DIY Canopy - Part One

I split this post up because it was just too much info at one time. That and I need as many blog posts as I can get at this point. I’m only up to eleven.

Part One involves the dyeing process for our DIY canopy.

We were in dire need of some shade on our patio. It receives a surprising amount of sun. With temps reaching triple digits on a regular basis, the patio was just too hot to relax and enjoy.

I shopped around for a patio umbrella, but our limited floor space and budget (not to mention no umbrella hole in our FREE table, post also to come) made this an impractical solution. Umbrellas are expensive, yo. So, I had to brainstorm a cheaper, custom fix. I went through multiple efforts to solve our sunny dilemma. I decided to list all of my attempts because one might work better for you than it did me! Those will be in Part Two.

I stumbled upon this little gem on and it got my wheels a-turnin’.

This was the catalyst for the entire space.

A canopy was the way to go. It would be easy to install (so I thought) and wouldn’t take up valuable floor space. Winning! I loved the idea of using a cheap canvas drop cloth as my canopy material because it would also be durable and washable.

 $12 from Lowe’s.

The only problem, I wanted a darker color because it would block the light better. Inspired by Sherry from and her DIY dye job on some dining chair slip covers (post here), I decided to try my hand at dyeing at home.

Enter stage L, some dark brown dye.

 Got it at Wal-mart, of course!

I read and reread the instructions very carefully. I was nervous to put dark brown dye in my washer. But, I put on my brave girl pants and dove in.

Step one. Wet the canvas cloth. Given the large size of the fabric, I threw it in the washer on a short cycle. It was just easier that way.

Step two. While the canvas was finishing a short cycle, I added the dye, hot water, and salt (for cotton) to a large bowl. This was recommended by the manufacturer and Sherry, the DIY guru.

This is where things got real. I was very nervous to pour DARK BROWN dye into my beloved washing machine. But I did it anyway. Deep breaths. Then, I started to really freak out. My washer is so advanced, it does everything automatically. Including drain itself. IT STARTED DRAINING THE DYE! I screamed and started the washing cycle before it could drain any further. We’re talking three seconds here, people. The canvas may have come out darker if the washer hadn’t been so “auto.” Ugh.

The next few steps include running another cycle and then drying your fabric. Pretty standard stuff, if you are designated laundry person in your home.

Here’s the finished product.

Not as dark as I would like but it’ll do, Pig.

Just to be safe, I ran a load of towels through the washer right after a cleaning cycle in case there was any lingering dye. My towels are already dark brown so I can’t tell if there was leftover color but I felt better knowing it wouldn’t end up on my pretty dresses.

After all of the dye was said and done, I attached some grommets to the corners and one in the middle of one side, so I could have some options for hanging the canopy.

The rest of this canopy project will be in Part 2, which I should have up by Thursday. Part 2 involves the installation process as well as the final reveal.

How are your projects going? Ever had a washing machine’s “auto” feature nearly give you a fit?

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