Here's How To Make Your Playroom Teepee An Outdoor Playhouse

Time to take this sh*t outside.

Joanna Saltz

I bought my daughter a teepee two years ago when she was three and teepees were all the rage on Pinterest. It was a simpler time: Crate & Kids (then Land of Nod) had the cutest one — styled with a plush campfire and a pop-up Airstream playhouse. This was the stuff gigantic, overstyled playroom dreams were made of.

Black Stripe Teepee, $159, crateandbarrel.com

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Fast-forward to a year later, and it was opened a grand total of three times. For one, it takes up a massive footprint — we have a decent-sized playroom, but you couldn’t move around this thing without knocking it down. And second, my daughter didn’t seem to like being confined indoors: She would literally build a pillow fort before she would take this teepee out.

Petit&Small

So my options were 1) donate it, or 2) figure out some way to make this relevant.

I opted for 2 and came up with an idea: Make it waterproof and move it outdoors. There would be tons of space for this thing to live to its full potential. And since I’m always looking for a way to GET MY KIDS OFF THE IPAD AND GO OUTSIDE, this might be a draw.

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Making a teepee waterproof barely requires direction, but indulge me. I found that Scotchgard makes a Heavy Duty Water Shield, which claims to give the ultimate protection against the elements. You’re apparently supposed to use it on camping tents and jackets when you’re braving Everest, so I assumed I could make it work for a suburban backyard.

Heavy Duty Water Shield 13-Ounce Can
Scotchgard amazon.com $9.98

A 13-oz. can cost about $10, so this whole adventure seemed low-risk. (Note: Scotchgard also makes a which seemed harder to buy — if you want to wait 4 weeks for delivery, you could try this option.)

The instructions on the back of the can are pretty simple: Don’t spray indoors or near anything else you care about. I barely follow directions and I don’t really care about much, but I took the teepee to the driveway because this stuff has an intense smell. Here’s what happened next:

I sprayed the teepee all over. It took less than 2 minutes. And 2 minutes after that, it was dry. And then I put it on the lawn. And now it’s waterproof.

That’s literally it.

My daughter went absolutely ape-sh*t over it. It now has a lovely spot in our backyard next to her mini picnic table, and she spent literally two hours hosting an outdoor luncheon. That afternoon, the skies opened and rained holy hell down on this teepee and the water beaded and rolled right to the ground. Like magic.

Joanna Saltz

I’m kicking myself for not thinking of this sooner, and eyeing everything else in my house that might work better outdoors. Couch? Bed? TV? Nothing's off-limits.

Merry Garden Kids Wooden Picnic Bench, $56, amazon.com

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