Canoeing on a nice warm day and letting yourself dive into nature is one of the few luxuries we enjoy in our life. However, when the sun hits you with its scorching heat everything falls apart.
At that moment, it doesn’t matter much sunblock you’ve used. So, what can be the solution?
You can always add a canopy to your canoe. It’ll give you the shade you need and let you continue your journey.
So, if you’re wondering how you can make a DIY canoe canopy, then good news for you. In this article, we’ll explain the process with simple step-by-step instructions. Let’s start, shall we?
How to Make a DIY Canoe Canopy in 10 Steps?
Making a DIY canoe canopy is a fun project. In fact, you don’t need to spend much money on a project like this. Gather the right tools & materials and you’ll be good to go.
Here is the list of tools you’ll need to make a canoe canopy:
File or grinder/ Dremel
Vice Sewing Machine
When choosing materials for a DIY project, always try to choose something that’ll last for some time. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You’ll find quality materials if you know where to look.
So, here are the materials you’ll need:
2 10’ long ½ diameter PVC Tube
2 ½” PVC Elbow
2 ½” PVC 90 degree Tee
4 ½ PVC End Caps
2 ½” Conduit Hangers
2 ¼”-20 Wingnut
2 #10 x ½” Screws
2 #10 Washer
4 3/16” x 2” Eye Bolts
1 5/32” poly rope (although any type of water-resistant rope from 1/8” to 1/4” work)
2 yards of fabric (any fabric is fine)
A good option is using Utility Fabric. You see, Utility Fabric is a lightweight banner material. So, for a canoe canopy material, it looks and feels perfect.
Although, it’s not that you can’t use other materials. A 3’x5’ flag will also work great. A fancy, colorful flag might even make your trips more fun.
Step 1: Make an Overview of the PVC Frame
Having a sketch or an overview of the whole canopy will help you to do it efficiently. When doing these DIY projects it’s really important that you have a plan in your hand.
The PVC frame will have 2 major sections. The first one is the canopy supports, consisting of 2 PVC pipes. The second one is the support frame, it will consist of 2 uprights, 2 cross members, and 2 stabilizers.
Each canopy supports will be 5’ in length. On the other hand, the support frames should be 2’6’’. The stabilizers and the uprights should be 1’ and 1’6’’ in length respectively.
Note that the size may vary depending on the size of your canopy. Although, it’ll mostly vary 1 or 2 inches.
Step 2: Trim the PVC Pipes
Trim down 2 10’ PVC pipes using a saw. You have to use one of them for the canopy supports and another one for the support frame.
Now, cut 2 canopy supports at 60 inches and 2 uprights at 30 inches. Although, the size of these things will be dependent on your canoe. If you have a sit-on canoe then you’d obviously need bigger uprights.
That’s why you should measure the canoe while having someone sit on it.
Then, cut 2 stabilizers at 12 inches. Like before, you can add or remove a few inches depending on what you like.
However, make sure to use sharp cutting tools while you’re approaching the step.
Step 3: Make the Canopy Holder
First, identify the top of PVC elbows. Then, using a ⅛’’ drill bit, make some holes.
Now, use a #8 washer and screw for attaching the conduit hanger. You’ll have to repeat the process for the second holder.
After that, replace the hex nut of the conduit hangers with ¼’’-20 wingnut. By doing this, you’ll be making the assembly and disassembly a lot easier.
Finally, you’ll need to smooth out the edges of the conduit hangers. You can use anything you like for doing this. Although, a Dremel tool works great.
However, don’t skip smoothing out the conduit hangers. You’ll put your canopy at risk of tearing if you don’t do this.
Step 4: Attach Eye Bolt
First of all, mark the center of each of the PVC caps. Then, drill one hole in them using a 3/16’’ drill bit.
Now, attach the eye-bolts and tighten it with a needle nose-plier.
Finally, install them on the canopy supports.
Step 5: Build the Support Frame
Assembling the support frame is relatively easy. All you need to do is attach the PVC pipes on each end.
You can connect the canopy supports with support frames however you like. Either unfasten the wing nut & bolt or slide the support in, both methods will work.
Finally, connect each of the PVC pipes to make sure everything is in place. You need to know if there are any problems or not.
However, you can always build extra support for your canoe. Simply attach two extra PVC pipes on the rear and you’ll be good to go.
Step 6: Cut and Hem the Fabric
Cut the fabric into a size of 25’’ x 56’’. Let’s call the 25’’ side width and the 56’’ side length for easy explanation.
First, take one side of the width and fold 1 inch’. Repeat the process on the other side.
Now, you need to sew a ½’’ hem on both sides of the fabric. Do the entire process again for length.
You see, these hemmed edges are quite beneficial for the fabric. They make it look good but most importantly it won’t let the fabric fray.
Step 7: Make Pockets for the Support
Now that you’ve made your canopy you need to make it accessible for the PVC pipes. Moreover, these pockets let you adjust the canopy support forward and backward. So, let’s see how you can do it.
First of all, you’ll have to fold one side of the width 2½ inches and then pin it. Redo the procedure on the other side of the width.
Now, place the canopy supports (obviously with their caps on) in the pockets to make sure they fit well. Then, attach it to the support frame to see if the canopy is too tight or too loose.
If it’s not perfect, then you’ll have to make adjustments. You see, you won't be able to use the canopy if it's properly fitted. So, try to make it perfect the first time.
As the length is 56 inches, so sew down 24’’ inches of the fabric. And then sew down another 12 inches from the other end.
Step 8: Attach the Frame on the Canoe
This can be a bit different depending on what type of canoe you have. If your boat has bungee cord straps, then you can easily mount it with the support frame.
Step 9: Attach the Canopy
Place the braided poly ropes through the eye bolt of both of the support frames and tie it down on the tip of the canoe.
Although you don’t have to put too much pressure on tightening. Simply tighten them enough so that they don’t fall out of place. However, don’t tighten it so much that they bend.
Lastly, repeat the process for the other side of the canoe.
Step 10: Put it in Your Storage
Now that you’re all done, you can disassemble everything and put it in your storage.
You can make a carrying bag if you want. When cutting the fabric, don’t waste the extra pieces of fabric. Instead, make a case for carrying the canopy.
For storing the canopy, disassemble everything and tie it down with a rope. Although, make sure to keep the elbows threaded with a rope so that you don’t lose them.
Benefits of Using a Canoe Canopy
Canoeing is a very popular activity in the summer. You’ll see a lot of people on the coast canoeing. Well, you don’t need a degree to know that a canopy gives you shade.
However, there are a lot of other benefits a canopy can provide. Let’s see what they are.
A canopy will protect you from the sun and rain.
You can easily install a canopy. Moreover, it’s even easier to store them.
It protects the canoe from sun rays, extending the lifetime of the interior.
Using a canopy will keep your canoe dry.
So, that’s all we had to say about making a DIY canoe canopy. We hope this article covered everything you needed to know about this topic.
Before wrapping up, we have a piece of advice for you. Even though most people use a canopy to protect them from the sun, you should use a water-resistant fabric so that you won’t get drenched by rainwater.
That’s it. Go and enjoy your canopy!