How to Build a Free-Standing Awning

What You'll Need
Sewing Machine and Heavy Duty Nylon Thread
5 yards, 60-inch wide canvas
5 - 3/4 inch grommets
Measuring tape
4 - 1/2 inch PVC pipe sections as high as the awning should be on the sides
1 - 1/2 inch PVC pipe section as tall as the center of the awning should be
Tent stakes
Power Drill
2 inch bolt with attached nut
reciprocating saw (optional)
PVC joints (optional)

A free-standing awning can be just the right thing for trips to the park, kid's sporting events, or weddings and other outdoor parties where some shade or cover makes all the difference. Creating a free-standing awning is very simple and can be done by anyone with even beginner sewing skills. This ultra-portable awning sets up quickly with only one person, comes down easily, and can be carried just about anywhere in the car's trunk.

Step 1 - Sewing

Fold the canvas in half so that the 60-inch sides touch and cut along the crease. This will yield 2, 2.5-yard pieces which are 60 inches wide. Lay the pieces right-sides together and pin them along the 2 1/2 yard side. Thread the sewing machine with the heavy duty nylon thread. Stitch the two pieces together creating a 1-inch flap. Press the seam open and iron it down. Fold each side flap under and stitch it down to create a flat felled seam. You should now have one large canvas tarp measuring 5 feet by 7 feet. Hem the tarp by folding the edges in 1 inch and then folding over again another 1 inch. Pin the hem in place and stitch it down. Ironing can often help hold the folds down if they are causing issue.

Step 2 - Grommets

Make marks at each of the four corners for grommets. Fold the tarp in half to find the center of the 7 yard side and mark it for a grommet on each side. Next, fold the tarp in half again to find the center. Mark the corner which will be the tarp's center for a grommet as well. Using the tools which come with the grommets, attach the grommets and cut the holes in their centers.

Step 3 - PVC Sections

PVC pipe sections can be cut down with a reciprocating saw and fit together with joints in order to maintain portability. Fit together any PVC sections that need to be compiled. Two inches down from one end, drill a hole through the PVC pipe large enough to fit the bolt through easily. Thread the bolt through and attach the nut to the other end. Decorative caps can be purchased to fit on the unfinished ends of the PVC if desired.

Step 4 - Setting Up

Put the PVC pipe with the screw end up into the grommet. The bolt should stop the canvas from falling all the way down. Thread the rope through the corner grommets or around the bolts. Stake the ropes down with the tent stakes. Tighten the sides ropes as needed to keep the awning taught.