DIYdiy projects

diy project: justina’s valentine’s day fort

by Kate Pruitt

There are so many different ways to express feelings of love on Valentine’s Day: some are sweet and sentimental, others are bold and celebratory. For kicks, I’m thinking I might want to surprise my loved one with an amazing and decadent love fort, like this one from designer Justina Blakeney.

Justina is the woman behind the LA-based design and consulting firm Compai Creative. She always shows a fearless use of color and has an amazing talent for mixing print and pattern to produce sophisticated, eclectic designs. You can read more about the making of this project from Justina after the jump, and be sure to check out Justina’s Before & After projects, as well. Thanks for sharing, Justina! — Kate

Styling by Justina Blakeney and Caitlin Levin. Photography by Carla Richmond.

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

In my family, building indoor forts was a weekly enterprise. Once constructed (usually after robbing every bed in the house of all sheets and blankets), we ate snacks, played games, told stories and eventually fell asleep all tucked inside. We thought a fun way to bring back a bit of magic this Valentine’s Day would be to build a (slightly more) sophisticated fort for your loved one. Can you imagine the delight of coming home to find that your amour had constructed an enchanting tent for the two of you to eat, drink, play and tell stories for the night? — Justina


  • about 5 sheets, sarongs and/or large pieces of fabric
  • a few blankets
  • one pole (we used an old shower rod, but a broom stick would do); size will vary based on how large/small you’d like the fort to be
  • 4 screw hooks
  • 1 spool of twine
  • 4 large safety pins
  • 1 newspaper
  • pom-poms
  • fishing line
  • lots of pillows
  • tape measure
  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • needle


For the Fort:
1. Measure the length of the pole. Decide where you’d like to build the fort, and screw two screw-hooks into the ceiling the same distance apart as the two ends of the pole.

2. Cut two, 3-foot long pieces of twine. Tie each piece of twine onto either end of the pole, and tie the other ends of the twine onto the screw hooks.

3. Start with the heaviest sheet, and begin to layer the sheets and fabrics over the pole. that will help maintain a more tent-like shape at the end. Once all the sheets are on the pole, measure about 2-feet down from the pole in front, and hook one safety pin through all of the sheets. Do the same on the parallel side.

4. Cut two pieces of twine about 3-feet long and tie one piece to each of the two safety pins. Screw the remaining two hooks into the ceiling about 2 feet from the pole on either side. (Actual distances will vary depending on how large you make the fort.)

5. Tie the two pieces of twine that are attached to the safety pins onto the two empty screw hooks in the ceiling.

6. Fill the inside will pillows and blankets for extra coziness; add chocolates, champagne and whatever else you fancy!

For the Newspaper Heart Garland:
1. Fold newspaper in half and cut out a half-heart shape from the fold.

2. Keep the hearts folded and punch one hole into the center of the folded heart so that once the heart is open, there are two holes.

3. Weave the twine through the holes in the paper hearts to complete the garland.

For the Pom-Pom Garland:
1. Thread your needle with the fishing line.

2. Thread the pom-poms onto the line, but be careful not to table the wire.


Suggested For You


  • That is way too cool. My daughter is always trying to construct little private places in her room and this looks like something we could easily pull off. Thanks for sharing!

  • This is great! (and not limited to Valentine’s Day methinks!! Looks like the perfect place for alone time and snuggling up with a good book!!)

  • This reminds me my childhood, always trying to make little houses, behind the sofá, in the grandfathers garden…I think this is very nice way to surprise our loves. Thanks for share!

  • This is a wonderful Idea. I love forts and what’s a better excuse to make one than to love someone with one.

    I love all the patterns you included in the example. It looks so exotic.

    Very romantic and low budget also!

    thanks much


  • This is absolutely Gorgeous!!! My daughter would love love love this to do for her brand new fiance!! I gotta show her this …I will then jump back cause I know shes gonna SCREAM!! LOL and trust me…that girl can scream!! LOL Thanks so much for sharing this it is amazing!! One little note I wanted to share though…best be really careful there….if things got a little frisky…that fireplace looks a little close to that material hanging! Dont wanna heat things up in a “bad”way!!…. Im just sayin,…LOL
    Hugs from Ky~

  • I absolutely love it! I was laid off very recently and was starting to panic trying to think of something inexpensive to do for Valentine’s Day. This will be more way more fun than booking a dinner at a crowded restaurant!

  • love this idea..good family event…and can be done economically, too..like that it’s not the usual “go out and buy a store bought gift” routine…this is more creative and fun…and it creates memories..most people don’t remember what you gave them as a gift, but they do remember fun times together….

  • Awww. I want to make this so bad! Unfortunately, I have like 25ft ceilings that I could not even begin to reach without investing in a $300 ladder:(
    I do love my ceilings though.

  • I’m a huge fan of “show your love” not “break out your credit card” presents. It probably comes from when I was little and the only presents my mother liked from us kids were hand made. She didn’t even try to fake it with the bought stuff. Anyway, other presents that work, are silhouettes made from you or your kids, mac’s garage band makes it easy to record a love song (that you write and sing), shadow boxes of a private joke, special day, etc. Ah love – it’s so inspiring.

  • LOVE this!!! i don’t have any way to suspend anything in my living room but I do have a painters ladder & a few stools to aid in the construction! i never watch movies but i think this calls for a movie night with homemade pizza & popcorn!

    This is so adorable, we have a pink gingham tent from land of nod for our girls… This would be amazing to set it up as a surprise for valentines day. I love how you took it to a whole new level and mixed all the patterns.

  • oh my god if d*s posts one more cutesy valentine’s day post I am probably going to lose my mind. two more weeks of this?

    • emma

      only one more week- hang in there ;) we got a TON of requests for Vday ideas so we’re doing our best to get some fun ideas out there for those interested.


  • Very cool but not too practical for an apartment. I would get in so much trouble for putting holes (or leaving hooks) in the ceiling.

  • I love this! Can I blow off work and come over and hang in the fort?! I can envision a palm & card reading party in there too! So fun. I am ready to crawl in there with a book right now teehee ;-)

  • please disregard the other comment i had copied and pasted the wrong thing to say!!…but anyway i love this idea! and i would never take this down, it looks like it belongs in the room <333


  • wowowowow! First off thanks so much to the whole D*S team for posting our little project and doing such a sweet job with the layout and write-up. Second, thanks to all of you for all your truly heart-warming comments. Speaking of *warming* to those of you who were worried about it being close to the fire, it’s a bit hard to tell with the camera angle, but the fire is a good 4 feet from the fort. xx

  • Uhm, adorable!!!
    Unrelated question:
    where is the pinata/woman from in the third to last picture?
    and can we get sources for the last picture?

  • To Elizabeth: The doll is a Mexican paper mache doll that belongs to the other Stylist (Caitlin Levin), as for the last photo, I got the pillows in Turkey, but they can be found pretty easily at Turkish Rug shops here in the States. The metallic turquoise tea cup is from Maison Midi here in LA and the gold tea pot was a thrift store find. Hope that helps a little!

  • Whoa! This is wonderful! Very romantic, but not in a cheesy kind of way lol. It’s amazing what creativity and imagination can do to several blankets, sarongs, and all sorts of materials! Thanks so much!

  • ZOMG that’s the best boho blanket fort of all time!!!!!
    Honest: I feel like my BF would get a little creeped out if this suddenly popped up in the living room, but the cat would love it.
    Double Honest: Cat wins every time.

  • I love this so much, it so romantic! My only problem is the toddler-creature that lives in my house. He would love it, which would make it decidedly less romantic.

  • So cool. For a moment I thought that the title read, “Valentine’s Day Fart”.

  • This is kinda what I had planned for our Bollywood valentine’s dinner. So excited to see that it exists outside my imagination. Inspirational. I’ll try hard to live up to this.

  • OMG. Finally! I’ve been looking all over the net for instructions on a fort just.like.this!! I know this is a post for V-day but i’ve been wanting to make one for my son’s play room. My latest attempt was similar but in the end didn’t turn out. i just need to tweak it a little this weekend. a big THANK YOU D*S!!!

  • justina’s work is so inspiring! thank you d*s for featuring such an awesome idea! tents/forts/teepees seem to be all the rage these days, and personally i’m loving the childish throwbacks. why NOT build a fort? amazing. i featured this idea in my valentine’s day inspiration blog:


    thanks again for always posting awesome ideas, d*s! you keep us inspired!

  • i am freaking out over that hanging macrame thing! LOVE it. i am inspired! i think i may have to make a love teepee for vday this year. it can live permanently in our yard so that we can vday whenever we want!

  • I LOVE this idea! Unfortunately, or fortunately, we have really high ceilings so I wouldn’t be able to hang this from them, but even making a cozy fort with chairs is a cool idea! I can’t wait! Now, somehow, I have to get him out of the house for an hour!

  • I love this, but I am concerned about putting in the time and effort and perhaps some money if the hooks arent going to hold the weight of the sheets in the ceiling… i am afraid it will just all fall out of the ceiling and be a disaster…thoughts on this??

  • This is so neat! A few years ago, I made a fort for Valentine’s Day, although not exactly like this one. I ordered a sheer canopy (mosquito net) and hung it from the chandelier. I lit all the candles I could find, stuffed some blankets and pillows underneath the canopy and served dinner there. It was stunning and so romantic.

  • My fiance did something similar to this one year for v-day. He also added a “star projector” that lit up the inside of the fort with constellations. It was kinda perfect.

    • Hi there! I’m very curious how to do this with out putting hooks into the ceiling. I tried to look at the link, but it said that I wasn’t able to open it. If you could share with me how you did it, that would be wonderful!

  • wow wow wow. this is like out of my dreams! thanks for sharing ;) we have a large picture window/nook in our bedroom thats about six feet wide and three feet deep. PERFECT for a fort lol

  • Wow, this reminds me of the forts I used to build when I was a little kid, except all grown up + super sexy!!! I love this!!! Will definately be doing this for my sweetheart. Thanks!

  • Yikes this makes me cringe! How long until it catches on fire? I can’t even be in love with that fort as long as all that fabric is directly in front of the fireplace!

  • oh my, I have all the prep work done and I’m totally doing this tomorrow.

  • how beautiful! when I have a bit more of a permanent spot, I’d like to build up a permanent little fort like this for napping, tea, lounging, reading etc. the pompoms making me giggle. ssssoooo good. It’d be nice to see if there is a way to incorporate this into a bed, like if a futon were under it or it hung like a canopy above a regular bed.

  • Until I saw Karen’s comment, I was beginning to think that I must be the only one to see the blazing log fire directly behind all that fabric and paper… I do love it though, except I’d like to make one just for me. Den building shouldn’t be confined to one day in theyear! ;)

  • I want to make one of these in my daughter’s room for her bed!! She has a wrought iron twin bed frame that squeaks like crazy and I’ve been trying to decide what to do with her room. I’m thinking of putting her mattress right on the floor and building her a tent around her bed! She’s six, I think that would be just magical! Thank you for the great tutorial!!!!

  • This is by far the ultimate design for a fort! I plan on using this for an intimate dinner setting in our yard. Thank you so much for the tutorial and easy instructions!

  • I’m decorating my little girl’s room, and I have been looking for and idea just like this! Brilliant! I link you to my blog as well :) Hugs, Ingrid

  • Amazing inspiration! Made a similar “love fort” this weekend for my boyfriend who absolutely LOVED it. thank you so much for the great ideas

  • I am actually constructing this today for our Valentines date tonight…can’t wait!!

  • This looks great! Kind of thinking I might just build a fort rather than buy a couch for my new apartment! Just kidding.
    What I’m really wondering is where you got all those wonderful sheets since my plain white fort would look much less amazing than this one!

  • This is great. My husband and my anniversary is coming up and we don’t have a lot to spend so we decided a night in without kids would be nice. He is in charge of cooking dinner for us and I am going to put this up in our living room. :) thank you for the idea and easy to follow instructions.

  • Really beautiful fort. Think I may do this as a reading corner for my class. Can I just ask did you make the pom poms from wool or did you buy the more synthetic-ey ones. Don’t think I have enough time to make all of those pom poms!

  • where did you purchase the cool white lamp? I am going to do a tent like this for my Granddaughter…. she will freak out!

  • Hello! Love this idea (for Valentines Day or otherwise!) I am currently working on a Valentines Day Round-up for my blog Vildmarket.com & would love to feature this idea in the round-up! Let me know if you would rather I did not, I will take it down with no hard feelings.
    Thank you in advance,