Instructions on Homemade Boat Canopies

Written by scarlett gauthier
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Instructions on Homemade Boat Canopies
Boat canopies protect passengers from weather conditions and sunlight. (outboard motor boat image by Wimbledon from

Many boat owners chose to customise their boat with a canopy in order to protect themselves from the sunlight or climatic conditions such as rain. Canopies are extremely useful during extended stays on a boat, such as during fishing trips. There are various types of canopies, ranging from permanent to portable styles. Although there are numerous canopies available on the market, boat enthusiasts may want to build their own.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Canvas
  • Carpenter's square
  • Drill
  • Masking tape
  • Marine epoxy
  • Jigsaw
  • Size 14 screws (fourinches long)
  • Size #14 screws (two inches long)
  • Yellow paint
  • Rag
  • Paintbrush
  • Dry-erase marker
  • Four 4-by-4 redwood lumber
  • PVC Cement
  • Measuring tape
  • One-inch PVC "T" fittings
  • One-inch PVC pipe
  • Male and female snaps
  • Acetone
  • Marine epoxy adhesive sealant

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  1. 1

    Outline the area the canopy will cover with masking tape. Use a carpenter's square to help make the corners square.

  2. 2

    Measure the area's length and width. To determine how much canvas is needed, add six inches to each of the measurements.

  3. 3

    Add the two measurements and multiply the sum by two to determine the perimeter of the canopy. This will help determine how many one-inch PVC pipes are needed. There should be one pipe at each four-foot mark on each side of the canopy, as well as one in each corner. Divide the perimeter by four to determine the numberof vertical supports needed.

  4. 4

    Drill two 3/4-inch holes at each corner of the canopy's perimeter. The holes should be two inches apart.

  5. 5

    Mix enough marine epoxy and adhesive sealant to fill the holes at the corner of the canopy's perimeter. Fill each hole with marine epoxy. Allow the epoxy to cure.

  6. 6

    Draw a one-foot line with the dry-erase marker from the holes drilled in step 4 towards the centre line of the boat.

  7. 7

    Cut a 3-3/4-inch piece of the four-by-four board with the jigsaw. Use the drill to make two 3/8-inch holes on the board. The holes should be two inches apart. Use the paintbrush to paint the four-by-four board with paint of any colour of your choice. Allow the board to dry.

  8. 8

    Repeat step 7 for each board. There should be at least one board for each corner of the canopy and one for every PVC pipe.

  9. 9

    Cut the one-inch PVC pipes to the desired length. These will form the vertical supports, so make sure they are high enough for a person to stand beneath the canopy.

  10. 10

    Cut additional one-inch PVC pipes to form the upper frame. These should be cut into lengths of three feet.

  11. 11

    Clean the inside of the bottom leg of the one-inch PVC "T" fitting with acetone and a rag. Clean one of the ends of the one-inch PVC pipe. Fill the inside of the fitting with cement and insert the PVC pipe in the fitting. Twist the pipe a quarter turn to tighten the joint. Repeat the procedure for all the PVC pipes and fittings.

  12. 12

    Apply marine epoxy to the corners of the canopy's perimeter and to the bottom of each four-by-four board. Place each board on the centre of the tape and align the holes in the boards with the ones on the boat's deck.

  13. 13

    Insert the four-inch screws into the holes and secure them.

  14. 14

    Repeat the procedure so there is one board at every four-foot mark around the canopy's perimeter. Insert the free end of the PVC pipe into the four-by-four boards and secure the pipe with a two-inch number-14 screw.

  15. 15

    Fill the horizontal parts of the "T" fittings with glue and insert the three-foot pipes to form the canopy's frame.

  16. 16

    Lay the canvas on a flat surface and affix female snaps one-foot apart from each other at the edge of the canvas. Attach male snaps at every foot, 3.5 inches from the edge of the canvas.

  17. 17

    Place the canvas over the canopy's upper frame and fold the edges over the pipes. Snap the canvas into place to secure the canopy.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a clean rag to dust any shavings made by using the jigsaw.
  • Wear a safety mask when working with acetone.
  • Use caution when working with tools such as the saw and drill.

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