How to Make A Simple Canvas Awning

This awning is the simplest thing in the world. After struggling with how to provide some shade over the pallet bed I made for My New Backyard, I finally abandoned all my crazy plans and got back to basics. Though it’s not particularly fancy, I love the way my canvas awning turned out.

Let me show you how I made my simple awning, maybe you will find some inspiration…

How to Make A Simple Canvas Awning

First things first, I found this black and white polyester rope at my local hardware store for $5. I knew it would come in handy somewhere on the patio, but I didn’t like that it was BRIGHT white. So I brewed some strong coffee…

Dunked the rope in it.

And let it sit for a day until it was nice and muted.

So here is what I was working with. The deck ends, but the wood awning ends five feet before the deck does, leaving my pallet bed in bright sunshine all day. Not so great for my pasty-faced family. The other challenge is that right behind the deck is a cement landing where the barbecue and air conditioning unit sit. So any awning could not also cover this area (you know, to prevent fire).

Upon closer inspection, I found there were holes drilled in each far corner of the cement landing space.

Now, if you need to create an awning and don’t have holes like this, you can easily drill them in cement with a masonry drill bit. The cement is only a few inches thick, and under it is dirt. So I dug the hole out a bit deeper and measured it (1.5″ diameter).

Then I headed back to the hardware store to look for something tall to stick in there to support my awning. I found 12′ bamboo poles. I purchased them for $4 each, and had them cut to 8 feet (otherwise they wouldn’t fit in my car). I screwed an eye hook into the top of each one.

Then inserted each bamboo pole into its hole and mixed up a teensy bit of cement to seal them in place.

Then I purchased a 3 yard length of heavy canvas at my local upholstery fabric shop. This canvas was 60″ wide – perfect. On the side of the wood awning i screwed in two hooks. Then I attached large grommets to the corner of each side of the canvas, and hooked them on.

On the opposite side of the canvas, I attached grommets about 12″ in from each side edge. Then I threaded my rope through and tied it into a knot to secure.

Then I pulled the rope taught and threaded it through the eye hooks at the top of my bamboo poles. From there I need to secure it tightly to brace the awning structure. So I tied them to a sprinkler and asked my husband to come up with a better solution (staking into the ground or attaching to the back fence). So I’m still waiting for that to happen.

Then I grabbed some scissors and cut the side edges of the canvas into 1″ strips. I did this on the front as well (I tried to actually attached the entire front edge to the wood awning, but the canvas ended up acting like a sail, it need to let air pass through) as some short cuts on the back. I would have loved to make these longer, but the size was just right to shade the couch while leaving the grill to the open air. I had intended to string large wooden beads from some strips, tie some in knots, etc. but I never got around to it and I’ve learned to live without them.

So here’s how it turned out.

It may not be fancy, but it works!




Very interesting idea! We've been trying to come up with some sort of shade for our back patio, and since we are renting, something temporary is in order.

Do you think that this set-up will hold up to rain? I'd be concerned that FL thunderstorm would knock it right down… Maybe a heavy vinyl might work and shed rain? May have to try this – thanks!


Yes, I was also wondering about rain! I was thinking about making mine so it hooks onto the posts so I can take it down when it looks like rain!

Kari Schrecengost

You can also rub it with beeswax, then melt it into the fabric with your blow dryer and let it dry,,, instant waterproof canvas!


Your canvas awning is inspiring me to make one for the side of our porch that gets the late afternoon sun. I just need to find wider canvas say 160" or slightly more.


Wow…you are like my fairy godmommy. I have been looking frantically for an inexpensive solution for our porch that gets full sun 8+ hours a day. I was about to settle for one of those instant canopy things…but this is soo much cuter and I love that it is DIY! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU 😀


Is there a reason that you didn't attach the third corner to the house? I have basically the same set up in mind but had planned on attaching 3 sides with some kind of a tall corner trellis thingy that is available in my head! =) I think you read my mind though. I went to a home improvement store and they basically tried to tell me that I had to buy a $3,000 deal from them to really make it work. Boo!
Thanks again!


Since I’m in FL I’m going to use a tarp instead of fabric. I know it’ll hold up a while. I’m attaching 2 sides to the house and 2 sides to…? Maybe those big wrought iron poles you can hang plants from.

Mosquito netting! I need to work that in somehow.

Corner trellis! Look at and they have plans, directions and a shopping list for building one. It’s cute too.

Exciting! Thank you guys for the inspiration!!!


hi carrie! so i didn't attach the third side to the house for two reasons. The first is symmetry, I just wanted it symmetrical. The second is that our house is like cast in stone or some super hard material from 1930 that is almost impenetrable. I rent the home and don't know enough about what is going on inside the walls or roof to feel comfortable taking a masonry bit to it, or I would have tried that! You so do not need to spend 3 grand, lol. Though I'm sure a 3 grand awning would be fabulous!


I love this idea and have been trying to think of something that would work for my situation. I live on the second floor of a rental and there are no holes below, it is a driveway. Any ideas on what I could do with that.


This is a great idea and I am going to use canvas drop cloth from the home improvement store, they come in big sizes and are cheap. I am taking the idea of the tall shepards hooks because i am using this as I need it an will take it down I will hook two sides to my garage and then to the shepards hooks that i will use for plants Thanks!


This is a great idea. I want it to be water proof and don’t know how it will work with the canvas material. If i can find them cheap enough i might use neutral colored shower curtains sewn together. Any suggestions for the best waterproof AND sun blocking material?
And if you cant drill a hole for the posts you could always get larger terracotta pots and fill with concrete and put the posts in there. maybe put some fake plants on top? just an idea…


3M has a waterproof repellant spray that comes in a spray can that can be found just about anywhere.. Usually it is used for shoes, but works great for a water repellant on outdoor fabric too! The only thing I was concerned about in her illustration was the fringe. I live in Ohio and we sometimes have high winds, which have been the “death” of canopies past.. Be cautious when making any cuts, because your pretty canopy may look good for the moment, but might not last as long as you anticipate if high winds come along before you can take it down.


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