How To: Make An Outdoor Awning

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This is our third one, and each time they get a little better. We built this awning off of the barn we live out of in the summer time. It's very simple and very cheap to make AND it works very well. If you want to put up a quick and easy shade awning, this basic design can be adapted to work in many situations...

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To start we bought a regular cotton painter's dropcloth from the hardware store along with:

100 ft of nylon clothesline,
4 carabiners,
2 O rings on plates
2 pulleys
1 bottle of Gorilla Glue

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1. Rolling out the canvas we cut four 4" squares out of scrap wood and glued them like a sandwich on either side of two corners. This was to prevent easy ripping (some happened in a storm anyway). When dry, we drilled holes through each end.

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2. We did the same thing with a few really long pieces on the other end. When dry, we drilled holes through each end.

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3. With wood "grommets" on every corner, we then tied loops of clothesline through each, allowing us to hook on carabiners and hoist the awning any way we wanted to.

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4. On the barn side we simply climbed up and screwed in a series of O rings with pulleys. We took another long length of clothesline and ran it through all these until we could hook it onto the awning corner.

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5. On the ground side we took two pieces of seven foot scrap wood to place under the corner loop and then attached our long bits of clothesline to the loop itself. These two lines were secured to wood stakes in the ground.

With the whole awning easily attachable and durable from four corners, you can put it up or take it down whenever you need to. It won't last forever, of course, but it's affordable, a great DIY project and will get you some shade quick.

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.