Guest Blog by Debbie Woodliffe
Lining up the dining chairs, draping over a big comfy blanket and hunkering own on comfy floor cushions – we all made a blanket den when we were kids, and now is the perfect time to bring them back.
Honestly, snuggling down with your kids in a brilliant and structurally-sound blanket tent sounds like a day well spent (especially if it’s grey and miserable outside).
To help you have the best day constructing and enjoying your blanket forts, we’re going to cover:
- Blanket fort structure advice
- The necessary blanket fort materials
- Blanket fort fasteners
- Things to do in a blanket fort
So, grab your blankets and cushions – it’s time to revive a bit of your childhood…
1. Blanket fort structure advice
Blanket forts are cool. It’s just a fact. They’re cosy, great for hugs and hide you in a cocoon of safety from the rest of the world. However, when the structure is poor, they’re so NOT cool. You’ll spend the entire time worrying that it’s going to collapse or hurt your kids, so it needs a good structure and plenty of stability.
The easiest option for support is to use furniture. Dining tables make a nice small fort if you throw a big blanket over, but for something bigger go with chairs or cabinets as long as they’re not so light they could be pulled over by mistake.
The other choice is to hang your blankets and sheets from things instead of laying them over the top of things. We’re talking curtain rails, doors and bookcases – anything fixed to the wall which won’t fall (this rules out picture frames and lights) and will give you loads of height.
2. The necessary blanket fort materials
Now you have an idea of what you’re going to use structure-wise, it’s time to find all your other materials. You’ll need walls and a roof, something to attach everything and some interior decorations. Here’s a little list:
- Blankets and sheets – the bigger the better
- Cushions for anchoring and comfort against furniture
- Sofa seats or air beds to make the floor comfy
- More blankets or duvets for cuddling inside
- Fairy lights for decoration
- Some cuddly toys, books and other entertainment
Every blanket fort is different, but these basic items are a good starting point.
3. Blanket fort fasteners
Keeping your blanket fort all connected and together might be the hardest part of the whole build. Luckily, there are plenty of household items that double up and brilliant building and connecting ideas.
- Clotheslines are a good one. For example, you can connect one end to your curtain rail and the other around the door at the hinges to create a solid connection which you can hang blankets over. Then just use clothes pegs to keep the blanket or sheet in place.
- Clothes pegs are also useful for connecting two sheets or blankets to create a bigger one, or to create a corner. They’re lightweight and shouldn’t impact the overall structure at all. Safety pins are a great alternative for these.
- If you happen to have some, then curtain clamps or bulldog clips are wide and strong enough to connect sheets to shelves or doors.
- Good old-fashioned duct tape is a good option if you’ve nothing else. It will stick to a lot of things, but not everything. It’s also a bit wasteful, but it’s a good back up if you have nothing else.
- Of course, you could always just anchor the sheets with heavy things, but that runs the risk of them being pulled off and damaged if things get yanked or knocked.
If you collected and gathered all these things, made all your decisions and chosen a room, then you should have the makings of a great blanket fort. Now, it’s time to build! And it’s a fairly simple process.
Just start by working out how big it will be and clearing a space, then create your structure and put any solid fasteners in place ready for the walls. The next bit is attaching and laying over all your sheets and blankets and connecting them.
Our Top Tips:
- Use lighter sheets for the roof
- Don’t stand on your blanket walls in case you yank off the fasteners
- Remove all breakable, expensive and sentimental items before you start
- If you have young babies, be careful of them crawling and ignoring your warnings.
4. Things to do in a blanket fort
Success! Your blanket fort is complete and ready to cocoon you all in cosiness. Here are a few things you can get up to in there with your family:
Reading a book – Honestly, this sounds ideal. You’ll be safe from the world as you create your little bubble of magical lands and stories. Maybe the book can support their schooling, or maybe it’s just their favourite? Either way, take turns and put on all the voices and enjoy yourself.
Watch TV – Now we know you’re only supposed to let your kids have a certain amount of screen time a day, but why not let them spend is nestled in your blanket fort? For starters, if you build the fort just looking at the TV but not including it, they’ll be far enough away from the TV that it won’t hurt their eyes. Furthermore, it’ll be easy to distract them in the fort when their TV time is up.
Fort Picnics – When the outside is all grey and wet, having a picnic indoors can be just as fun. You can make your picnic favourites together, set it out in the fort and have a brilliant tea party including all their soft toys.
To be honest, you don’t need to learn how to make a blanket fort – you’ll more than likely remember all too well how from your childhood, but we home these blanket den tips have helped you create a magnificent one.