Ideas for blanket forts?
September 10, 2012 7:13 AM   Subscribe

I need tips on making the ultimate blanket fort.

What makes an epic indoor blanket fort? Are there useful materials to use other than blankets, chairs, couch cushions, books and safety pins? What are some of your most memorable forts? I've made quite a few blanket forts myself in my day, so they aren't new to me and I'm very familiar with the basics, but I wanted to get opinions on what really makes a fort epic.

I plan to make a very large fort that will take up our entire living room and have multiple entrances. The fort will be used for an intimate birthday, so I'd like there be an area in the center of the fort where people can congregate and eat cake (don't worry, we won't light any candles inside the fort).

Any ideas or stories?
posted by nikkorizz to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I would make something more like a tent than a fort, and use rope hanging from hooks (if you're allowed to do so where you live) in the ceiling to hold up the blankets. That means the structure below won't topple, I'd think.
posted by xingcat at 7:17 AM on September 10, 2012

Air mattresses for lounging would be really nice inside little tent rooms.
posted by zem at 7:21 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

PVC pipes could make good, cheap, structural supports.
posted by royalsong at 7:23 AM on September 10, 2012

Previous and previouser.
posted by Hobo at 7:27 AM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

In college we used welded re-bar, but that is the kind of BS only college student have time for. PVC would be a good substitute, bunk beds allow for multiple stories. Rope rigging is easy and cheap.
posted by French Fry at 7:27 AM on September 10, 2012

I think if you could get an electric train to run from one area of the fort to another to carry things, that would be really cool.

A shadow puppet theatre within the fort.

Hidden treasure.

Cushions with different textures (fake fur, silk, water pillow, memory foam, whatever).

A drawbridge, somehow.
posted by windykites at 7:40 AM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

I keep a box of clothespins handy just for blanket forts. They're more versatile and less destructive than safety pins.

A pet gate can serve as a wall that lets light in.
posted by John Farrier at 7:50 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Use a table to hang blankets from. The best blanket fort my kids ever had was made with our folding dining table with one side down. The rolling door where the chairs were stored allowed an actual kid-sized working doorway.
posted by Michele in California at 7:57 AM on September 10, 2012

Around here we use different sized binder clips to secure sheets and blankets to tables, chairs and PVC pipe structures. We also have a cardboard spaceship that we use as a 'room'.

Have fun!!!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 7:58 AM on September 10, 2012

Instead of airbags, I'd move a mattress off the bed as the base of the fort.

Also a bit of Febreeze on the blankets prior to the party might be a nice touch.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:05 AM on September 10, 2012

You need flashlights, of course! Penlights or other little flashlights would be best, since you want a dim and mysterious aura inside the fort.

Also, don't make any one interior area too big: after all, you don't want the interior to be the equivilent of your living room hung with blankets on the walls, you want something cozier and closed-in. As xingcat says, you want a more tent-like structure: low sloping ceilings, draped walls and loose flaps here and there, including over the entrances. The entrances should be crawl spaces; there could be spaces tall enough to stand in, but not many.

Turn off (at least most of) the room lights; besides handing your guests those flashlights, consider plugging in several nightlights OUTSIDE the fort, to provide additional spots of glowing light through the blankets.
posted by easily confused at 8:05 AM on September 10, 2012

String lanterns would make for warm, intimate lighting.
posted by desjardins at 8:22 AM on September 10, 2012

Flameless candles would be another intimate option.
posted by desjardins at 8:24 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Any sort of message/small parcel delivery system. The model train mentioned above sounds awesome (and a canal/model boat system would be totally magical), but I've always seen it accomplished with clothesline/pulley systems.

Small themed rooms (i.e. a small tv and video game console and seating for a few people) are awesome, both from a cozy to hang out in standpoint and a fun to stumble upon standpoint.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 10:38 AM on September 10, 2012

This is considerably less fancy than many suggestions here, but the best blanket fort I ever made utilized huge (maybe 40"x60" or bigger?) picture boxes left over from a move and a big bay window.
posted by Wretch729 at 12:30 PM on September 10, 2012

I thought this NYT article was sweet, and it has a few construction tips.
posted by teditrix at 5:27 PM on September 10, 2012

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