Keeping a house cool in the summer can be expensive. Awnings are a great way to keep your home cooler while not increasing your electrical bill. Anytime you can create a barrier between the sun and the outside of a window, the inside of your home will stay dramatically cooler. We had a retractable awning made for one of our south-facing windows and experienced how much cooler the inside temperature of a room could be by using an awning. Awnings are expensive and it got me thinking…could I just make my own awnings?
Yes. You can make your own awnings, although these are not retractable awnings. These are stationery awnings that get put on the windows in early summer taken down at the end of summer.
How to Make Awnings – Materials Used
Materials: Sunbrella brand fabric, galvanized pipes, thread, hooks, grommets, flat re-bar, electrical tape, screw eyes, zip ties.
Tools: Sewing machine, serger, hack saw, scissors,
Attach galvanized pipes to windows. These are from Home Depot and they will cut them to your specifications. How far you want the awnings to extend from your windows is up to you. Look at other windows with awnings and measure to see if the dimensions make sense for your project. Attach hooks above windows. Three hooks are sufficient for my windows.
There are also two ties underneath the awnings themselves, to attach them to the bars. Keeping your awnings on the bars is crucial. I’ve also added grommets to the awning, screw eyes to the window trim and connected the two together with a zip tie.
The other component to the awnings is a weight bar (which is concrete re-bar) with the ends wrapped in electrical tape. Cut bars to the lengths needed with your hack saw. Wrapping the ends in tape keeps the sharp edges from tearing your fabric. There are channels (pockets) on all three sides of the awning to give them stability and shape. These channels were stitched close once the weight bar was added so that the bar didn’t accidentally slip out.
The awnings themselves consist of three pieces. One rectangular shape that begins at hooks and extends down over the bar. Make sure your awning drops down a sufficient amount past the bar to block the sun. The other two pieces are the triangular-shaped side pieces. Below is the top piece (with grommet attached) and the side seam triangular piece attached.
I highly recommend making a muslin pattern of this project first, prior to cutting and sewing your sun-proof fabric.
Make sure you label your awnings when you take them down for the off-season. Even though several of our windows are the same size, each is a little different. Safety pins, fabric scraps, and a permanent marker help me keep track of what awning goes where on the house.
We’re ready for summer! Here are the five homemade awnings along the west and south-facing sides of our house.
This was not the easiest DIY project but was definitely worth the effort.
Here is a short video of the awnings. I was up on a ladder while filming this!
How do you keep your home cool in the summer? Do you have awnings?
Go Gingham related links:
How to keep a house project sustainable – for the wallet and environment
Laundry chute evolution and how it came to be
Our fun adventure to find a claw foot for the bathtub – we traded!
DIY project redoing the missing claw foot
A DIY project we won’t be doing – a new roof for our house and why we said no to installing more roofs ourselves!