solves the problem of internal support without sacrificing play space. It’s done by tying a few scarves (or other long things) together and anchoring them from the couch to a chair, from the piano to the wall, from the corner of the bed to another scarf already tied up, etc. This creates a loose latticework of support for the sheets or blankets to lay on – we’ve gotten so good we can create a fort that 9 or 10 adults can hang out in, and it’s all open space. If you wanted, you could also use scarves to divide the space by draping sheets over just one scarf as a wall.

    • Lucas

      WTF? I found this for the same reason. The scarve idea is good, because i made a fort with my little bro, but it only has one room.

  35. Hannah

    Its also a good idea to have flashlights.It gives the kids a camping expeirence,

  36. mikaela

    will she ever stop? this chick is sooooooooooooo crazy! i built a fort out of 6 cubes{foam] and 3 long wood pieces. Also a twin sided blanket. stake the cubes 2 on each other. you should have 3 stacks. set them in a corner leaving a space for you to got in and out. place the sticks over the cubes. now place the blanket over the sticks. theirs your fort! i only nine!

  37. Anna

    I am 12 years old and LOVE building forts. The one I am planning to build will use a fitted sheet (LOVE the idea) over our TV box. Its about 7 feet high and then, it will go over to our sofa and chair. I LOVE the open ceiling idea. My biggest issue when I ever built forts was the center. It always fell down no matter what I did. I will DEFIANTLY use THAT idea. Thanks sooooooooooooo much.

  38. elizebeth

    My kid is sick in bed and she is bored to tears so i made her a fort in between her two beds and she will fefuse to get out of it.:)

  39. Toronto condo staging

    What a fun post! I have great memories of doing this at my Grandfathers house growing up.

  40. Aleia

    I have an open closet in my room and the clothes bar is a great place to anchor a sheet, I tape it on the bar and pull it out and it makes a fun tent and a great way to form the basis for a fort, just a tip. It works well with shower curtain bars bc for some reason a dry tub is ridiculous amounts of fun and provides walls that can be drawn on. 🙂

  41. phoebe

    LOVES the fort tips<3 I might make one tomorow evn if im 13 hehe

  42. Alex

    16 years old. My two best friends and I are planning to make the largest fort any of us has ever attempted in about two weeks. We’re getting a couple removable eye screws to use string to hold the ceiling up. It’s going to be the size of a fairly large master bedroom. I have never been so excited for my birthday.

    • kelsie

      awesome can i come??

  43. sophia

    i make these things all the time and i just usually get my cousins to do this and add a couple fans and flashlights and put a rug in there and stay in there for as long as my parents say. (about 2 days!)

  44. Moshe H

    This is awesome. I’m building a fort right now and instead of the floating ceiling idea (which rocks) i attached a heavy duty string, which you can get at home depot or walgreens, and attached it to the wall on both sides of the room and draped a blanket over it. it works extremely well and is really cool. also another thing that makes a fort fun is string lights. you can also buy these at walgreens or home depot and you get about fifty lights on a long, long, long string and you can put them all around the outside of the fort. if the roof of your fort is a lightweight, slightly translucent, blanket then they look like stars!

    • kelsie

      i love the floating celing idea its so changilling to make but fun at the same time!

  45. Annabelle

    Have your child create a secret password such as “Bubblegum” “Macaroni” “Soccer Rocks” or the name of a favorite celeberity!

    • kelsie

      thats such a good idea!! thats one way to make it even more creative!

  46. kelsie

    heyy i love this stepby step insturction cing that im blonde. but any way i love building these! and steps make it so much easier!
    thank you!!!

  47. jen

    We made a great sheet fort and ate ice cream and listened to the police radio of the i phone !

  48. Andrewjgray

    what a cool thing to do im a twelve year old and i love to build forts and this is a really cool thing to do thank you for the tips when i have a child i want to do this with them for a good long time. thank you for the tips and guide maybe ill refer to this site in the future. Thank You

  49. Mike Gibson

    I am a RA at my college and I’m putting this on as a program for my freshman students. It was they’re so clearly memories like these last forever and never get too old. Thanks for the steps on how to do it.

  50. Mike Gibson

    I am a RA at my college and I’m putting this on as a program for my freshman students. It was they’re so clearly memories like these last forever and never get too old. Thanks for the steps on how to do it. 🙂

  51. Alyssa

    I love building forts. I am 11 and building one right now. It is so fun. I dont have any friends to come in with me though. I am sick and stayed home from school… all of my friends are at school! It sucks!

  52. Sophia

    What a wonderful idea! I am trying to get my kids to do something other than be in their room so, I tried this and they loved it!! I would say next time to make the steps a little more specific…

  53. Ash

    I am about 23 and me and my husband Travis make forts every weekend we camp out in them watching movies and just bonding 🙂 I just wanted everyone to know your not to old or to young to build a fort!!

  54. Joseph Alfano

    Awesome blog about an awesome topic! When I built my forts I liked to use my mattress whether it be as the floor of the fort or the roof. course I had plenty of mattresses to work with furniture that could hold up. It truely is up to the imagination when building a fort. A fun test to exercise ones creativeness!

  55. Erin

    Thanks for all the detail. Especially love the floating ceiling. I work with children in a counseling agency and the fort will be great for building rapport with new clients and be a fun new thing for my old clients!

  56. Kkrin001

    I think it sucked! Mt forts are so much better. I am making a website of how to build a real fort and pictures. The fort I just built had room for 2 people. My forts have room for at least 15 people. My forts have maximum 7 rooms when this fort has one room. I will also give the steps for building one of mine, then you can compare me and Corey’s forts to see who’s better.

  57. mariana

    im a child and still do this and ur never too old to have fun

  58. nicole

    i love this website

  59. Valerie

    This is great! My sister (9) and I (12) want to make a huge fort. It probably won’t be as extravagant as our last one (Three rooms, pizza, and a TV) but it will hopefully be just as fun! Thanks for the ideas- they’re so cool!

  60. Sophie

    I’m making one right now! And I’m fourteen! Great substitution for camping in the backyard (it’s raining)!

  61. Ashley Elizabeth Preston

    me and my bff (if your old and dont no what bff means it means best friend forever) Amanda and i looked at this site and me and Amanda made a amazing fort thanks dude!!!! *shout out* I LOVE YOU AMANDA JORGENSON!!!!!!

  62. StressedMom

    Mu daughter is 10 and loves building and designing. She wants to be an architect, and practices with forts. Her bedroom is small, with the head of her bed in the middle of a wall, sticking out. Where could a fort go in there?

  63. jojodilll

    could this work for teen that want there first kiss

  64. Mackenzie

    Nice I think we will do this on our next rainey day

  65. Cara Martin

    I LOVE IT! Corey, you’re a genious.

  66. Ashley

    Im 11 years old and i was wondering if im still old enough to make a fort in my room because hurricane sandy is coming

  67. eryn

    My son loves forts, some fun ideas.

  68. Barbara

    This is to die forrr, you’re such a nice lady! Love your comment about the cold beer and pretzels (my guilty pleasure too! xD) – you are such a free spirited mother , I wish you the best.

    – Barbie xo;

    • Violet

      Its a guy Btw.

  69. Soleil

    Me and my sister always love making forts but it never turns out the way we want it. So we took your advice and followed the steps to making a successful fort. It turned out to be the best fort we’ve ever made. It was great and thank you.

  70. layla

    Well I’m soleil’s sister and I just wanted to piggy back on what she said and add that it was the best time we’ve had together in the years, it was awesome.THANK YOU!

  71. soccerlove

    How Fun!!LOVE it

  72. Rose

    Loved the Idea!! This was such a simple an helpful idea. It also provided my family with much needed bonding time.

  73. Hannah

    I’m 13 I’m gonna do this tonight and sleep in it and surprise my parents in the morning when they see a huge blanket fort taking up the entire living room they’ll go ballistic:} muhahahahaha

  74. monique

    i love build tent how do i do that

  75. Beccy

    I have a question how do you stay cool in the fort???

  76. Roxanne - Weekend Getaways

    I had 3 brothers and growing up they used to love creating blanket forts. These really help to develop the creative side of thinking in a child. Thanks for the step-by-step guide.

  77. Google Maps Directions

    Thank you very much for your post, it makes us have more and more discs in our life, So kind for you.I also hope you will make more and more excellent post and let’s more and more talk, thank you very much.

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