Why spend a fortune on a store-bought canopy when you can have your own?
Whether you’re hosting a backyard party over the weekend or thinking of having a shady area on your lawn for family outdoor activities, a DIY PVC outdoor canopy is an easy and inexpensive project.
If you love making things from scratch, you’re going to enjoy doing this project.
What Can You Do With a Canopy?
Outdoor ideas don’t always have to involve soaking in the sun.
Sometimes, it’s nice to relax in a shady spot while you enjoy the views, play with the kids, and prepare sumptuous meals for the whole family.
There are many ways to bring shade to your lawn or backyard.
One of the easiest options is to build a DIY canopy.
A canopy is a super helpful addition to your backyard especially if you live in a region where it’s always hot and sunny.
Or, if you love DIY projects, you certainly need a shady spot outside where you can safely and conveniently perform your tasks.
While you would spend about $400 buying a canopy, you’ll rarely spend more than $50 if you make yourself one using a few items.
DIY PVC Outdoor Canopy Project
Let’s begin by sorting the materials needed for our DIY canopy.
Here are the things you need:
- 1 1/4″ PVC Pipe, 50 feet long
- Four pieces of 1 1/4″ Tees
- Four 1 1/4″ 90-degree PVC elbows
- Four pieces 1 ¼” Couplings
- Cement Mix
- PVC Primer
- Four empty large cans (bean or coffee cans)
- One queen-size sheet for the canopy
- 6 yards of fabric
You will also need some tools for cutting, measuring, and putting together your canopy.
Essentially, you need PVC pipe cutters, a measuring tape, and a ladder.
How It’s Done
Step 1: Start by filling each can with cement mixture.
Step 2: Then, quickly place an 11″ piece of PVC pipe in each can, pushing all the way down to the bottom.
Step 3: Insert couplers on the 11″ pipes.
- Next, place your four corners on the ground.
- Insert a 59″ PVC pipe into each coupler.
- At this point, the frame of your DIY canopy is starting to come together.
- Attach the T-fittings on top of the 59″ pipes.
- Then, insert the 49″ pipe inside the T-fittings to connect each side of the canopy frame.
- At this point, you should have two assembled sides.
- Place the couplers on top of the T-fittings in the front, and then place the elbow pieces on the couplers.
- Now, you can insert the 78″ pipe between the two elbows.
Do the same for the other side.
You’re almost done with the frame.
- When you’ve got the entire frame assembled, you can now work on the fabric canopy.
Attaching the Canopy Fabric
For the canopy fabric, your options are endless.
You can use a curtain or a giant piece of fabric hemmed on the edges using fabric glue.
Using scissors and a tape measure, cut the cloth to fit the frame.
If you want something waterproof, you can use a tarp.
Tarps are inexpensive and are perfect for a sunny shade because they are weather-resistant.
Pick a color that’s close to the fabric you’re using.
Secure the fabric on the PV frame with the Velcro squares.
Tips When Making a PVC Canopy
Cut and Mark Your Pipes
The trickiest part of building a PVC canopy from scratch is getting the measurements right for your project.
If you prefer a bigger or a smaller canopy frame, you can always adjust the measurements listed above.
Regardless of the size of your canopy, you want to measure everything properly before cutting the pipes.
After cutting, you can mark the pipe pieces so you’ll know where each one goes.
PVC is relatively easy to cut using any cutting tool.
However, if you’re after clean and smooth edges, you should use a hacksaw.
A hacksaw effectively cuts pipe of any thickness.
Secure the Cloth
Instead of Velcro straps, you can also use PVC house clips to hold the shade cloth in place.
Use one clip every three or four feet.
Alternatively, you can use zip ties.
To secure the cloth, cut tiny slits along the sides of the fabric.
Use a sharp knife, cutter, or blade for this.
Then, push the zip tie through the hole and out the second hole, as if you are sewing it.
Tie the zip tie through the hole.
Make Your PVC Look Like Bamboo
If you’re feeling artsy, you can make your PVC pipe look like bamboo.
It’s a really simple technique and is so inexpensive to recreate.
Plus, it’s extremely beautiful.
Before anything else, make sure you’re working on clean pipes. You can use paper towels wet in acetone and wipe down the pipe until the lettering is gone.
Then, you can start making the nodes.
These are the larger diameter portions of real bamboo.
To recreate the nodes, cut a line around the pipe using a razor knife.
Go around twice to get a slightly deeper fact for a better effect.
You can go as far as heating the pipe with a torch to achieve the “imperfect” bamboo shape, but it’s optional.
If you paint and stain the pipe right, you’d get real-like bamboo poles anyway.
Use Patterned Fabric
If you want your canopy to pop, be creative with the canopy top.
Instead of a plain, flat sheet, use a patterned fabric.
It’s a great option if you’re using the canopy for a backyard party.
You can also add more fabric to the sides of the canopy so you have extra protection from the UV.
Speaking of fabrics, the canvas is one of the most popular options because it’s durable, light, and comes in so many cool patterns and colors.
If you’re using the canopy for a party, make sure the fabric you choose matches the theme of your event.
Rebar for Support
If you don’t have cement or you just don’t prefer inserting PVC pipes in cans, you can use rebar to support the PVC pipe.
It’s also an excellent method if you’re building a PVC arch.
Using a hammer, tuck the rebar into the ground.
Just make sure that the rebar fits in the PVC.
Make a Canopy Arch
A canopy arch is another artsy project.
If you like a modern and more posh outdoor canopy, creating an arch structure is the way to go.
PVC can also be used to make an arch canopy.
It’s rigid for the “legs” and flexible for the arch.
Cut the PVC into four pieces, tuck one edge in the ground, and use connectors to attach everything.
However, some people prefer using a conduit as it is more resilient and can carry a heavier fabric.
If you love the outdoors but can’t go out because of the pandemic, a DIY PVC outdoor canopy makes an excellent addition to your backyard.
What’s more, it’s fairly easy to make.
Essentially, all you need are PVC pipes and a piece of fabric that will fit the size of your canopy.
Make sure to pre-cut all the PVCs before building the canopy so you can conveniently put everything together.
Lastly, be creative with your approach to this project.
From the size, structure, colors, and decors let your creativity soar.