Build Your Own Elephant-Sized Fort.

by Davina on December 7, 2012

It’s got to be a super sized fort!

Building a fort brings out the kid in everyone! Every time we build a fort (especially an elephant-sized fort) it stays up for weeks!  There’s something magical about doing every day things in a fort.

The most important aspect of fort-making is creating something that even YOU (the adult) wants to hang out in.  For me, that means making it huge.  That way  I can walk around in it, sit up comfortably in it, and even sleep in there!

We pile our fort with pillows and blankets from all around the house.  We bring in games to play together.  We eat every dinner and breakfast we can in the fort.  The kids sleep every night in the fort…yes, even school nights.

Hanging out with my child(ren) in our fort makes their wildest dreams come true.

And someday…my kids will look back and say, “Remember how we used to build enormous elephant-sized forts and them we ate, slept, and played games in them and left them up forever?  That was awesome!”

Creating a bit of magic around every day things makes life and family a happier, more whimsical, light filled home.  Doing everyday things like eating, sleeping, working on homework….in a FORT…that’s magical. :)

So…how did we build this mega thing?  I’ll tell you.  It’s easier than you think. (don’t let the 12 steps scare you, you can do this!)


Cotton string/twine
Push pins
Light weight sheets
Safety pins
Clamps (we didn’t use these but they would have been nice)
A big piece of furniture or two
Lots of blankets
Lots of pillows
Twinkle lights
A pennant banner (to use as a chandelier)
And being okay with putting push pin holes in your walls

Building time:  2 hours (a second adult is hugely helpful if you’re short like me…if you want to refrain from words your kids don’t want to hear…not that I speak from experience…)


Our steps to building a fort:

NOTE:  Some good prep will save you time and your patience later.  These first two steps are the prep that will help the rest of the fort go up more easily.

  • 1.  We started out with our big armoire that holds our T.V. by opening our armoire doors.  This is our main piece that every other part of the fort is built from. (You don’t  have to use an armoire but something tall, big, and heavy that’s not going to fall over is safest.)
  • 2.  Put something in front of the doors to hold them in place.
  • 3.  Tie cotton twine/string around the metal pointy part of the push pin and then push it into the top of the armoire door.  Do this for each door. Using this starting point build a grid of cotton twine to create a square around the room.  We attached corners of our cotton string grid to our stationary bike (wrapped string around the handles), the wall, and to the hinges of our back door. (It did pop off our door a few times during the month but I just reattached it: see below.)
  • 4.  Fasten a lightweight sheet to the top of the armoire with push pins going along the top of the armoire.
  • 5.  Safety pin the sheet to another sheet and (if you have a ceiling fan or lamp that can take it) attach the sheet to the fan or light fixture with clamps.  I know this sounds crazy (make sure you set your fan so that it won’t turn on!) but we had our fort up and hanging from our fan for a month with no issues.  (This is the way I did it and by no means should you do anything you’re not comfortable with, it’s your house, do what you feel is safest.)
  • 6.  From the fan we safety pinned more sheets together and brought them over the cotton twine grid that we built and push pinned the sheet into the wall above our window.
  • 7.  You’ve now created the foundation for your fort.  Now you just need to add the walls.  We attached sheets with safety pins to our foundation pieces and then draped the sheets over the long sides of the cotton string rectangle grid that we made.
  • 8. Hang twinkle lights along the cotton twine, along your armoire, up to the middle of the fan, and all over the fort where they’ll hang well  (lights add to the magic of your Super Fort.)
  • 9.  Hang a pennant banner from the fan (I just tucked it and used safety pins where needed) so that it’s covered up and it looks like you have an ultra magical chandelier (especially since the twinkle lights are interspersed).
  • 10.  Now add sheets where you think you need them to make walls and doors so that your fort feels more top secret-ish.
  • 11.  Bring all of the pillows and blankets you can find from around the house and fill your fort so that it feels nice and cushy.
  • 12.  Get a bunch of games and play them in your awesome fort.  Eat dinner in there.  Tell stories.  Watch a movie.  Do homework.  Read a book out loud while everyone is nestled in blankets.  Do everything in your fort.  It makes all the little things feel like magic.

Have any questions?  Let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to help you!

Despite a couple of hiccups (and wondering how I could have taken on this crazy idea) the process of building with the kids, having them get so excited as it went up and was so huge, and then all the fun we had in it was worth it x1000!  We’ve already been talking about building another one.

Want to build a fort, just smaller and super easy? Here’s one for you.

You can make your own fort building kit here! Love this!!

Have fun building your secret hideaway…right inside your house…




Davina Fear is a Familyness Adventurer.  You can find her blogging during the day  at creating adventures for families around the world.  By night she builds forts that include twinkle lights.

She loves dates with her husband and the smell of clean laundry.  She especially loves when those two things collide.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica at Me Sew Crazy December 7, 2012 at 11:52 am

That is the cutest thing ever – I love that the whole family can be included.

We have thought about starting a tradition with forts, pizza and movies every Friday night in our house, this would be great in helping us along the way…

Great photos! Thanks for sharing.


Davina December 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Jessica, oh what a great tradition! When you do it it, link here to the pictures, if you put some up on the interwebs. :)


Sumo December 7, 2012 at 11:53 am

My girls would think this is the coolest thing ever! And a perfect not-as-girly thing for my husband to do with our three girls! :)


Davina December 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Boys ( I mean Dads. lol.) love anything that has the word ‘fort’ in it! :) Both my husband and son get into building these forts and then none of us can stay out of them. I’d love to hear what your family thinks when you build your fort!


Destri December 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Oh Davina, what a perfect way to add a little magic to the everyday – and on school nights? You’re the coolest mom on the block I am sure :).
Love the images – that’s the other part, the fort creates the perfect photo op!
Love the bio :)


Davina December 7, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Thanks, Destri! I love school nights, too, because I read to our kids every night. It makes our book feel even more like we’re stepping into a wonderland.

Always love the pictures! (I have a surprise coming up that will give some awesome photo tips to moms, too!)

So excited to be here, Destri (and so glad you love the bio)! :)


Heather at The Sewing Loft December 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm

My girls would love this! Actually, I think I might too. I would be perfect for our family game nights.

Thanks for the inspiration!


Davina December 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm

You’re welcome, Heather. And Oh, yes! Games are somehow funner in a fort. Funner in a fort…Funner in a fort. Now, I’m not going to be able to stop saying that. haha!


Shannon C. December 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm

And I thought OUR forts were big. This is amazing, Davina! I can’t wait to show this to my kids (and husband!).


Davina December 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Shannon, I love that you’re already a fort building family. Yay! :)


Delia December 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Oh my heck this is AMAZING! What a fun mom you are. My kids would die if I did this. I just might have to for New years or something. ;)


Davina December 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Okay. I love that idea. New Year’s in a fort. Is there a better way to start the year? I think not! :)


Cherie December 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Oh my goodness, it looks magical! I love the fabrics and the quilt and the bunting – these pictures are absolutely gorgeous!


Stef December 7, 2012 at 12:41 pm

My girls used to cry when I would leave for mom’s night out – then my husband started building forts and making cookies with them – now they cheer when I’m leaving. If he built an INCREDIBLE fort like this, they might lock me out permanently. I think I’m going to have to be included in the building of an elephant-sized fort – it looks super fun to hang out in and I love the photo opportunity. Thanks, Davina!!! Your pictures are spectacular – what a lucky family!


Davina December 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I love it! Your husband sounds like a fantastic dad (and husband)! So excited for your next fort building experience… :)


Melissa December 7, 2012 at 3:07 pm

So fun – my boys would LOVE this for movie night – may have to pair it with a camping movie.


Caila December 8, 2012 at 3:27 am

What a fun idea! My kids would L.O.V.E. this!


Alida Lee December 9, 2012 at 9:03 am

Oh my gosh! What a great idea. I’m going to pin this and save it for a rainy day when the kids are driving me crazy. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!


Emily December 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm

This looks like so much fun! Off to dig up every sheet I can find and make a huge fort…


Justine December 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Very cool! It reminds me of a nightclub I used to go to that had fabric draped everywhere from the ceiling and big comfy couches. Sort of Moroccan! I always used to get annoyed when my kids did this…….


Ursula-the crafting gypsy December 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm

OMG, I LOVE this idea! I used to love building forts as a kid! And surely my kids love it, too. They usually build them under the kitchen table or in the kids room when I strap the beds … the use all the old bedding before I put it in the laundry.
However, I never really get to play WITH them as the forts are always really small. Such a huge fort! AMAZING!
Now I just have to somehow talk my husband into it. He sometimes just does not GET stuff like that. *lol* Maybe I sell it to him as a New Years Eve activity or something ….

Thanks for this amazing idea! It is going to be SO AWESOME!




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