Custom Tents – The Process

Custom tents follow the highest quality standards and levels of old world craftsmanship. 100% cotton is woven then dyed, treated and dried. Water and mold resistance is applied to the cottons. For an additional charge they can also be fire retardant to CA / UK standards. Exclusive designs draw inspiration from cultures around the globe to make up prints for custom tents. Traditional hand block printing is employed as well as modern printing.  Light gauge powder coated steel frames assemble easily. The powder coated frames make them rust resistant. The rest is up to you! Each tent or umbrella is custom designed to your specifications! See “Options” for all the ways you can create custom tents for your event or backyard.

Block printing is used to create custom tent designs

Choose from many color and styles to create your custom tent

custom tent designs consist of beautiful small details

History of Wood Block Printing

Originating in China around 200AD, Woodblock printing is a technique to print text, images or designs on either paper or fabric. The process is really quite simple. Although it can be made more complex with the addition of multiple colors or complex patterns. A piece of wood is carved out with the text or pattern so that it is in relief of the base of the wood. Then, the raised wood is dipped into ink or natural dye so that it becomes like a stamp. It is applied to the paper or fabric either by stamping or rubbing. The pattern or text then appears, although it is always a mirror image, which can prove tricky with text printing!

Woodblock printing is the earliest, simplest and slowest way to print patterns on textiles.

However, it yields a highly detailed pattern that sometimes cannot be produced by any other means.

In India, woodblock printing goes back to medieval times when printed cottons became very popular. The earliest uses were in the printing of interior fabrics for tent linings in the region of Rajasthan for the Maharaja’s military camps. His tented hunting camps or cultural events of grand scale in the villages. At this same time, specialized woodblock printing developed as decorative textiles, specifically in the state of Gujarat. Characterized by black and red designs of birds, animals and dancing women, the antique Gujarat textiles are exquisite. These are some of the finest examples of woodblock work in India. From Gujarat, the decorative textile trend next moved into Rajasthan. It too became the primary textile pattern method for home interiors. Today Rajasthan remains to be the best place to find both antique and modern woodblock printing.

Our interior fabrics collection is inspired by the antique prints and patterns of early history.


History of Tents

For over five centuries, dating at least back to 100AD, tents have been used for outdoor living. While, not always for such glamorous reasons as ours, tents provided transportable shelter and a place to carry out campaigns whether cultural or militaristic. Initially, tents were used for nomadic travel. Over the years the tent was used for many other purposes. Tents remain a primary source of outdoor shelter to this day.

Mongolian Nomads

The Mongolian Nomads provide some of the earliest evidence of tent use. In the 1st Century, primarily for shelter, the Nomads moved either as nomadic tribes or as military camps.

Around this same time, the Romans were also using tents, again for the military in their conquests and campaigns to spread across the known world. The Romans show the first evidence of “walled tents”. As early as 72AD, there is written records from Octavius making reference for the need of goat skins to repair tents. At this point, tents were made of hides or natural fibers like hemp.


Soon to follow, around 200 AD, the Ottomans show up in a grand way, using tents for cultural or royal ceremonies. The Ottomans would be the first to develop lavish and extravagant tents as the initial purpose was a transportable palace for the Sultan. Silk fabrics, embroidery, expensive rugs and furnishings were all Ottoman contributions.

The Mughal Emperor Akbar, is said to have lavishly patronized art during his era. Akbar’s style was a mixture of Persian and Indian motifs, which gets reflected in the magnificent tents captured by the Ottoman army in the seventeenth century. The Sultan had his court in a huge encampment of hundreds, even thousands of tents, at the center of which was the ‘Tented Palace’ called the ‘Imperial Tent Complex’. The imperial tents were pavilions, walled in by a symbolic rampart of cloth and recognized by their size and the splendor of their decoration, both inside and out.


The Vikings were next to use tent s around the 8th Century and the Europeans just after that. The Europeans fell in love with the Ottoman tents and had adopted the design, although they called it Baroque, not Ottoman. The tented life became contagious across Europe and soon ceremonies of the highest esteem, royal weddings and political meetings were all being held in tents.

Today, the exotic tradition of living under the canvas still arouses romanticism and at Gypsy Faire we embrace that history and plan to keep it going with each and every custom tent we design and make.