How to Sew a Small Animal Tent for a Rat, Guinea Pig, or Hamster
Make Your Pet a Cozy Tent
I have sewn many accessories for my pet rats, and these tents are one of my favorite. There are several reasons why I love this accessory (and why you should try sewing one):
- First, they are made with two layers of fleece, so they are nice and cozy.
- Second, they are really cute.
- Third, they are fun to make.
- Fourth, your pet will really enjoy them.
Plus, the tent poles can easily be removed so that the tent can be machine washed. Although I have only made these for my pet rat, Koko, I'm sure small animals of all kinds would enjoy them.
- Make a rounded triangular template for the sides of the tent. I made mine 10 inches across the bottom and 9 inches tall in the middle.
- Make a square template. Each side of the square should be as long as the bottom of the rounded triangular template. Mine measured 10 inches by 10 inches.
- Make templates for the tabs that will hold the tent poles in place. The bottom 4 tabs need to be wider than the top ones to allow them to be be folded over on the bottom so that the tent poles don't stick out. The two sizes I chose were 1 1/4 by 2 1/2 inches and 1 3/4 by 2 1/2 inches.
- Trace the rounded triangular template on your fabric 8 times. Four of the pieces will be for the inside, and 4 will be for the outside.
- Trace the square template on your fabric 2 times. One piece will be for the inside, and the other will be for the outside.
- Trace the the smaller tab template 5 times on the fabric and the larger one 4 times.
- Take the 4 larger tabs and fold each of them in half.
- Put a pin in each one.
- Sew along the edge of each one.
- Turn them inside out. Now two sides should be joined, forming a loop.
Pin together the inside and outside pieces of fabric for each of the 4 sides and the bottom of the tent. Pin them with the right sides facing out.
You should now have 4 sides and a bottom that are double layered.
- Trace a circle in the middle of your front piece. The hole will stretch a bit if you are using fleece, so don't make the circle too big.
- Put pins around the edge of the circle before you cut it out.
- Cut out the circle.
- Cut a strip of fabric to make a door trim. Cut the strip a few inches longer than the circumference of the door. The width of the strip depends on how thick you want the trim. I cut mine 1 3/4 inches wide.
- Fold the strip of fabric and pin it around the edge of the circle.
- Leave a small section unpinned at the end so that you have room to start sewing. You want the trim to overlap a bit on the ends so don't cut it too short.
- Sew along the outside edge of the trim. I prefer to hand sew this part, because it ends up much neater.
Its a good idea to lay out the sides before you start sewing, especially if you are using different colored fabrics and want them to be in a certain order.
- Pin the front piece and the bottom piece together with the right sides together. The whole tent will be sewn inside out so that the seams don't show.
- Sew along the edge about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in (whatever you prefer). When unfolded, it should look something like picture 2, above.
- Repeat substeps 1-2 for each of the other 3 sides.
- All the seams should be on the inside.
- (See image #5 above.) This is what it should look like viewed from what will be the outside of the tent.
- (See image #6 above.) This is what it should look like viewed from the inside of the tent.
- Pin together the edges of the sides, with the tabs pinned in place. Place the 4 bigger tabs on the very bottom, 4 of the other tabs about halfway up, and the last tab right at the top.
- Once it's all pinned together, it should look something like picture 2, above. You may want to turn it right side out before sewing to double check that the tabs are in the right place. If you do this, remember to turn it back inside out before sewing.
- Sew along each edge, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in.
- Turn it right side out. Touch up anything by hand if needed.
- I made the tent poles out of bent coat hanger wire, but you could also use some kind of flexible plastic.
- Put the poles through the loops and you're done!
The Finished Tents
Koko Likes Her Tent
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.