Beach Gazebo Garden Gazebos

DIY: Geodesic Domes For Shelter, Camping And Parties

Beach GazeboInstead of a tent that blows over in a storm, or leaks like a sieve in the rain, or collapses at the slightest hint of snow, build a geodesic dome from inexpensive materials and have a structure that will stand up to anything.

Here are six sites with free plans for geodesic and geometric domes.

Geometrydome.com

This dome requires no special connectors to set up. Instead, tension ropes inside the poles allow this dome to set up and take down in minutes.

Complete plans with pictures are available on the site for free. Instructions are also given for anchoring the dome to the ground in case of wind.

Desert Domes.com

This site offers instructions on how to plan a dome for size and shape and gives plans for domes built with aluminum conduit as well as bamboo.

If you have neighbors that have bamboo privacy fences growing, there's a free resource for materials- offer to help thin the bamboo, take it home and build your dream dome.

Home Dome.com

This dome is made for 2-4 people for comfortable sleeping. That's about the size of an average tent, only most people can stand up in this one.

The pieces required shouldn't cost more than $50-$60 at any DIY store even with the cost of tools included.

Covered with an inexpensive UV-treated tarp, and camping is a breeze. Anchor with regular tent stakes and you're all set.

For a party dome, try this link. This one will take a lift and about a dozen people to put together, but will comfortably hold a party of up to 35 people. Weddings and outdoor parties, anyone?

Newspaper Dome

Here's an ingenious use for old newspapers and getting kids involved. Roll up newspapers, and follow the easy instructions to have children build their own private domes. The structures won't allow the children to climb on them, but covered with a towel or two each child has a "fort, " "reading room, " "private snooze area, " - well, you get the idea.

It's also a great rainy-day project, or to build inexpensive "igloos" for winter indoor camping. That's one way to beat cabin fever.

Play Domes

Have a community play ground and old tires laying around? Gather the community together and build a geometric play dome or two using the old tires to give children a safe and fun place to play.

Cardboard or Wood Dome

Not all domes are made from fabric covered poles. Here are free plans to build a dome from inexpensive (or free) cardboard or from cheap plywood. If using in an area that might experience some rain, paint will help protect the structure, and having an extra rain tarp that covers the structure on all sides anchored to the ground will help as well.

Notes to consider:

Have several coverings on hand to use the same dome as a tent, greenhouse, screen house, gazebo, party room and more.

Make an inexpensive gazebo or shade covering from sheets purchased at garage sales or clearance bins. Attach to the poles with PVC clips, safety pins, ties sewn onto the material, zip ties or other fasteners.

Insulate your dome for use in the fall or winter by using old wool blankets, bubble insulation or by taping sheets of purchased board insulation together. Do not use the pink roll insulation- you don't want to breathe in the fibers.

Make your structure part of your disaster preparedness kit. This allows you to have an instant shelter if you need one. It sometimes takes the authorities time to open shelters, and they do fill quickly. Hotels are expensive, and RV campgrounds that allow tents are far less expensive.

Make a project for the whole family this spring or summer to have fun building your own dome for parties or camping. The kids also get a lesson in math. (You thought you escaped the classroom just because it's summer, didn't you?)

By Tina Gallagher - Professional writer published in national magazines and online. USAF Veteran and Former Paramedic/Firefighter with over 20 years of medical experience including the health insurance industry. Educated at Uni...  

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