Time to replace your old, worn-out gazebo cover? Or maybe your gazebo didn’t have a cover to begin with?
Either way, you can make a gazebo cover at home without breaking the bank or requiring special DIY skills. Here’s how.
How to make a gazebo cover the easy way
Got some old canvas around the house that you no longer need? You can upcycle it into a gazebo cover that protects all sides of your gazebo.
This is the easiest way to make an inexpensive gazebo cover that can last for years to come. Alternatively, you can use any durable waterproof fabric you can get your hands on.
Important: Make sure the fabric you use is fully waterproof. You don’t want water seeping into your gazebo after the first downpour. If you have any doubts, waterproof the material with a water sealant or any other dependable waterproofing solution.
Things you’ll need
- A generous piece of canvas, vinyl, or acrylic
- Strong shears that can handle the job
- Tape measure
- Some chalk and a long piece of wood or other material for drawing a straight line
- Sewing pins
- Sewing machine or a strong needle
- Heavy-duty waterproof thread
- Long canvas cords to tie the cover around the side supports
- Step ladder (for measuring tall gazebos)
- Another pair of hands to help you with some steps of the process
Note before you start: These instructions are for a simple square gazebo. If your gazebo has a different shape, you’ll have to adapt the measurements and cuts to it.
Once you have all the items you need and can count on someone to lend you a hand, you can get to work.
Tip: If you already have an old gazebo cover, don’t throw it just yet. You can use it to measure the size and shape of the new cover. For this, you’ll have to cut the stitching so you can lie it flat.
What material to use?
If you have to buy material for the cover, consider the pros and cons of the different materials you can use.
- Canvas – Looks good and resists stretching, bending, and tearing. On the other hand, it’s heavier than other materials, which can make it harder to manoeuvre. It also calls for more work when cleaning.
- Acrylic – Extremely durable, available in many colours, and easy to maintain. The problem with acrylic is that its surface is prone to scratches and abrasive damage, which can make it look old after a few years of use.
- Vinyl – Vinyl is hard, durable, and has good UV protection. It doesn’t require much in terms of maintenance. On the downside, not everyone likes its synthetic feel.
All of these materials are good for a gazebo cover, so don’t fret too much over this choice.
Step 1 – Measure your gazebo
Take the tape measure and measure the length, width, and height of the gazebo. If the roof has overhanging eaves, make sure to include the overhang. Factor in the surface of the roof as well if the cover will go over it.
It’s important also to add a few inches to the width and length to allow for folding a hem on each side.
Aim for 3 inches or so for a 1.5-inch folded hem on each side. This hem will prevent fraying over time.
Step 2 – Mark the fabric
Use chalk to mark the canvas or fabric you’ll be using for cutting. You want to double-check the markings against your measurements to make sure you’ve got them right.
Next, grab the shears and cut the material carefully, following your markings.
If unsure about a part, make a larger cut—you’ll be able to trim it off later whereas cutting too short may ruin the fabric.
Tip: You’ll also want to mark the spots where the cords that you’ll tie around the side supports will go. More about these in Step 6.
Step 3 – Put the rough cut over the gazebo
With someone’s help and a bit of assistance from the step ladder, put the rough cut over the gazebo.
Ideally, it should fit snuggly so that the wind won’t flap it about, but without being so tight that you struggle to put it on or take it off.
Step 4 – Sew it
Use the sewing pins to hold in place the 1.5-inch hem. You’ll then have to sew the hems using the sewing machine or doing it the good old-fashioned way with the needle.
Unless you’re experienced with the needle, using a sewing machine is better. It will save you a great deal of time and lead to better results.
Make sure to use strong thread that won’t rot if exposed repeatedly to rain or snow.
Tip: Do a double-stitch seam to make sure the hem will last and not easily tear.
Step 5 – Check how it fits
Once you’ve finished sewing, the moment of truth has come. With the help of another pair of hands, install the cover over the gazebo and see how it fits. If any adjustments are needed, make them now.
Step 6 – Sew the cords
Happy with the fit? Great, but you’re not quite finished yet. You have to sew the canvas cords with which you’ll tie the cover to the sides for support.
These will protect the cover from wind and make sure storms won’t carry it away. They have to be long enough for you to wrap them around the side supports and, if needed, to the roof.
How to make a gazebo canopy
You can make a gazebo canopy in much the same way as you would make a gazebo cover.
Depending on how long you need the canopy to be, you may need less material. Canopies may cover only the top of the structure or stop halfway or ¾ down the side.
Again, you can take the measurements from the old canopy if you have one to save time.
Otherwise, you’ll need a ladder and some help with the ruler. Measure the gazebo from the front and side. Make sure to factor in the opening and any other openings you may want to leave—for windows for example.
Next, you want to cut the material of your choice according to size and install it over the structure to make sure it fits. If all is good, you can go ahead and sew it using double stitches.
You can also sew laces on the inside of the canopy to tie it to the posts for a better fit.
Taking care of your gazebo cover or canopy
To extend the lifespan of your gazebo cover or canopy, make sure you maintain it properly. This means making sure it dries properly after rain showers and storms before you fold it or put it away.
It also means cleaning it now and then. For most fabrics, you can use a brush or broom, warm water, and soap or dish detergent. Make sure to remove the cover first. Lie it out in the sun on a clean surface and wash it there.
More on this: How to Clean A Canvas Gazebo Canopy
If the cover fits into your washing machine, you can simply machine wash it. You can add white vinegar to the washing machine to deal with any mould. But avoid bleach.
With proper care, your homemade gazebo cover or canopy will last for years to come so you can enjoy spending time outside in the shade.