Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A sun shade

It has been unbearably hot here. Mega hot and humid. We like spending time on our deck but obviously don't enjoy spending time on the deck in 90+ weather with the sun beating down on us.

As a joint birthday present my mom bought us a sun shade so we could cover part of our deck. Unfortunately the sizing didn't work with a deck. We returned it and were inspired to make our own!

First we wanted to make sure we could even find a way to make this work before we went out and bought material. So off to Home Depot we went.

We bought two metal poles ($10 each), an assortment of hardware (around $15), pvc pipe and some pvc pieces (less than $10). The metal poles are 10 feet tall and are the kind used for chain link fences.

We have two hooks on the side of our house already for hanging a projector screen on so we can watch movies outside. We decided to use these for the sun shade and based the location of the poles off of that.

After my engineer husband figured out the details he got to work.

Here are the pvc pieces we bought. The metal pole fits inside of the tube perfectly. 
The pieces got assembled...

The cap is on the end that is going into the ground. This way no dirt will get in.
These photos show the top that can come on and off. This way we can put the cap on when we're not using the sun shade and the pvc pipe won't get full of dirt, rocks, etc.
 And then N dug a hole in the ground, put the pipe in and buried it in. He did a great job of packing in the ground/rocks around it. It is going no where.
 Here is it with the cap on.
 Next he put the brackets onto the deck.
And then put in the pole! They are easy to put in and just as easy to take out when the sun shade is not in use.

After we realized that the poles were sturdy and the spacing worked out with using the hooks we already had on the house we decided to get some fabric!

We found a great greenish and brown striped fabric (thick, in the upholstery section) and bought 9 3/4 yards of it. It cost about $70.00.

Since the fabric wasn't wide enough we measured and cut the fabric so that the seam would be in the middle. Then I got to work hemming all of the edges. 

I sewed.. and sewed...and sewed.
Then I sewed the two pieces together. Magically I was able to work is out so that the stripes continue seamlessly, even with the two pieces sewn juntos. (side note: I used upholstery thread for this part and for sewing on the straps. For the rest I used regular thread)
After sewing the two pieces together we took it outside to figure out the exact sizing. One side would be straight but the other end needed to be angled so we used some hooks and mock-hung it up to see what kind of angle we needed. We marked on each side where it lined up with the pole and then connected the lines. We cut the fabric, hemmed it and just hoped it would work out.

Next came the straps. I cut the material and hemmed the ends. 
Then the sides got folded in and sewn.
I got the metal rings ready to go.......

 And sewed as close as I could to each one.
The straps are done!
We placed them on each corner and sewed them on. This was probably the most difficult sewing part.The corners were already pretty thick and after adding the straps too them it was probably more than my sewing machine could handle...but we got through it.
Here are what the connections look like.....

.....connected to the pole. The cap that goes on the pole has a circle at the top that the s-hook links into. 
.....connected to the hooks that we already had on the side of our casa. These hooks were purchased in the gardening section of home depot. I think they're made to hang flowers from your house. We use them to hang our projector screen (which we bought cheap on craigslist) and a sun shade. :-) To attach the sun shade we just used an s-hook and something that the packaging tells me is a "quick link".
The first thing we did when we finished was go to starbucks to get two cold drinks and we relaxed under the shade. Sooo nice. 

Here is it all hung up! Complete with the blanket we've been laying on/eating our dinner on ever since we finished the shade. When I took these photos it wasn't too sunny so you can't see the difference it makes but it definitely brings our deck from unbearable to amazing. :-)

 Here's a closer shot so you can see the fabric.



  1. How handy! That was a lot of work. I might do this and of course give reference back to you! Come see an amazing deck re-do!

  2. Do you think that that type of fabric will hold up to outdoor use? I know there are special outdoor fabrics specifically designed for use in sun shades/umbrellas. Is that what this is? I am looking for ideas for a shade of some sort on our patio and don't know what kind of fabric to buy . . .

  3. CJ - The fabric I used isn't made especially for sun shades/umbrellas. Since we are only going to have it up when we're using it I figured it would be okay in the sun. The fabric we used is a thick, canvasy fabric that seems pretty sturdy.

  4. Maybe that is what I will have to do, too -- just make something that I bring inside when we're not out there. It's hard to find any particularly attractive outdoor fabric, but the canvas you found is quite pretty and I'm sure will hold up great if it's not outside all the time! -- CJ

  5. Great idea!! It turned out so well!

  6. Love this idea!! You guys did an amazing job!

    Thanks for sharing @'Sew Cute Tuesday'!

  7. great job! I soo need one of these on our back deck!!

  8. Nice! We desperately need one of these for our deck, but I'm not nearly capable of making one. Great job!

  9. You go, girl! (And your husband, too!) That's an ambitious project, but it turned out great!

  10. we so need one of these over our deck! It doesn't get shade until after 5 pm :( Want to come make us one too?
    I would love it if you would take the time to post this to my Frugal Friday linky because making your own is so much cheaper than buying a pre-made one!

  11. Korrie - It is definitely the most ambitious project we've tackled so far. The hardest part was figuring out the hardware/poles and fabric measurements. After that was done the actual work wasn't too bad.

    Marsha - I've linked up to your Frugal Friday linky! :-)

  12. I've linked up to your Frugal Friday linky! :-)

  13. It is definitely the most ambitious project we've tackled so far. The hardest part was figuring out the hardware/poles and fabric measurements. After that was done the actual work wasn't too bad.

  14. I imagine all that time and effort was worth it for such an eyecatching piece and the shade!

  15. I along with child #1 are the fairest of fair, thank you for sharing this, thank you! Come and shared this with WorkShop Wednesday this coming wednesday. It would be a nice addition to the party

  16. This is genius! Thanks for the tutorial



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