Monday, October 10, 2011

Our Yurtle Got a Face Lift

That's right. Our yurt, which I've been calling "Yurtle", has been undergoing some cosmetic enhancements. You may, or may not, remember the post about building it here.

I've been wanting to paint the white camo top since we finished it. I'd been planning to paint it to resemble a blue turtle shell like those found in the illustrations of Dr. Seuss's "Yertle the Turtle" children's books. However, I was out voted by our family (mainly the daughter) who all wanted a giant mushroom, instead. Oh well, I can be flexible. So, we went with inspiration from the Super Mario video games and painted a red/white pattern loosely based on the Amanita Muscaria.

We also painted the frame red to match, which really livened up the inside. This is actually pretty traditional. We see quite a few yurts online with the red frame.

Additionally, we now have nice wall-to-wall carpet over our tarp floor, when an aunt decided to rip out her carpet to put in hard floors. Score! Then, by pure fortune, I found an awesome bargain on a lovely 10 yard black/gold piece of upholstery fabric for $5! Double SCORE!! :) It is now the inner lining wall. It's getting to be quite a load to hall in our Jeep with all the fabric and such, but I love it. It was wonderful to sleep in this past weekend.

I had stuck little round stickers all over the white patterns in the camo print on top before priming the whole thing in black. Then, I painted the white and red over it. This helped to eliminate the camo print glowing through when we light the inside of the yurt. It turned out really cool. When inside in the daylight the dots light up like white and red stars. And, the outside at night faintly shows the dot stars when the lantern inside is on.

Now, I just need a pretty lamp to hang, instead of the propane Coleman eye sore. I'll also be attempting some mattresses made from the aunt's carpet padding. :) I used some of the padding to make the cushions ontop of the milk crates stools in the second pic above. I'll be covering those with some of the sixty upolstry fabric samples I acquired from another thrift store for another $5. They are beautiful! Should look really cool in the yurt, too. And the crate stools double as containers for our gear.

Can't wait to go camping again here in a couple weeks at TRF. Hope to have the mattresses ready by then. Until next time, happy crafting!


Crafterella said...

WOW, I have absolutely NO desire to go camping EVER, but I would if I could stay in you yurt! It looks so awesome, I but you get tons of compliments.

mieljolie said...

Hahaha! If we ever make a second one, you're welcome to come camp with us in it. :) It's a whole different experience than the tents. More homey and substantial feeling. I love that it stays fairly cool inside in the day and warm at night. We just need plumbing, and it would be perfect. ;)


Unknown said...

Your yurt is fantastic Mieljolie! That is a truly beautiful and luxurious little camping abode. I just love the star effect on the ceiling. The fact that you've made the whole thing blows my mind too. You guys are just brilliant. Wow!!!

mieljolie said...

Thanks, Michele.

It truly makes our camping experience that much better. And, it does give great satisfaction knowing we did it ourselves.


Anonymous said...

That's awesome! Where did you find the plans for it? This one looks easier to build, yet just as sturdy as other designs I've seen. I'd love to have one for camping, but I'm looking for a less complicated (and cheaper) design.

mieljolie said...

Hello, Anon. My sweety graduated with an architecture degree. So, he simplified the typical traditional designs to this. He could probably draw up some plans for it if you need it. Ours is about a 12 diameter. To save money, he split larger wood down to make the pieces. A steel cable secures the walls before the roof members are added. He used nuts/bolts to secure the criss-crossed pieces. To save even more you could use twine as done in traditional yurts. The fabric will probably be most of the expense. We found our canvas in a clearance bin of a wholesale fabric dealer.

Good luck, if you build one. I'd love to hear about your experience. If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to help.


PrincessinAZ76 said...


It sounds like you have a talented sweety!! That makes two of you! I love your craftwork! Its nice to see people with similar hobbies. There are so few people I run across that craft!

As for the plans, I'd love some plans, if he's willing. I've been wanting one for years, and I've probably watched a hundred videos on building. The only thing I'm unsure of is the ceiling. I've contemplated an open center (with plexi glass) to let light in. But your plan would work well too. I'd probably put a clear shower curtain over the top to make it rain proof yet still bright! Have you had any issues with rain yet?

I'm crafty enough to sew the canvas. We're overseas right now, so I'm sewing with a little basic 220v Singer. Its functional, but I'm not sure if it's strong enough. When we get back into the states next year, I can use my Elna, which sews through multiple layers of denim, so I'm sure it'll work! Just have to decide how quickly I want a yurt!!! :-)

Keep crafting! You're an inspiration to keep me on task!

Princess... (Anonymous)

mieljolie said...

Hello, again, Princess! Sorry for the delay in responding. Coincidentally, we've been out camping in the yurt and just now getting everything unpacked and back to normal from our outing that wore me out. :)

A see though top sounds interesting! But, perhaps it might make the yurt a bit humid like a greenhouse inside. We have a bit of light around the top of ours from the opening in the canvas roof being larger than the cap on ours which helps a great deal with ventilation. We've got a smaller second covering that lays over the top hole for rain and trapping heat in. Until now, we've only been doing colder weather camping (20's-70's). But, after this last excursion in the hotter months (in the 90's), I'm considering making a second net layer for the top to keep out flying insects, so we can keep the vent uncovered throughout the warm nights. But I gotta say, it was so much more comfortable them the tent saunas around us. :)

I'll get the plans from him for the frame and round up the illustration I worked out for the cover. I used a heavy duty vintage home machine that did a lovely job. They just don't make machines like they used to. The Japanese models from the 60-70's are the best. However, not quite sure our more delicate Japanese one would even take the abuse with it's smaller motor. :)

The most difficult part is feeding that much fabric into the machine. I rolled it as best I could to fit it between the machine and needle for flat felding. It barely made it through. And, I suggest sewing on the floor to keep it as flat as possible and prevent the fabric from pulling the machine off the table.

Now off to gather up the plans!



mieljolie said...

Hey, Princess! Got a file for the pattern of the roof cover. Still workin' on the man to get the plans for the frame.

Basically, for the roof fabric, you can use the shape created by the roof members to plan the slope of the cover. We have about a 2-3 ft diameter hole at the top of our cover for ventilation, which is then covered by a oversized cap to trap in heat at night. The layout is here.

PrincessinAZ76 said...

You're fabulous! Thank you! That doesn't look too hard. I'm sure I'll have to build the yurt before I can complete the cover, but I'm so glad to get a visual. I like your idea of a net. Mosquitos love me and my son, so I'm sure that will be a necessity for us. I might make one for the door too. Do you have enough light inside? Have you considered windows? Or am I thinking too much? LOL! Hubby definitely doesn't want to use tarps, even after explaining we could paint, so I guess I'll have to shop around for some good, water resistant, cheap canvas... If there is such a thing!!

mieljolie said...

You're welcome, Princess. Good luck with the yurt project! I'll let you know how our netting addition goes.

Our yurt is MUCH darker now that we painted the roof and added the black lining fabric to the walls. During the day isn't too bad. But, I'm still considering making some water bottle solar light I saw online somewhere (here's a link) to make it brighter. We use a propane lantern at night that provides ample light.

PrincessinAZ76 said...

Another awesome idea! That should make it much brighter, and its a simple and probably free solution. I've seen people use bottles to light up chicken coups, though I cant say I would have thought about it for a yurt. Nice! :-)

mieljolie said...

Yeah, I'm hoping the solar bulb will give me just the amount of light I need to dress in there. Hope the sun is high enough to give good light. We'll see. :)

PrincessinAZ76 said...

Did you ever try the solar bulb in your yurt?? I'm curious as to how well it worked!! :-)

mieljolie said...

Not yet. We'll hopefully be trying them when we go camping this next weekend. I'm excited to see how well they work! I'll keep you posted. :)


mieljolie said...

Finally tried the solar water bottle lights! Worked great! Failed to take pics, but I'll try to post about them later. On a sunny day, they add quite a bit of light inside. Beats having to use the propane in the morning getting dressed.

I cut up the cardboard packaging bottom from the case of 16.9 oz. water bottles to make holders for the bottles. Just cut a small hole with slits all around in a large strip and pushed the bottles in. Then, just placed them up between the roof members of the yurt so the pointy drinking end stuck out where the vent hole is.

Another great idea we discovered was placing those small solar garden lights under a large 3 qt. plastic water container. We put these by the door in the evening and we didn't have to worry about tripping or finding our way back to the yurt in the dark. Placing it under the bottle increased the lights brightness dramatically.