How to Create a Teepee for a Diorama

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Dioramas are miniature representations of scenes from life. Hobbyists who create dioramas do so with care and precision, with the purpose of creating as close a replica to the real thing as possible. Indian dioramas are particularly popular and fun to create. One feature of the Indian diorama is the teepee, iconic to Native American Plains Indian culture. Making a teepee for your diorama is not so difficult. Here's how you can make a realistic teepee that will give your Native American diorama scene a touch of authenticity.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Legal paper
  • Sticks (about 8" long)
  • Wood glue
  • Tape measure
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Small sewing pins
  • Soft leather
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Gather your materials and assemble the skeleton of your teepee first. Use eight to ten sticks about 7 or 8" each. Use real sticks taken from the woods for a more-realistic look. The sticks don't need to be uniform, so long as they are close in length and circumference. Any discrepancy in size will only add authenticity. Arrange the sticks so the base forms a circle and the sticks slant so they narrow and cross at the top. Secure the sticks together by applying a little wood glue at the juncture and then knotting a small piece of string around them to form a bundle.

  • Measure the teepee around the top (the narrowest portion), the middle, and the base. Use these figures as you draw a teepee pattern on legal-size paper.

  • Place the pattern on a piece of soft leather large enough to cut a 7" teepee skin. The extra inch of length for the sticks is to allow them to protrude from the top of the teepee. Draw a smaller triangle at the bottom center of the teepee. This will be the door flap.

  • Cut the teepee skin from leather and add Native American decorations with acrylic paint. Be creative. Add buffalo, warpaint stripes, a crude sun, and other Native American designs associated with the Plains tribes, such as the Sioux and the Cheyenne.

  • Cut one side of the triangle for the opening to create the flap. Lightly coat the inside of the leather teepee skin with wood glue and wrap it around the framework of sticks. The sticks will protrude about an inch from the top of the leather. Your finished teepee will look and feel authentic.

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