DIY vs Purchasing

DIY vs Purchasing

Have you ever looked at something & thought to yourself: Why does that cost so much or I could probably make that myself & save SO much money! As someone who considers himself very frugal I always do that. Before buying almost anything I like to compare, research, & analyze whatever it is. Courtney would say I am cheap however I would NOT say that I like cheap things. I am willing to spend more for quality & craftsmanship. Over the past 4 years of selling teepees we have received comments such as:
“Why do these costs SO much!”
“Let’s make our own like these!” (tagging a friend)
“I could get these for half the price at XYZ store!”
“I just bought some poles & threw a bed sheet over it.”

I am going to go over what it takes to make one of our teepees. This will also be a great guide if you decide you want to take on a little DIY project. I will tell you what you need to buy, where you can buy it, the pricing of the materials, & all of the work involved.

For this example we are going to make it simple & I'll tell you what it takes to make an All Black & White teepee.

We’ll only need two kinds of fabric for that style. For 20 of the 28 styles currently listed on our website you’d need three fabrics but we want this to be easy. Here’s what materials you’ll need to buy:

4 yards of 48in muslin: 4 X $4 (buy it at your local fabric store, Joanns, or online)
5 yards of 54in Black & White 100% cotton: 5 X $10 (buy it at your local fabric store, Joanns, or online)
Mesh for the window: 1 X $2 (buy this online or buy a mesh laundry bag)
4 solid wooden poles: 4 X $4.75 (buy at Lowes or local hardware store)
2 bolts: 2 X $0.24 (buy at Lowes or local hardware store)
2 nuts: 2 X $0.12 (buy at Lowes or local hardware store)
8 grommets (optional): $5per pack of 8 (buy at a local craft store or Joanns)
4 dowels (optional): 4 X $0.75 (Buy at Lowes, Joanns, local craft or hardware store)

$95.72 for materials

Here are the tools that you will need:

Rotary cutter or scissors
Sewing machine
Surging machine
Grommet press (optional)

We are going to assume you have all of those tools so we won’t factor in that cost.

Then you’ll have to spend your time.

Shopping for materials: 30 min (probably much longer)
Cutting the pattern: 2 hours (our pattern has over 30 pieces)
Ironing, sewing & surging: 5 hours
Cutting, drilling, & sanding the wood: 1 hour
Assembling everything 30 min

Total time: 9 hours & let’s say you value your time at $11per hour which would total out to be $99.00

If you add up the materials & your time it would cost about $195 to make a teepee like ours. Which that does not factor in any of the tools or small items such as needles, thread, drill bit, & sand paper. It also doesn’t factor in gas driving around to shop for the materials. I understand that you could make a much less expensive teepee. You could use low quality pine or pvc pipe for the poles, a piece of string instead of bolts, avoid lining the teepee with muslin & simplify the pattern but I am trying to show what it would take to make a teepee of similar quality & craftsmanship to ours.
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This is soolll true! I made teepees for my daughters 1st Bday and had a different activity in each one. Then people started asking me to make some for them as well and I did… until I didn’t. No way would people pay me enough to make it worth my time. Ended up getting the materials for pretty cheap but holy cow! It was just not worth the time. I am very particular so they got quality for cheap cheap cheap.


This really puts in perspective of what it takes to make a teepee. Very helpful! Thanks!


Hi ?Your work is beautiful I love it !!! I have a silly question have u considered selling the pattern as well, I think they’ll always be ppl who’d love to buy the ones made by you and then they’ll always be ppl whom will wonder off to try to find a pattern … so why not make a few bucks while helping out a diy-er?!


So true! Every. Single. Time. I DIY I end up spending more than I would have had I just purchased it from the beginning.


I truly admire and appreciate this post!!! About two years ago when kids teepees started becoming popular I decided I wanted to
make one myself. I knew there were options to buy premade ones but I wanted to make my own for my baby girl while ok maternity leave for a number of reasons: 1) to learn how to sew (I had never used my sewing machine prior to this project let alone knows about rotary blades and cutting boards or how to thread the machine !! 2) make it custom 3) make it with love and pride of saying i made it myself.

I will first hand validate what you say above is sooo true !!! It was much more costly and effortful than I expected.
Any friends that have asked me to make them one or how to do it since, I’ve referred to just buy one already made !

All the best.


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