How to Attach a Shade Cloth

Written by ruth o'neil
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How to Attach a Shade Cloth
Shade cloth can even cast helpful shadows on sunny, otherwise unshaded patios. (patio by the sea image by Lijuan Guo from

A shade cloth is a type of mesh fabric that you can sew or have a company make to a specified size. People use shade cloths for protecting their gardens in hot, sunny climates or for use on a patio, porch or as a freestanding tarp. First you must build a frame, which can be wood, metal poles (such as for tent camping) or PVC pipe. Build your frame to fit your needs and then attach the shade cloth to the frame. There are several different ways to attach shade cloth, depending on the type of frame you have.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Grommets
  • Ropes
  • Metal stakes
  • Clothespins/masking tape
  • Screws
  • Washers
  • Drill/screwdriver
  • Clips

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  1. 1

    Use grommets when your frame consists of metal tent poles you plan to use freestanding in your yard.

  2. 2

    Fold your shade cloth in half to find the middle. Use a marker to make an "X." Place an "X" on the middle of the two folded sides. Fold the fabric in half the opposite way to find the halfway points on those sides as well and mark with the marker.

  3. 3

    Place an "X" at each of the four corners as well.

  4. 4

    Use the tools that came with your grommets to install the grommets at each "X."

  5. 5

    Insert the tent poles into the grommet holes and tie down the shade cloth with ropes and metal stakes.

  1. 1

    Sew your shade cloth to the necessary measurement for your PVC pipe frame, but make casings at the sides where you can insert the PVC pipes.

  2. 2

    Make a casing by folding the shade cloth over 3 inches and again another 3 inches. Hold the fabric in place using clothespins or masking tape. Sew along the edge of the casing.

  3. 3

    Insert the PVC pipe frame into the casing.

  1. 1

    Use screws and metal washers to attach your shade cloth to a wooden frame.

  2. 2

    Measure and mark out where you want to put the screws. Plan a screw every 10 inches.

  3. 3

    Place the screw through the washer and drill the screw directly into the wood frame.

  1. 1

    Buy special clips for attaching your shade cloth; these work with any type and size of frame.

  2. 2

    Purchase the clips from the same company where you purchase your shade cloth. Plan to use one every 10 to 12 inches.

  3. 3

    Clip the shade cloth onto the frame. Use the clips for shade cloth that you want to remove from time to time, instead of using the more permanent screws.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are sewing your shade cloth to use casings, make sure to use the masking tape or clothespins to hold the mesh in place. Regular straight pins do not work as they slip right through the holes in the mesh.
  • Shade cloth is a very versatile fabric. You can even attach it to your home if you want to provide shade on a porch or deck. Use a metal pole or PVC pipe in the end furthest away from the house and simply roll it up when not in use.

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