Create a Beautiful Reading Canopy in One Afternoon

April 21, 2015, In: creative DIY ideas

This post includes affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Little Green Bow so I can continue to make more project tutorials. 

When we left to travel in the middle of 2014 we sold most of our belongings. It was incredibly freeing and I would do it again in a heartbeat, but now we have a house that needs to feel like a home. As we get settled that means consciously creating the environment that makes us comfortable and fulfilled.

This week, I turned more attention to Eleanor’s playroom. She had very few toys on our travels and those she did have were getting to be too young for her anyway.

Searching through Pinterest for ways to make her playroom more complete – rather than a room to just dump toys – I found some pretty detailed setups. There were decked out forest-scapes, little towns, princess castles and perfectly color-coordinated spaces that deserve a two-page spread in the latest issue of House Beautiful. Who has the time and money for all that?

Scaling back a bit I discovered TeePees are taking over Pinterest and playrooms alike. Well, I guess they have been for a while, but it’s not something you notice until you have a child of your own. And while I LOVE the look of the TeePee, I chose to go a bit more old school. Plus, with so much to do, I just don’t have the time to commit to undertaking a big project right now.

That’s why I decided on a canopy!

How to Make a Reading Canopy in an Afternoon| Little Green Bow

My favorite part was that it was cheap to make and easy to put together. Plus, Eleanor loves it! What more could I ask for? The floor pillow is still a work in progress, but she doesn’t seem to mind. Toddlers are awesome like that.

Here are the materials I picked up at our local Dollar General, Joann’s and Target. I have also included links to similar products on Amazon as it’s been a couple years and items at the dollar store change so quickly. Plus, if you put in the order online today and you can probably make this canopy over the weekend. 

How to Make a Reading Canopy | Supplies List |

Dollar General:



Materials I had on hand:

Total cost of materials: $31.76 + tax

How I assembled the reading canopy:

Step 1: String the curtains together.

I attached the nylon thread to a pen and fished it through the curtains. The first time through was really easy because I held the curtain up, dropped the pen through and let gravity do the work.

In order to strengthen it, I then fished the thread through 3 more times. It got tricky towards the end, but not too bad since the pen made it easy to find the end at all times.

Make a Reading Canopy in a Day|

Once the thread was through, I pulled everything tight and tied it off. This will leave you with a tight ring of curtains and a small hole at the top.

How to Make a Reading Canopy |

Step 2: Wrap the hula hoop.

In order to cover the vibrant hula hoop design, I wrapped it in the satin ribbon. Tape one end to the hula hoop with scotch tape (of use the tape that comes on the ribbon like I did) and then wrap it until you come to the end.

I had to do this step twice as I wrapped it too tight the first time and ran out of ribbon. You want to leave enough to hang the hoop from the ceiling. My cross ribbons are 40” each.

How to Make a Reading Canopy in an Afternoon |

Step 3: Tie the cross ribbons.

You’ll need to tie the cross ribbons across the hula hoop to form an “x”. You will be hanging the canopy from where these ribbons meet so they need to be symmetrical.

How to Make a Reading Canopy |

Step 4: Anchor the ceiling hook.

Next I measured where to put the ceiling hook and secured it using a drywall anchor (because I did not have a stud to secure the hook to). To get this measurement, I placed the hula hoop on the ground and used a tape measure to find the center of the hoop. Since I used a corner, I measured from each of the walls and out diagonally from the corner. You’ll need to drill a hole into the ceiling, hammer in the anchor and then screw in the ceiling hook to secure it.

Step 5: Measure down from the ceiling.

To get this measurement, I draped the sheer curtains over the hula hoop, hung the canopy using the cross ribbons and measured from the bottom of the curtains to the floor.

How to Make a Reading Canopy for Toddlers |

Step 6: Wrap the lights.

I waited to put the lights on in order to know how long the cord needed to be to reach the outlet. Then I just plugged them in and wrapped them around the hula hoop. I tried to keep the spacing consistent and not too tight. (Please forgive me as some of the photos were taken out of order so the lights look like they were on much earlier.)

Step 7: Hang the canopy and adjust.

Almost done! Now it’s time to place the sheer curtains on top if you removed them to do the lights (it’s probably easiest that way). Run the cross ribbons through the middle of the ring at the top of the curtains, hang the canopy from the ceiling using your ribbon, and even out the curtains.

How to Make a Reading Canopy |

How to Make a Reading Canopy |

Step 8: Enjoy!

Step back and marvel at your handiwork. I hope your children enjoy it as much as Eleanor does.

How to Make a Reading Canopy for a Child |

How to Make a Reading Canopy in an Afternoon|

So what do you think? Did I inspire you to make your own canopy? If so, let me know in the comments and please consider sharing this post if you liked it.

    • michelle
    • March 6, 2018

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I was wondering why u didn’t use led lights.
    you work is bueatiful and you explain it so well someone could modify, dress up or down however the want. how many yards of material did u use.

    • Fatima
    • September 16, 2017

    Love it!!!! I’m going to do it for my little baby so she can read her books in there and maybe take her naps……thanks

    • Chel
    • June 26, 2017

    This is EXACTLY what I’m looking for to help decorate my nieces playroom! Thank you for the fantastic tutorial, it’s just what I need! So well explained that even I could do it!

    • Samantha
    • April 25, 2017

    Thank you so much for the easiest tutorial. I have been searching and this is the one i am using.

  1. Pingback: Fun DIY Ideas for Your Child’s Bedroom – Home Trends Magazine

    • Anna
    • June 3, 2016

    LOVE this tutorial. I don’t have a crafty bone in my body, but wanted to use an old sheet to make a canopy for my boys. This is by far one of the most well explained and photographed tutorials. Thank you!

    • Abby
    • April 3, 2016

    I can’t believe no one else has commented on this! Best, cheapest, prettiest and easiest tutorial for this project I’ve ever seen. Thank you so much! I can’t wait to make it. :)

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