Derek and I have lots of small family members that happen to celebrate birthdays and Christmas and buying presents for all of them every year gets expensive. We thought a fort kit could be a shnazy homemade gift that could finally land us the title of “coolest aunt + uncle ever.” So far, we’ve gifted them to four kiddos and the kits have been well received. I haven’t made one for Mya yet, but she’s tested them out before we’ve gifted them to her cousins.


Ok, it doesn’t initially look that exciting, but our blanket has a secret ingredient: GROMMETS! I have always wanted to use grommets– metal hardware makes anything cooler. Here was the perfect opportunity and the simple addition of these metal rings creates stability, adaptability, and easy assembly. The kits are super portable and inexpensive too! (Ok, I may or may not be way too excited about this.)


(1) Flat Sheet @ $5
Bungee cords, string, clamps, clips, etc. @ $3 (I bought these in bulk and rationed them out to multiple fort kits to save some coin.)
(6) sets of Grommets + Grommet Fastener @ $5 (I had already purchased grommets/ tool at Michaels, but later found that Home Depot has better price.)
(1) Husky document bag (Home Depot) @ $3
(1) Canvas tote (Old Navy) @ $2
(6) 6″ Fabric Squares — use what you have (ie old pants, t-shirts, scrap fabric)
How-to-tie-knot Flashcards

1. Cut (6) 6″ squares of fabric. These squares act as reinforcements for the grommets. (I used sample upholstry fabric, but any medium-weight fabric– like corduroy– would work nicely.)

2. For each flat sheet corner (and in the middle of the two longer sides), fold fabric square in half to create a triangle. Place sheet fabric inbetween fabric square and pin along the three sides to secure fabric square to sheet.

3. Machine sew along the three sides. (I used a zigzag stitch for added durability/ strength.)

4. Once all 6 fabric squares have been sewed to sheet, use a marker to trace a grommet hole in the middle of each triangle. With fabric scissors, cut-out the circle.

5. Use grommet fastener tool (sometimes sold with grommets as a kit, but otherwise purchase separately) and hammer to attach grommets to sheet.

For the Knot Flashcards, I found various online knot tutorials and made the images look somewhat uniform in InDesign. You could just as easily use PowerPoint for this– remember we are big fans of PowerPoint! Or you could just use what we created:

Cards1a Cards2a

So for the bargain price of $18 and one hour of prep/ sewing time, your kiddo can enjoy a lifetime of fort-building enjoyment. (I suppose having a supercool Dad helps the fun-factor.)


All girls loves to accessorize. Our girl accessorizes with fort kits. #proudmama


PS- In college, I created a conceptual children’s discovery center called “inTENTS“, which consisted of multiple tensile fabric sheets. Forts are awesome. That is all.


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  • Reply
    June 23, 2014 at 8:51 AM

    Jackson loves his fort kit!

    I’m thinking “Derek + Ashley” should be a new brand like “Melissa + Doug” (

    You could sell Fort Kits!

    • Reply
      June 23, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      Psht! You are funny. We’ll stick to gifting them for now. 😉 So glad Jack is enjoying his!

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