DIY Shade Cloth

Written by anita billings
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DIY Shade Cloth
Use shade cloth to block the sun off of the end of a porch. (green plastic mesh image by Marilyn barbone from

Shade cloth is so versatile that it can be used in the garden, on boats, above decks, on the ends of porches, for privacy screens and much more. According to "Shade Cloth Info," the cloth itself is made to repel and absorb heat from the sun. It's strong, yet has a loose weave that allows breezes to go through. It can help protect a garden, or keep the hot sun off of people sitting on a deck.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Cloth store
  • Shade cloth yardage
  • Sewing machine
  • Nylon thread
  • Scissors
  • Grommets
  • Straight pins
  • A small piece of wood
  • Hammer
  • 1-inch or 2-inch small grommet kit
  • 1-inch or 2-inch grommets
  • Thin nylon rope
  • Screw-in hooks

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  1. 1

    Buy the shade cloth yardage you need for your project. For instance, if your project is to make shade and privacy for the end of your porch, measure the opening you need for your shade cloth. For instance, if it is 7-feet tall and 6-feet wide, buy enough cloth to cover this area. Shade cloth can come 72-inches wide. Buy the exact amount of cloth needed because you want the shade cloth to end up slightly smaller than the porch opening.

  2. 2

    Double fold the edges 1 inch. Fold another inch over the first fold. Pin the fold and continue folding and pinning the fabric all the way around. This will be your finished edge after sewing.

    DIY Shade Cloth
    Sew the folds to make a clean edge. (machine à coudre image by Toanet from
  3. 3

    Sew a straight stitch on the sewing machine in the centre of the 1-inch folds all the way around the cloth. Sew again on either side of the centre stitch all the way around. You will sew on the double fold to secure it three times. Remove all pins.

  4. 4

    Apply 1-inch or 2-inch grommets (whichever size you wish) into the four corners of the fabric. Place them just inside of the finished seams. Use a grommet kit from a fabric store. Get the kit that goes with the size grommets you selected. You will need a small board and hammer to apply the grommets to your shade fabric. The kit will have a cutter, the inserting handle and the base. Grommets consist of the grommet (male side) and the washer (female side). Follow the instructions in the grommet kit to insert the grommets.

    DIY Shade Cloth
    You need a hammer and a board to use a grommet kit. (Hammer image by Mikekoeln from
  5. 5

    Screw two hooks into the ceiling corners of the porch opening. These will hold the cloth up. Screw two hooks in the porch floor in the corners of the porch opening. These will hold the shade cloth down.

  6. 6

    Cut four 2-foot nylon ropes and tie the end of each tightly into the four grommets in the cloth. Once on the shade cloth, tie the top ropes to the ceiling hooks, and the bottom ropes to the hooks. You want to get equal tension on all four corners.

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