Native American Teepee Craft

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The teepee was home to Native American tribes in the Great Plains, including the Blackfoot and Sioux.
The teepee was home to Native American tribes in the Great Plains, including the Blackfoot and Sioux.

A conical dwelling made of animal hide and favored by the nomadic tribes of the Great Plains, the Native American teepee was constructed to be easily assembled and dismantled. Known alternately as the tepee, tepe and tipi, the image of the teepee still retains the cultural significance of the tribes which once called them home. Native American teepee crafts can range from basic models to detailed historical replicas for decorative and educational uses.

  1. Design

    • Teepees are of a distinct shape and basic construction. The traditional teepee, when laid flat, resembles a half circle that has a length double its width. In addition, to smoke flaps are placed at the center of the half-circle. Paper, cloth or leather teepee crafts should use this pattern to help create the outline for the model. Using poles arranged in a conical shape, the fabric body of the teepee erected so that the structure was wide at the bottom and narrowing to a peak. The smoke flaps were drawn back from the interlocking poles at the top of the teepee and secured.

    Materials

    • Teepee crafts can use a variety of materials depending on desired detail for the finished product as well as the age of the person completing the craft. For the body of the teepee, materials such as paper bags, regular card-stock paper, rectangular craft foam or fabric such as canvas or leather may be used. When constructing the poles, individuals can use any type of wood stick including twigs found in nature. For edible teepee crafts, sugar cones can be used to provide the necessary shape of the body and toothpick for the poles.

    Decorations

    • Native Americans once painted their teepees with images of mythological significance. Teepees were decorated with images of buffalo, crow, and representations of forces of nature such as lightening. Teepee crafts can replicate these images through painting or drawing similar pictures on the surface of the teepee body. Images should be applied along the lower half of the body so that the image is horizontal when the teepee is assembled. Edible teepee crafts may be decorated with simpler geometrical designs such as zig-zags and dots using decorating icing.

    Types of Crafts

    • Native American teepee crafts have a variety of uses. When performed by children, they offer insight into the lives of the Plains tribes and American history. More detailed models, using leather and genuine Native American designs can become decorative displays for the home. Simple paper and foam crafts can be made into place cards for holidays such as Thanksgiving. Teepee villages made from sugar cones offer an edible alternative that is both decorative and appetizing.

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  • Photo Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images

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