How to Make a Canvas Cabin

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Canvas cabins suit a wide range of purposes and have been built and used by recreationists, outdoor enthusiasts and mountain explorers for well over a century. Made with a wood or metal frame, canvas is stretched over the framework and secured to create a stable shelter. Their relative ease of construction makes canvas cabins an attractive option where a large inexpensive shelter is needed.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 wood beams 4 inches by 4 inches by 8 feet long
  • 4 wood beams 4 inches by 4 inches by 10 feet long
  • 8 metal L brackets
  • Box of 3-inch long wood screws
  • Hammer
  • Box roofing nails
  • 4 canvas sheets 8 feet by 10 feet
  • 1 canvas sheet 12 feet by 12 feet
  • 4 metal stakes 1-inch in diameter
  • Shovel
  • Build the canvas cabin framework using the 4 by 4-inch wood beams. Use the 8-foot beams for the corner posts and the 10-foot beams as the roof beams. Lay two of the 8-foot beams on the ground 10 feet apart with the top and bottom ends of each beam in a flush line with each other. Lay one of the 10-foot beams across the top of both 8-foot beams. The ends of the 10-foot beam need to be flush with the exterior sides of the 8-foot beams.

  • Place a metal bracket on each of the two corners where the 8-foot beams meet the 10-foot beam and screw in three wood screws through the bracket into each beam. Flip the attached beams over and attach a metal bracket to the other side of each of the two corners. Repeat these steps with the other wood beams to form a second frame.

  • Stand the two frames on end 10 feet apart. Attach the frames by placing the ends of the two remaining 10-foot beams corner to corner on top of each of the other two 10-foot beams. Screw these roof beams to the other two roof beams using three wood screws for each corner.

  • Attach sheets of canvas to the wood framework using a hammer and roofing nails with rubber washers to prevent leaking. Be sure to use one single piece of canvas for the roof so there are no seams to leak.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use metal stakes driven into the ground to secure each corner post in place. Dig trenches around the exterior bottom edge of the cabin to drain away rain.
  • Make sure framework is stable and secure before attaching canvas.

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