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Shadecloth DIY

I believe that the best way to get through a lockdown, is to keep busy. Thankfully, we have just the thing to keep us busy for South Africa’s Covid-19 lockdown period – The Container House Project. Therefore, if you see “Lockdown” in red on the header picture, you’ll know that the contents of that blog post is on something we accomplished while staying safe at home. And the first thing we did was fit some shadecloth to the side of the carport we recently erected. So with no further ado, herewith our shadecloth DIY.

The first weekend of the lockdown we decided to rest. The anxiety and chaos of the last few weeks has left its emotional toll on everyone and we thought it wise to recuperate for a couple of days first. After that we were feeling more energized and ready to tackle various projects on the house.

Why The Shadecloth?

Not too long ago, we completed the framework for the carport. We wanted to put shadecloth on the side to protect our vehicles from the late afternoon sun. We had a piece of new shadecloth in a cream/light beige colour; the perfect colour to match the roof plates on the house.

needle to sew shadecloth
I once bought a set of heavy duty needles to repair a torn seat in my car. It included needles for upholstery, carpets, leather handbags, etc. This wicked needle proved useful for sewing the shadecloth. You can also use a nail that has been hammered into a rough needle. The bottom needle in the picture is a standard sewing needle for comparison.

Installing the Shadecloth

Attaching the shadecloth to the carport where there are poles and support beams, was the easy bit. We used Tek screws with bonded washers to accomplish this. The bonded washers have a foam side which makes it waterproof. This will help prevent water getting into the poles and slow down any rust. The foam against the shadecloth also helps with chaffing. As the shadecloth will be protected from the sharp edges of the hardware, it is less likely to fray and break around the attachment points.

The bottom side was a little more complicated as there is no pole to attach it to. We had to run some wire across the bottom, between the two upright poles, and sew the shadecloth in place this way.

After drilling a hole through the base of the pole, we threaded through two lengths of wire and securely tied it in place.

twisting wire with battery drill

We then threaded the same two pieces of wire through the opposite pole, so that it spanned across the end of the carport. Using a battery drill, Kevin twisted the wires together, making it extremely strong.

using a wire puller to tighten wire

This contraption is a wire puller. We used the wire puller to make sure that the wire spanning the bottom of the carport was as tight as could be, before securing the ends around the second pole to keep it in place.

sewing shadecloth

Using a heavy-duty needle and some nylon twine, we sewed the shadecloth to the wire, making sure that the shadecloth was pulled tight in all directions. After sewing in place, we trimmed the rough edge.

The End Result

shadecloth diy

And this is how the shadecloth looks now that it is securely in place.

Many people will be using this time to do maintenance on their homes. Perhaps you’ll find our shadecloth DIY useful for your own maintenance!

4 thoughts on “Shadecloth DIY

  1. Your shade cloth looks very smart. It makes me smile the way you describe it all so casually, as if you were humming a little tune and doing a little tapdance as you did it, but in fact it must have been a tricky job that required a lot of expertise. It looks great and I hope the cars enjoy it!

    1. I think the size was the biggest challenge – getting it nice and taut without wrinkles. We are very pleased with how it turned out.

  2. Builders W/H and Leroy Merlin sell Lacing cord with Needle in case antbody want to tackle a similar project or simply to fix shade cloth.

    1. Thank you. I wish Leroy Merlin had branches in Cape Town. They look fantastic!

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