Custom canopies, sunshades, and awnings are among the most common DIY projects that we see in the Maker Pipe Connect community. Often times when builders finish their custom shade structure they ask "how do I secure sunshade materials to my frame?" and it's a valid question. In this blog, we'll explore various ways to attach fabric to your EMT Conduit and Maker Pipe projects, providing you with solutions for materials with and without grommets.
When planning a DIY canopy project, you'll encounter materials with and without grommets. Let's start with solutions for materials without grommets.
One of the easiest solutions are snap on plastic clips. Originally designed to secure greenhouse plastic onto PVC pipes, they work excellently for holding different materials onto conduit as well. Simply snap them over the material and conduit simultaneously.
Another solution is curtain clips like these from Walmart. These clips, designed to hold window curtains onto a curtain rod, can be used to hold fabric onto the conduit. The advantage of this method is the ability to slide the sunshade material like a curtain, allowing you to adjust the shade throughout the day.
Tarp clips are another great off-the-shelf solution. These clips have a set screw that tightens down the clip, and their teeth grip onto the material. Once clamped in place, you can use a carabiner clip, ball bungee, zip tie, or Velcro strap to attach the clips and materials to your conduit frame.
For those with sewing skills, consider sewing a loop into the material that allows you to slide the conduit through. This method is clean and covers the conduit pipes, making it great for sun shades and other projects like dog beds.
If you're looking to build something custom, consider adding grommets to your fabric. Grommet kits are available at most craft stores and online. They allow you to add mounting points in the desired material wherever you need them.
For materials with grommets, you can use tarp clips, ball bungees, zip ties, carabiner clips, and Velcro straps. Simply run them through the hole and tighten them accordingly.
You can also use rope or cord to attach canopies loosely, like Ryder's rooftop canopy. He combined carabiners with rope to make a retractable system.
Lastly, consider adding a mounting point to your conduit build. By hammering a threaded pipe insert into the end of the conduit and threading an eye hook into it, you create a mounting point that you can use with a number of attachment methods. This solution is particularly useful for sail cloths that are stretched out and secured to mounting points in a frame.
I hope these tips inspire you and help you finish your custom conduit projects. For more inspiration, check out the canopy section of the Maker Pipe community. Thanks for reading, and happy building!