Account Cart Search

IKEA releases creative fort diagrams to build with your kids during quarantine - so I built one for myself

Article posted on 5/21/2020

I don’t know about you, but I’m a little stir-crazy at this point.

The days are starting to blend together so much that I can scarcely keep track of what day it even is anymore, which becomes especially difficult during the work week since I’ve lost the routine of leaving my house and getting in my car to drive there every day. One of the cool things I’ve seen come out of this quarantine period, however, are the numerous people and companies who have come up with some pretty creative ideas for fighting the cabin fever.

Recently, IKEA Russia shared some photographs of cool new ways to build blanket forts - and, of course, in true IKEA fashion, they all look a little something like this:

A lot of the articles I saw covering the forts say that “if you have kids, these are great ideas” and that you should do them together as a family. I absolutely agree with this! However, I am a firm believer in the adage “Growing old is required, but growing up is optional,” which leads me to the question: do you really have to have kids to enjoy this idea?

Nope, definitely not.

I admit, I have a few pieces of IKEA furniture in my home, but for the most part I’m still rocking out a lot of the free handouts I got from friends and family when I first bought my house, with a couch and a table or two that I inherited from grandparents thrown in. So, obviously I couldn’t follow the instructions to the letter, but I did my best to stay within the spirit of things while I decided to turn my living room into a nice little gamer’s getaway for me and my cat.

Let me start by ruining the punchline for the piece and telling you what I learned from this process right now:

I suck at building forts.

I tend to visualize things very vividly in my head, but when I actually try to execute (like drawing something, for example), it turns out pretty disastrously. Which explains a lot about why I’m a writer.

I started by loosely attempting to follow the “Castle” diagram provided by IKEA. That went south pretty quickly, and I went rogue almost instantly, cobbling together any little bit I could to just make it work. The general idea behind the design was fine, I just couldn’t execute it efficiently with what I had on hand.

My biggest issue was the blanket drooping in the front. The goal for this fort was for me to be able to see my TV so I could play video games, but with the way it sagged I couldn’t see past the blanket even when I was laying down on the floor. Another issue I tend to have is that when I start thinking about how to solve an issue, I go with the first solution I come up with and tunnel vision on that. Frequently, I end up over-complicating things, and it helps to have someone else to point out, “Hey, you know it’d be easier if you did it this way, right?”

Well, my cat definitely isn’t that person, so I was flying solo on this. 

You can see Miza watching in the background. She does NOT approve of my methods.

I grabbed one of my little 3M hooks and stuck it to the ceiling. My plan was to run a thread down from it, loop the thread through the blanket, and tie it off so it hung just enough above my line of sight. It worked!

For about .5 seconds.

That...did not last long.

I abandoned that idea, shuffled some stuff around some more (incidentally, NOT having clothespins on hand made keeping the blankets in place about 10x harder), and eventually decided that it was good enough, I’d just post a picture of a collapsed fort, giggle about it, and tell you all what a terrible architect I am.

Except, the fort stood. And while it certainly isn’t what I envisioned, I have enough imagination to see past it and enjoy my little “cave” for the weekend. I tried one more time to re-run the thread from the 3M hook, and by giving it a little extra slack, it stayed intact. 

I used my papasan mattress and a beautiful hand-crocheted blanket my friend made me to make things cozy.

The sides felt a little bare, so adding a blanket helped make it feel more enclosed. Again, something that would have been made so much easier if I actually had clothespins handy. My task complete, I excitedly ran off to get some fort essentials.

I also definitely grabbed the chocolate, because duh.

I got some books to read (and some source manuals for D&D 5E to brush up for running some campaigns soon), popcorn, a NERF gun to keep out any intruders (let me just remind you that I'm in quarantine alone), and made sure to charge my controllers. A few extra pillows made things pretty cozy, and when it got dark enough I turned off all the lights for added mood. Miza (my 10 year old Siamese cat) was a little dubious about it, but when I accidentally knocked the blanket down and just decided to put them away, she was quick to claim the newfound "giant catbed" on the floor, so I couldn't clean up completely just yet.  Never move a resting cat, you know!

I moved back into my chair because, as I've discovered, laying on the floor for long periods
of time isn't as comfortable as it was when I was a kid.

What about you - will you build a blanket fort with your kids soon? Heck, forget the kids, build one for yourself and play some video games.

May your building endeavors go much more smoothly than mine. Have an awesome weekend!