Changing Cabana πŸ“Œ DIY

I am working my way toward a recap of our end-of-school splash party last week, really I am. But in the meantime I thought I’d share a super easy DIY for a backyard changing cabana.

cabanacoverFirst off, I want to acknowledge that my photography skills in this particular post are as bad as ever. I took these photos amid the sweaty frenzy that was the actual morning of the party, as I was ripping around the yard attempting to prepare for the onslaught of 35+ 7- to 9-year-olds. White balance, shmite balance. (But I did learn a number of things in a photography workshop this past weekend, including what the aforementioned white balance is and how to manipulate it, so hopefully my photos will soon begin to improve.)

Back to business: last time we had this party (two years ago; last year’s party was cancelled due to late-onset strep) I wanted to arrange an outdoor changing area in an effort to keep wet kids out of my house. Wet kids = wipeouts on the tile, plus mess, neither a party plus. In my typical fashion, my first attempt at a changing cabana was vastly more complicated than necessary: I borrowed one of those pop-up shelters that weigh 500 lbs from a friend and draped it with shower curtains using a million billion safety pins. Heavy, dark, and hot. And pokey.

Fast forward to 2013. I told Mr. Little Mama I wanted to rethink the cabana arrangement, and he suggested PVC pipe. I know a lot more about PVC pipe in 2013 than I did in 2011, so this sounded great to me. The next day, Mr. LM came home from his weekend driveabout and set up this in the backyard:

cabana1Look! A cube! What you are looking at is 12 5′ lengths of PVC pipe connected at 8 corners with PVC Y-joints. Done.

Not a day or two later, I stumbled upon this in my Bloglovin’ feed:

via Simple Simon

Oh, way too cute. Also way more permanent/special/sophisticated than I had in mind, but if you are looking for something to keep in the backyard year-round I’d suggest heading over to Simple SimonΒ and checking out the details. Actually, you should just head over there anyway because they have some incredibly fabulous inspiration and guidance to check out, especially in the sewing department.

Back to me and my no-sew super rudimentary cabana geared for wild childs. So at first we had the cabana set up near the gate through which our guests would enter. I quickly realized that as the cabana was not going to have a top, any child on the top of the play structure could play peeping tom on any other child in a state of undress, and that’s not nice. So we hauled the cube to the other end of the yard.

cabana2Next, I quickly hung it with the shower curtains I had bought two years ago using several packs of clear shower curtains bought for about $1.50 each at Target this year. I think I ended up using six shower curtains and not quite six packs of rings. You could easily get cheaper curtains but I wanted washable decent looking ones that I might get away with using as square tablecloths for another occasion.

Instead of hanging one curtain per side, I hung them going around the corners and overlapping near the middle of the bars on each side.

cabana3This eliminated any need to fasten the curtains together at the corners and nicely preserved modesty in the middles. I used a large safety pin halfway down the curtains where they overlapped to eliminate the Marilyn Monroe effect as we had a bit of a breeze.

On the “door” side, I put a yellow curtain right in the middle so that the intended entrances would be differentiated from the white sides, and we’d have more “gather” for preservation of privacy. Then I ran one curtain right across the middle of the cube to make boys’ and girls’ sections. The curtain was easily doubled onto the shower rings on one end.

cabana4On the other side, I attached two curtain rings together to make an “extendo ring” and pull the divider curtain taut.

cabana5High tech, right? Yeah, I know. High five.

While the side panels only got two-hole overlaps, the front door sides got three. Meaning, where the panels joined on the sides I would line up the curtains and make the two end holes of one panel overlap and share two rings with the next panel’s two end holes; on the front side I made them share three. Just to eliminate gap. Does this make sense?

When all was said and done I pinned cute little “boys” and “girls” signs onto each side of the tent. (More on the printables later.)


I tried to take a really cute picture of the end result but it came out all blurry. Dammit! Something to work on.

100_0886Anyway, there you have it. Super simple no-sew no-tools DIY changing cabana. Nicely breaks down into a pile of folded shower curtains, a baggie of rings, and a punch of PVC pipe zip-tied together. Done and done!

beautiful day




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One Response to Changing Cabana πŸ“Œ DIY

  1. Karen says:

    Love it! Very creative, and I like that you can repurpose everything for other situations.

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