Blanket forts 101

The blanket fort is the ultimate symbol of childhood and youth. But these forts are just as fun for adults to make, too – and if you build a really good one, you’ll definitely be Baby‘s hero! Here are some of the things you’ll likely need to build your fort, and how to build the three most common types of forts, in case your fort-building skills have gotten a little rusty since you were Baby‘s age.

Fort essentials

There are a few items that you’ll need to put your and Baby‘s fort together. There are also a few things that aren’t totally necessary for fort-building, but they could enhance the fort experience.

  • You will definitely need: Blankets, pillows, cushions from a couch or chair, at least one very large and non-tippable piece of furniture (like a bed or couch), clothespins, and a few sheets.
  • Not necessary, but helpful: A flashlight, snacks, a fan to keep the inside of the fort cool, and a handmade sign to mark the entrance of the fort.

The common fort

To make your basic blanket fort, you’ll want to scope out a fairly large space near heavy furniture or a door jamb. Both of these can be good anchor points for the fort. Take a corner of the sheet or blanket and tie or clothespin over the highest point in the room, like the top door hinge, a hook in the ceiling, or a secure curtain rod. Spread out the blanket or sheet as wide as you can across the room, and then drape it over another piece of furniture. You can attach more sheets and blankets using clothespins, depending on how big you want the fort to be.

Once you’ve finished securing the blankets or sheets to stable objects around the room, it’s time to work on the walls. Baby can help you fill in gaps in the walls with pillows or extra blankets. 
When the structural work is out of the way, lay a cozy blanket out under the table and have Baby help decorate the inside of the fort.

The couch-cushion fort

All this fort requires is couch cushions, chairs, and a few sheets or blankets. One by one, arrange the couch cushions in a circle, standing them on their sides as though like you are stacking dominos side-by-side in a circle. Include some chairs for stability. Carefully drape blankets across the cushions and chairs so that they create a flat ceiling, and make sure there’s at least one entrance for you and Baby to crawl in and out.

The table fort

This one’s also pretty simple: drape a sheet over a table, and then clothespin smaller sheets or blankets to the sides to form walls. If you want to extend the fort on either side of a large table, push chairs closer to the table with their seats facing outward. Drape the side sheets over them, clip in place, and you’ve got a table fort! Ironing boards work, too, although they’re a little less study and should be reinforced by chairs.

The string fort

The string fort is definitely for the intermediate fort-builder. Tie one end of the string to the highest door hinge on one side of the room. Tie the other end to something lower, farther away in the room; maybe another door hinge, a doorknob, a hook on the wall, or a window knob or handle.

Drape a sheet over the string so that it resembles a tent, and then clothespin the ends of the sheet to chairs to make the sides as wide or as thin as you want. Voila! Time to decorate and hang out inside. One thing to note about string tents: you’ll want to keep the string away from Baby, because it can be a choking hazard.

Some safety tips

Make sure that you avoid using lamps, bookshelves, or other objects that could fall on anyone in the fort. It’s also important not to stack things on each other when constructing the fort, because these could topple and hurt someone. Lastly, don’t use potted plants at all in your fort-building, because if they spill, you’ll have a huge mess on your hands.

Home inside a home

Probably the best thing about building blanket forts with Baby is that there’s no pressure to make a perfect one. Anything goes, as long as you and Baby have a good time together.

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