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Stay Cool: DIY Beach Tent Ideas

Enjoying a fun day by the water is even more relaxing when you have a net space set up as your home base for the day. Are you ready to create a cool, calming spot where everyone can hang out? Learn how to make a beach tent! All you’ll need are a few easy-to-find supplies and an adventurous spirit to create your own DIY beach tent this summer. Shade your family from the sun’s warm afternoon rays with Pottery Barn Kids' six beach sun shade ideas.


Go Bohemian

Pack your beach bag with a big bed sheet and ribbons or string to create a DIY bohemian beach tent. Stake out your place on the sand with some sturdy branches you’ve collected from nearby. Form two tripods of three branches each, then tie the tops together with your string. Lay one additional branch across the two tripods, then secure it with additional string. Lay your sheet across the top of your structure, with the top hanging just over the horizontal branch and the full back stretching down to the sand as an airy sun shield.

Build with Bikes

On a beautiful day when a bike ride leads to an impromptu trip to the beach, use what you have with you to create a shade from the afternoon sun. Flip two bikes onto their handlebars and weave a light sheet, baby blanket, or even a lightweight jacket between the tires for a quick DIY cabana. Make sure the bike handles are sunk a little into the sand to hold weight, or use a branch or two that you find near the shore for some extra stability.

Use Your Noodle

Pool noodles aren’t just for floating (or pools!). Grab a few and a roll of duct tape to take along for your next trip to the beach and make it a fun family engineering project. You can approach this one in a few ways – build a square base using four noodles and then build upwards in a house shape, or try a pyramid, with a triangle-shaped three-noodle base and one noodle extending upward from each corner to meet in the middle. You’ll be able to drape a lightweight sheet over the top of either structure to add weight, or use camp tent anchors to hold your creation down. A heavier-weight beach towel is easy to drape over the base noodles for extra stability and comfort on the ground.

Make Mini Tents

Give everyone in the family their own special retreat with a mini no-sew tent. Built from simple wood planks and dowels, this tent can fold easily for travel to and from the beach – and you and the kids can reuse it both indoors and outdoors. To create these simple cabanas, drill a 3/4" hole about 6" from the end of a 1"x1.5"x48" piece of wood. Make a similar hole on the other end about 1.5” from the side. Repeat this step for three additional pieces of wood – each tent will require four. Then, place three 48" long 3/4" dowels through the holes to create an A-shaped frame. Drape an easy-to-wash bed sheet over the top, or sew a length of outdoor fabric to create a more permanent tent. Place beach toys underneath for shaded play.

Camp Out

In a pinch, a camping tent works well on the beach for shelter from the sun with just a few modifications to increase the airflow inside. Pitch your tent on a level bed of sand, and then roll up the windows and doors to allow air to pass through. The sun will warm darker-colored tents quickly, so try to position the tent so that air can flow freely through the structure. Add an extra clip-on beach fan to maximize the breeze. Store coolers and totes inside the tent to keep their contents chilled.

Modify a Bedsheet

This simple DIY beach tent is ideal for lazy days at the shore. Reinforce the corners of a large bedsheet with duct tape, or if you’re handy with a sewing machine, sew a grommet into each. On each reinforced corner, tie a 4' length of nylon cord to the sheet, and then attach the other end to a camping tent anchor. Build a simple U-shaped structure from PVC piping that you can easily detach for travel to and from the beach. When you’ve staked your place on the sand, bury the ends of the PVC piping deep into the sand and stretch the sheet over the top. Anchor the sheet with the attached anchors and ensure that it’s stable before placing beach towels underneath to enjoy your newly created shade.