Do-it-yourself patio canvas awnings

Written by b.t. alo
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Do-it-yourself patio canvas awnings
Add colour and shade to your patio with a canvas awning. ( Images)

A canvas awning over a patio provides protection from the weather, both rain and shine, and makes the patio more liveable. Hiring a professional awning installer can be pretty expensive, and considering a do-it-yourself awning is well within most DIY enthusiast's grasp making a canvas awning yourself is well worth the effort. The most expensive part of the project will be the awning canvas, but it will still be below the cost of hiring a professional.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Canvas
  • Industrial scissors
  • Industrial sewing machine
  • Grommets or eyeholes
  • Stepladder
  • Drill
  • Eyebolts
  • Turnbuckles
  • D-shackles
  • Metal poles
  • Post-hole digger
  • Quick-dry cement
  • Tube cutters or metal-cutting bandsaw

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  1. 1

    Measure the patio area you want to cover with the canvas awning. The awning will be attached from one side to the house, and supported on the other side by metal poles.

  2. 2

    Cut out a piece, or pieces, or canvas that is around 3 inches larger on all sides than the desired awning size. Use industrial scissors or heavy-duty scissors. If you need to use multiple pieces to achieve the overall awning size, add an extra inch to each side measurement then double seam the pieces together on a heavy-duty or industrial sewing machine to achieve the overall desired size.

  3. 3

    Fold a 1/4-inch seam on all the raw edges of the canvas awning and sew it down with a flat stitch on an industrial sewing machine. Fold all the edges over again in a 2 1/2-inch seam and sew using flat stitch. Sew down the seam a second time to ensure strength.

  4. 4

    Insert a grommet or eyehole in each corner of the canvas awning, within the 2 1/2-inch seam. If the awning is larger than around 40 inches long, place a grommet every 40 inches along the edge of the awning.

  5. 5

    Climb a stepladder near the wall where you will attach the awning over the patio. Use a drill to make pilot holes for eyebolts to go into the wall; one for each grommet along the awning at the desired hanging height. Screw in the eyebolts.

  6. 6

    Lay the canvas awning on the ground in position. Attach a turnbuckle to each grommet and open the turnbuckles to their longest setting. On the side opposite the wall, the position where the turnbuckles end is where you will need to install a pole.

  7. 7

    Dig a 2-foot hole at each pole point with a posthole digger. Cut metal poles 2 1/2 feet longer than the hanging height of the awning using a tube cutter or a metal-cutting bandsaw. Attach an eyebolt around 5 inches from one end of each pole.

  8. 8

    Mix a batch of quick-dry cement, following the manufacturer's mixing instructions. Put a pole into a hole, eyebolt end up and fill the hole with the cement. Hold the pole so that it is angled back away from the direction of the house by about 10 degrees. The cement should have set hard enough to leave the pole within around 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat with all the poles. Leave overnight to fully cure.

  9. 9

    Attach D-shackles to all the ends of the turnbuckles then attach the D-shackles to the eyebolts on the poles and the house side. Re-tighten the turnbuckles so that it stretches the awning between the bolts on the house and the ends of the poles and creates a taut canvas awning over the patio.

Tips and warnings

  • If you want an angled-down awning, install the eyebolts on the wall around 2 to 3 feet higher than the height of the poles.
  • Add about a foot extra to the width of the awning if you want a fringe on the awning; you will also have to adjust the placement of the grommets along that edge of the awning inward so the fringes hang down over the poles.

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