Who says adventure has to happen outside of the home? Exercise all that pent-up creative energy and build a new view, using materials you already have. If the kids are bored at home, or you’re looking for a new idea for a cozy date-night, the solution just might be in one of your most common household items: sheets.
You’ve used them for Halloween ghost costumes, Greek toga outfits, drop cloths, and projector screens. But our favorite repurposing of bedsheets? Fort-building. Sheets are the ultimate blank canvases, and with them, you can create an entirely different world inside your own room, and with it, hours of entertainment and fun. Trust us: your child—or inner child—will thank you.
We’ve mapped out our favorite way to build the best fort, for all scenarios. Maybe you are tired of your roommates loud zoom meetings and need a little hideout, or maybe you need a fun way to keep the kids entertained while you work. Friday night date night doesn’t have to be cancelled just because we can’t go anywhere, create a romantic getaway for a wine and cheese night in! Also, your dog will thank you. Here’s your step by step to building your dream fort, for any occasion.
Step 1: Gather Materials
For this simple fort-building technique, you’ll need four to eight chairs (depending on your desired fort size,) books, blankets, a few pillows, and a king-size sheet.
Step 2: Arrange Chairs
The backs of your chairs will give your fort the height and stability it needs, making it spacious and safe for kids. Start by arranging your chairs into two rows, with the backs facing each other. Space the rows at least 4 feet apart to create an internal aisle—this will become your enclosed hangout space. Don’t have enough chairs? A sofa, boxes, or a table can sub in for one of the rows and will create a cool asymmetrical “roof” where one side is higher than the other. Plus, if you use a heavier piece of furniture like a sofa, you can use this wall of the fort as a back-rest—and prime snuggle spot.
Step 3: Create your Base
Gather your favorite plush blankets and pillows and create a patchwork of sorts on the floor between your chairs. You’ll want a good number of layers here, so the floor is comfy enough to lie down on. Try building up the sides a bit with extra lumbar pillows and comforters so the inside of your fort feels nest-like. Give everyone their own space to personalize so each kid will have their own favorite nook to hang out in.
Step 4: Cover With Sheet
Drape your sheet over the tops of your chair backs or other furniture used, adjusting so the edges of the sheet reach the floor by the outer chair legs. Consider what color sheet you use to create your mood: white will let more natural light through to the inside, whereas multiple layers of sheets or a darker colored sheet will feel moodier. For something soft and romantic, try blush-colored or lightly patterned sheets that will filter light just the right amount.
Step 5: Secure Edges
Use books or other safe but heavy objects to weigh the sheets down, piling them on top of chair seats or the tops of furniture. Before securing the sheet with heavy objects, make sure to pull each end of the sheet taught over the tops of furniture so the fort’s ceiling doesn’t sag. If you’re using a table or ottoman to prop up one side of the fort and are concerned about heavy books falling off the edge if the sheet is yanked, consider using clothespins. Simply clip the sheet to the lip of the table or a chunk of fabric to secure.
Step 6: Accessorize
No fort is complete without the little touches that give it whimsy. Bring a small lantern or string lights inside to create that feeling of reading with a flashlight under the covers. Hang an air freshener to give the space a unique happy-place scent. Or bring in a revolving disco ball for a private party. Whatever the mood, make it your own, and change it up as you want. Bring in some snacks and drinks and you’ve got yourself a party!
Other ideas for creating a fort:
- Use the lip of an island or kitchen counter to hold up one end of a sheet, weighing the edge down with books. Drape the other edge over barstools pulled out from the counter to create a secret tunnel.
- Have a hallway with a couple of doors on either side? Wrap each end of a large sheet over the top of each door and close to cinch the fabric within the frame. Let the long ends of the sheet cascade to the ground.
- String a clothesline across a room and drape a sheet over it to create an A-frame fort.
- Use carboard boxes to construct castle-like walls for a fort. Bonus: you can cut out windows and doors, and the kids can draw on the outside to make it their own.