Beat the Heat in Your Back Yard

5 Materials
3 Days

3 roman shades made for our pergola on our back deck.

We have shade trees, but they were not quite enough to

keep the heat out.

We had recently build the pergola and we used smoke colored vinyl roofing so that it lets in some light and so we still have a visual of the sky. But in the afternoons it just get to hot when the sun is beating down on it.

I decided to try my hand at making some roman shades.

I had purchased 20 yards of canvas to use for another project, and didn't end up using it. The canvas is 60 inch wide and was on sale. So this can be done on a budget. Our pergola inside measurement is just over 15 ft. wide by 11 ft.

3 panels just fit.

The first thing we had to do was put up a piece of wood to attached the shade to. We used a 1 x 2 x 16, attached to the top inside of our pergola.

I first cut the canvas to the length of the pergola plus 6 inches.

I did not want to try to sew this on my home machine, so I used fusible backing that is used to make patches. I folded over 2 inches and cut the backing to fit, and ironed it. (follow the instructions from the manufacture). I used high heat and left the iron on it until the edge fused.

The top of the hem is where I started my measurements.

Next, I had measured out for the placement of the brass rings that will be used on the wire guide line. I used brass because I felt the wire would wear through the plastic ones that are normally used on roman shades.

The brass rings are 3/8 inside diameter 7/16 outside diameter, perfect size for this project. For my project I made 5 rows about 15 inches apart and placed them 2 feet apart, starting at the edge of my hem.

Each brass ring I hand sewed using heavy duty thread doubled.

For 5 rows you will need 10 closed eye hooks, 40 lb strength picture wire,

5 turn buckle hooks with one side closed eye and a pair of wire snips.

On the back end of the frame. Measure out where your shade will hang, and where each row will be. Screw in an eye hook at each mark. Front and back of frame. Tie the length of wire that you will need, in my case 11 feet plus enough to tie so about 12 feet for each row. I did a threaded the wire through the eye looped it around the straight wire, threaded the end back through the eye and then again around the straight wire, and then wrapped the wire around itself to secure it to the eye. Thread the wire through all the brass rings for that row. You might find it easier to set up all rows at one time, and tread all rows at the same time. Loosely but securely thread the wire to the eye of the turn buckle. Hook the turn buckle to the eye screw. One at a time, I start with the ends and then the middle, untie the line and pull taunt. Tie off. Now you can use the turn buckle to take out any slack.

Because of the length of ours, I couldn't attach the back to the wood like I would have liked to, so instead I just stapled the canvas to the underside of the frame. This hides the back row of eye hooks and wire. I folded the edge about an inch to give a clean look, and will add wood trim to cover the staples. We used a piece of 1x2x16 wood for the back frame.

Here is the side view of the first panel. You can see how it will drape when opened.

I love how it instantly cooled our deck off and how the light dapples through the canvas.

Resources for this project:

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Frequently asked questions

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  2 questions
  • Wandamurline Wandamurline on Jul 02, 2018

    I was going to use the same kind of roof on a projected pergola on my back deck....did you make one side a pinch taller where the rain will drain? I was going to look at the smoke colored, but after your problems, I am going to have to go back to the design and maybe look at the green

  • Pam Pam on Jul 02, 2018

    Did you post a picture of the completed pergola when finished or did I miss it?


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