How to Make an Indian Tipi
The tipi is a semi-permanent shelter used by American Indians. They were made with buffalo hide and were built using three or four poles. They were also used by non-nomadic tribes. These structures were constructed by the women of the tribe who ran the daily activities of the camp.
A tipi has a smoke hole which was closed by flaps. The floor plan for the tipi was tilted so that the poles crossed at the center of the smoke hole. This allowed the fire to move towards the front of the tent. It also provided a way to extend the smoke hole down the front of the tent.
An eight-inch extension added to the base of the smoke flaps helped weather-proof the tipi during heavy storms. If you want to make your tipi more authentic, you may want to add additional extensions. However, the Sioux seldom added extensions larger than four inches. Adding extensions to the bottom of the canvas will help to keep the cover from stretching as it is stretched over the poles.
For the lining, 15 identical tapered panels are needed. Each panel should be six feet long. You can choose from any lightweight material. Having a liner can transform your tipi from a simple tent into a home.
When you have your lining complete, you can start the actual construction of your tipi. Tipis can be assembled quickly and easily if you have the right skills. Once the poles are in place, you can use them to lashing the tipi to the ground. Make sure that you have enough cord to tie the tipi together. In some cultures, tipis were pulled by horses, but later dogs replaced them.
Before you begin assembling the tipi, you should write down your measurements. Start by marking out the center peg of the poles and measuring out how far they are from each other. Next, mark the outside of each tripod. This will allow you to mark out support points.
After you have marked out the supports, you can start placing the poles. You can use a two-by-two or a wooden board as the frame. Place the pegs with the knob on the top and slightly angled behind the center. Leave a few extra inches to be turned under and sewed to secure them.
Tipi poles are tied together by a clove hitch. You can tie them with string, thread, or yarn. Traditionally, 3/16-inch cord is used. Be sure to use a cord that won’t ravel. To ensure that the cord won’t twist, you can make it a point to sew it over and over.
After you have finished your tipi, you can decorate it. Use images or symbols to decorate the tipi. Some people will paint the tipi with ordinary house paint. Others prefer to put animal skins on the interior.
Whether you are a novice or an experienced tipi builder, the book The Indian Tipi is an authoritative guide to building one. It includes illustrations and color photographs to aid in the process.