If only I could be hired for my ideas… I have TONS of ideas of things to do, make, or create… but rarely enough time, talent, or money to follow through on things!
One idea I’ve been kicking around for YEARS, was to have painted tipis around Ten Sleep. Some cities have painted bears, or buffalo, or cowboy boots, or some other iconic symbol. Have you ever heard of the Trail of the Painted Ponies?
Anyway… I figured ten tipis in Ten Sleep would be perfect… (one at the library, some with businesses, some at the park or on the outskirts of town…), so I started researching fiberglass figurines… I even called one company to see what making a custom design would cost. Well, too much!
OK. Can I figure out how to do it myself???
Fiberglass is out of my league… what about concrete???
Wow, they have concrete FABRIC!!!!
I was excited again, until I couldn’t find any for sale.
With further research on YouTube, many people have used fabric to mold concrete. I hemmed and hawed and decided what the heck! I’m going to experiment on my own. People tell me it won’t work, and it may not, but, at least I will have tried.
I decided to make a small tipi as a playhouse for my grandkids, which may end up being an expensive dog house! Unlike the ones I had planned for the town, this one you will be able to go into and sit, at least if you’re a child.
I wanted to do this with a minimum of sewing, so I bought a painter’s canvas dropcloth. It’s 9′ x 12′. (It’s folded in half in this pic)
Next I had to pull out my Laubin tipi book (affiliate link) and figure out dimensions. Most people think tipis are cones. NO. I made mine Cheyenne style, and, yes, different tribes had different styles.
I decided on using oilfield pipe for my tipi poles, wooden ones would be too weak to hold up concrete. Luckily, I live on a ranch with plenty of junk piles!
My first “is this gonna work?” experiment was tonight.
(It needs pins to hold it together… and maybe two more ‘poles’, but it’s just the first trial!)
I’m a long way from completion… I haven’t even bought my cement yet! But the plan is to weld the pipes in place, soak the canvas tipi in a cement solution, set it up, then follow with dyed tan cement mix on top.
I’ll paint it the way my dad painted his, and I’ve painted mine over the years… sky blue on top and buffalo by the door. My dad and mom made us kids a “play tipi” – almost full sized – long, long ago… I figured, why not?????
Yes, this is little ol’ me, playing in front of our tipi!
I’ve written other posts about tipis, if you’re interested, find them here and here and here!