i’ve been thinking about public spaces a lot recently for numerous reasons, but mostly because the issue of public space always pops into mind in nicer weather. after months of abnormally cold temperatures, my neighborhood is finally getting warm sun and i want to enjoy it! i know a lot of urban dwellers have no backyard or outdoor space to call their own, so i’m hoping this project will allow them to carve out tiny nook anywhere they can find one: front stoops, balconies, roofs, empty sidewalks, small patches of grass, anything will do!
this project can vary in levels of permanence, budget, and size, so it’s completely customizable to your situation. i strayed a little from the ‘nautical theme’ this week, i know, but it’s only because i has this scrap fabric that was begging to be used for this. but this project could easily be made into a sea-lover’s dream with some crisp striped canvas and rope trim. have fun! – kate
CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!
1. fabric (any size, any type will do. old sheets would be great for this, or any cotton, linen, canvas, etc. the size is up to you. mine is 36″ x 60″)
2. grommet kit (you can get these at hardware stores, craft stores, or fabric stores. be sure to get the kit that has grommet tools as well.)
4. pom-pom trim (this should be available at fabric stores)
5. sewing machine and thread
7. two 6’wooden dowels
8. two plastic buckets (these are from the hardware store and come with plastic lids. you could also use old coffee cans or pots if you prefer)
9. four cup hooks
10. quick-crete rapid set concrete mix (or sand for a cheaper, but less sturdy option)
11. spray paint
12. wooden mixing spoon, or any firm wooden stirring stick
(note: i used two support poles because i attached the sun shade to an outdoor wall. if you need a completely free-standing sun shade, you will need four dowels and buckets)
pom-pom trim: $5
1. measure 6″ on your dowel and draw a line all the way around to mark the height.
2. place the dowel end in the center of the bottom of your plastic bucket and trace around the dowel to mark where you will cut out the hole.
3. mix a single batch of quick-crete mix (enough for one bucket to be almost full) according to the instructions. mix it directly in the first bucket and fill to a little below the top. place the plastic lid on and flip the bucket over, tamping down on it with your hands to settle the concrete mix to the bottom.
4. use an exacto knife to cut out the circular hole at the top for the dowel to fit through. push the dowel into the concrete down to the 6″ mark line you created. put the bucket and dowel aside and adjust the dowel to ensure it’s perfectly straight. move on to the other bucket and repeat. set both aside for 30 minutes for the concrete to set.
(note: if you are using sand, follow steps 1 and 2. then fill your bucket with sand and put on the lid. flip the bucket over, cut out the circle you traced, and slide the dowel into the sand, down to the 6″ mark. these will be less sturdy than the concrete poles, but they will work fine and are easy to take apart for storage.)
5. while the poles are setting, cut your fabric into a rectangle of your desired dimensions, leaving 1/4″ extra for the hem all the way around. begin folding back the 1/4″ extra to the backside of the fabric, and pin the pom-pom trim on top of the hem, on the backside of the fabric as well. i chose to do three edges of pom-pom trim (the sides and front, but not the back), but you can do all four if you wish.
6. once everything is pinned, use your sewing machine to sew them hems and trim together. snip any loose threads. you should now have a rectangle of fabric with hemmed, trimmed sides.
7. cut a small slit in the left and right corner of what will be the back of your sun shade. the slit should be 1/2″ in from both edges on either side. lay your fabric down with the front side facing down and push your grommet base up through the slit. follow the grommet kit instructions to hammer the grommet shut. repeat with the other slit. you now have two grommets a the back corners of your sun shade.
8. measure 6″ up from the front of your sun shade, and make another small slit on the left and right side, 1/2″ from the edge. repeat the grommet process to secure grommets through these holes. the 6″ extra fabric creates a small flap at the front of your sun shade.
9. once the concrete is set, place your bucket/poles on a painting surface. take a piece of paper around the bottom of the wooden dowels where they meet the bucket so as not to paint the dowels. spray paint the buckets the color of your choice. let dry.
10. screw cup-hooks into the top of your wooden dowels. if you are making a free-standing sun shade, you are now done! you can place the four poles in a rectangular formation and hook the cup-hooks through the grommets to secure the shade to the poles.
11. if you are attaching to a wall, screw cup hooks into the wall – you can screw them in slightly higher than the pole height to create a slanting sun shade, or at the same height to create a level sun shade. now you can place your poles in front of the wall and hook the grommets on to the cup-hooks. move the pole bases around until the shade is lying as you desire.