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Make a Homemade Sun Shade

Make a homemade sun shade to make outdoor activities more fun on hot days.

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Participant Age: Under 7, 7 to 12, 12 and up
Approximate Cost: $10 to $100
Duration:
Difficulty:
Physical Challenge:
  • Blanket if you would like to sit on one
  • Extension cord
  • Eyelet tools that match the eyelets in size
  • Fabric, large sturdy piece, at least 15 feet by 15 feet
  • Four eyelets
  • Hammer
  • Pencil
  • Picnic table or table and chairs
  • Portable fan
  • Rope
  • Rubber mallet
  • Scissors for cutting fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Tent pegs
Find a large piece of sturdy fabric

Darker colors of fabric will provide darker shade.

You want the fabric to be sturdy so that it can withstand some tugging at the corners without tearing.

Sew a hem on the unfinished edges of the fabric with a sewing machine if you would like a more finished looking sun shade.

Purchase large eyelets and eyelet tools if you don't have some already
These are available in fabric stores. We used the largest size we could find, which was 3/8 inch or 9.5 mm. Get the matching eyelet tools, which are used to pound the eyelets on to your fabric.
Trace a circle in each of the fabric corners the same size as your eyelet
Make sure the eyelet is a reasonable distance (like one inch on all sides) from the edges of the fabric.
Cut out the circles with scissors
Position the eyelet on the fabric as it describes on the package

Usually this means putting the eyelet on the "unfinished" side or the side that won't show as much, but it doesn't really matter with this project.

Place the eyelets and fabric on a hard surface, such as concrete, and hammer until the eyelet lies flat and sturdy.


Repeat for the circles in all four corners
Go outside to the sunny spot where you want to hang up your sun shade

You need a spot with some trees or other higher up structures to give the sun shade enough height.

Evaluate the location of the sun. You will want the sun shade to hang in a slanted fashion so it blocks the sun. To do this, you might put a tent peg in the ground towards the direction of the sun, and then attach the higher corners away from the sun. 


Once you have the sun shade in position, put some items underneath it

It might be a table and chairs, a picnic table, or a blanket.

We found that a small fan was also lovely to provide some cool air and to keep bugs away.


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