DIY Baby Play Gym That Grows with Your Child

When Ideas Magazine asked me if I could make a baby gym that could grow into something else, this clever little frame was born. It will grow with your little ones and entertain them for years to come: from a cute baby gym to a dreamy dress-up closet and colourful play tent.

Remember to get your copy of Ideas Jr filled ideas on decorating your little one’s room with style. It even has creative pages to frame!

ideas jr 2018 magazine cover

Available now!


How complicated: easy

How Long: 2 hours (excluding drying time)


You will need:

For the frame

  • 2x 22mmx44mmx2.4m pine PAR
  • 1x 16mmx1m pine dowel
  • 16mm spade bit
  • Paint in the colour of your choice (we used Harlequin’s Furniture Chalk Paint in Isle of Wight)
  • 2m cotton sash cord
  • 8mm wood drill bit


For the mobile

  • Various extra-large wooden beads
  • Wooden curtain rings
  • Cotton twine


For the shelf

  • 200mmx300mmx16mm laminated pine shelving or plywood
  • 2m cotton sash cord
  • Paint in the colour of your choice (we used Harlequin’s Furniture Chalk Paint in Isle of Wight)


For the cloud mat

  • A piece of 1mx1m solid fabric (we used Home Fabrics Fibreguard Peak in Malachite)
  • Another piece of 1mx1m fabric (the same as the first, or mix things up! For the reverse, we used Home Fabrics Bambino Buddy in Sky)
  • 1mx1m batting


For the tent

  • 74m fabric (includes 20mm seam allowance on all sides – we used Home Fabrics Bambino Buddy in Sky)
  • 7m matching fringing
  • 5m matching cord to tie the edges



Cut the pine battens according to the diagram to form the legs of the frame. Then drill the holes as shown: use the spade bit for the larger holes and the smaller wooden bit for the hole near the bottom. Paint the legs and allow to dry. Then add the dowel and sash cord to create the frame.




Put the dowel in the lower holes of the frame and adjust the sash cord so that the dowel is roughly 80cm from the floor.

To make the cloud mat, lay down the batting and then add the two pieces of fabric on top, with right sides together. Then draw a cloud-shape onto the top fabric using chalk. Pin together all the layers and carefully cut out the shape. Then sew together, leaving around 20cm open to turn the cloud right side out. Close the opening and add top-stitching.

Use the twine and string up some beads and curtain rings. You want to create varying lengths to keep baby engaged! Make sure that you secure the beads very carefully so that they can’t pose a choking hazard. Then tie each string of beads to the dowel.




Adjust the frame by moving the dowel up to the top holes. Shorten the sash cord to accommodate the height of your child.

To make the little shelf, drill holes using the 8mm wooden bit as shown on the diagram. Then paint the edges of the wood and add a fun pattern to the top. We used the end of a small sponge roller to get the polka-dot effect! Once it’s dry, add the sash cord and suspend it from the dowel.




Keep the dowel in the top position, and remove one of the sash cords to create an opening.

Add a roll seam to the four sides of the tent fabric and add the fringing and cord. Put the fabric over the dowel and secure on the ends, threading the cord through the holes at the bottom.

Happy Making!


DIY Teepee Play Tent

This post was first published in March 2014.

I have done so many posts about the virtues of a tent, and I have even made a tent for my nephews before we had kids. But one morning I woke up and decided that today is the day that my kids will have a tent. And we’ll call it The Library {a quiet place for reading – which by now has also doubled as a hiding place, a nap-space and a space-ship}.

Here is a step-by-step tutorial for my DIY Teepee Play Tent.

little play tent

A traditional 5 sided teepee with a bamboo wigwam frame is more difficult to construct {and maintain constructed!} than a 4 sided suspended version, so I opted for the latter.


I used 2.5m of striped fabric, folded in half, to cut the triangles out of. You will end up with 2 big triangles and 4 smaller ones. I used 35cm strips of a different fabric that will make up the lower part of the tent with a 2cm denim trim between the 2.


The big triangles will form the sides. 2 of the small triangles are stitched together along the straight edges to form the back. The remaining 2 will remain separated to create the entrance {pulled back in the drawing above to show the back panel}.


I double-stitched all the seams, both because it makes the seam stronger and also because it creates a nice detail on the outside of the tent.


Just stitch the seam as you normally would, press the seam flat on the right side of the fabric and then make another stitch about 5-10mm from the edge on the right side of the fabric.


I sewed a strip of denim along the vertical straight edges of the “door”. It ties in beautifully with the trim between the 2 main fabrics.


todlers play tent

The lower part of the tent is perfect to tuck under some floor cushions or a mattress.

teepee play tent

I threw in a couple of soft pillows just to make it extra comfortable.


I opted for a pulley-system, secured to a beam through the ceiling board. That way, we can comfortably adjust it for washing or maintenance.

diy teepee

The other end of the rope is secured to the door frame with a brass hook. It’ just high enough so that little hands cannot reach it!

teepee kids play tent

I little blackboard announces it’s intended function – in case it was missed! And of course, very few things in my house happens without bunting!

teepee tent

The kids love it – both their dad and I were invited to the library last night for story-time. It was a bit crowded, but we managed!

Happy playing!

Germarie Signature Featherly