With a few inexpensive materials, you can create an outdoor room that's just right for tea parties, secret club meetings, or games of hide-and-seek.
You will need:
2 10-foot lengths of 3/4-inch Pex pipe (found in the plumbing section of hardware stores for about $5 each)
16 screw eyes, no. 14 size
Fishing line (25-pound test or stronger)
2 1/2-inch insert couplings (found with the Pex)
3/4-inch split key ring
5 108- by 54-inch plastic tablecloths
1. Measure and mark both Pex pieces at 2-foot intervals. Twist in a screw eye at each mark.
2. Tie a 6-foot length of fishing line to each screw eye.
3. Wrap tape around the ends of the couplings (this will give you a tighter seal). Insert them into the ends of the Pex pieces to form a large circle.
4. Gather the lengths of fishing line in the center of the circle and slip them through the key ring. Hold the gathered lines in one hand, and with the other hand, move the ring up and down the cone of lines to find the center of the hoop and to see that the lines are even. Tie the lines together in a knot, as shown at right. Remove the ring and tie it to the end of the gathered lines.
5. Hang the hoop about five feet from the ground.
6. Unfold a tablecloth, then fold it in half to measure 54 inches square. With the fold at the top, measure and cut two 24-inch-wide sections. (Discard the remaining 6 inches.)
7. Cut 3-inch-wide strips into each section, stopping the cut about an inch from the fold.
8. Repeat the last two steps with the other tablecloths so that you have ten 24-inch-wide sections.
9. Unfold and drape a section between two screw eyes on the hoop, then tie two strips together at either end of the section, as shown at right. Repeat for the other sections.
10. If the hoop isn't hanging evenly, adjust the fishing line lengths by winding them around the screw eyes.
Originally published in the April 2013 issue of FamilyFun magazine.