How to make a outdoor swing canopy

Pembroke Pines, FL

I have this wounderful white plasic patio swing set that originally had a canvus cover . I was able to lie down on it and watch the kids by the pool in the shade swinging and have lovely hours to sit and relax ....then a Hurricane came by two years ago and blew the canvus cover away. Do any of you have any creative ideas on what I can put on top of it to make my swing shaddy again. I was thinking about making it into a thatch roof type thing..but not sure where I would get the right type of palm leaves? I was also thinking of weaving some type of fabric on the original poles that originally held the canopy. Any ideas on how I can bring my swing back to life for this hot miserable summer! The more creative the better....anything that is easy to make and does not cost alot of money works best for me. Thanks for any suggestions

Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

You might try buying chair webbing and weave it over the frame. It in inexpensive, weather resistant and easy to use. It comes in a lot of colors to allow you to come up with a pattern combination that pleases you and lets you use some creativeness in creating your very own stripe, checkered or plaid pattern.

Savannah, TN(Zone 7a)

You can also buy vinyl tablecloths designed for outdoor use, which are thick enough and would hold up fairly well for a cover. They come in all kinds of colors and prints. Here's a link to one such place, but there are many others as well. They are easily sewn together to make any sized covering you need.

Pembroke Pines, FL

Thank you for the great suggestions! Keep the ideas coming. I just found this wonderful site and I am hooked!!! I will post a picture when I finish this project.

(Pat) Kennewick, WA(Zone 5b)

Or you might be able to find a tent at a thrift store you could cut the cover from. They sell the fabric you need for an original replacement at fabric stores. If you don't sew, you might even consider using a GLUE GUN to "seam" it together. Or you could find somebody's old tarpoline frame and make a huge arbor over it with plants. Somebody had a post with that, it was a great idea.

Rock Hill, SC(Zone 7b)

The fabric stores sell fabric for outdoors or I have used regular upolstery fabric and used the uv spray on it to cover cushions for outdoors. You can get several years of use out of it. About any canvas type fabric should work.

You could look up the manufacturer of the swing and see if they sell replacement covers. Sometimes they are cheaper than you think they would be.

Good luck with pics when you are done.

(Linda) Winfield, KS(Zone 6a)

I have the same problem with my Metal swing. Had it a couple of years and the material starting rotting out. It is about 5 years old now. I told my husband I would like to get a wooden swing and replace the one on the frame. He suggested fixing the frame we already had.

I like the ideal that Zanymuse had about using the webbing.

We got ours from Wal Mart and have tried to get a replacement covers for the swing as will for the canopy. But no good. I did find a place that would make one if I would send them the measurement, but it was a little more then I wanted to spend on it. More then what we even paid for the whole swing and canopy. Could have gotten 2 new ones,

But as craftyjill wrote keep the ideas coming.

Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

OK, the practical side of me for the more "outside of the box" ideas

For a rustic country look: buy several deerskin chamois and sew them together leaving the uneven edges so that you have a patched together piece. Place it over the frame and mark out grommet holes every few inches. Add grommets and lash the cover to the frame with rawhide strips from the craft store. Cover the cushions too or add a couple chamois pillows. Paint on a couple of Indian designs. When it is finished lay back and dream of being an Indian princess floating down a wide river.

Make a cover out of heavy muslin and using that as your base attach tiers of costume hula skirt grass for grass shack look. Make sure to have a coconut shell glass with a tiny umbrella to sip from.

Buy yards of feather boas and wrap them around the frame along with long strings of mardi gras beads and pretend you are riding a mardi gras parade float.

Got an old vertical blind with fabric slats? Weave the slats onto the frame and use a hot glue gun to keep them in place. Got only vinyl slats? weave the cover and wire it onto the frame.

Want a nautical look? Wrap the frame with clothesline rope and tack on a few signal flags.

Check your local thrift shops for an old woven wood shade. Remove the cords and wire it over the frame.

LOL that is all this old brain can think of so far....

oops... edited to add.. Wrap it with Duct tape! Duct tape fixes anything at least some folks seem to think so....and if it looks especially tacky your neighbors might chip in and buy you a new one just to get rid of the eyesore!

This message was edited Aug 15, 2007 9:57 PM

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

I've been lurking, have the same problem with a Walmart metal swing.

Zany, all great ideas, but I love the tropical one. I converted a lean-to built in front of an old camper that I painted to look like wood into a "tiki hut" over-looking the pool. This would be fantastic sitting nearby! Thanks for sharing your ideas!


Pembroke Pines, FL

zanymuse,,,,love your ideas too! I was already thinking about getting some type of chicken wire that I could manipulate and tie on the canapy of the swing. then get some palm leaves on to the chichen wire///trim it and wala...a tiki! Now thets see how many palm trees I will have to sneak up on in my neighborhood. I have a few tall ones that are hard to get to....but living in Florida will not be much trouble to find them.

Still love those ideas coming.

Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

The reason I suggested the grass skirt approach to the tiki hut look is that the palm fronds are like razor blades to handle and the base of the fronds is heavy, hard to cut and difficult to get an even layered look with. The grass is soft to the hand and easy to work with and can be layered easily for a very realistic grass shack look.

next idea: using a strong cord, create a grid effect over the canopy frame. Place a planter at each end of the unit and plant some fast growing vines in them. Train the vines upward around a bamboo pole to reach the height of the canopy frame and then weave it across your corded gridwork trellis. The poles will make it possible to get the vines to the canopy without interfering with the motion of the swing below.

or: Using an oversized crochet hook crochet a cover for it using jute rope instead of yarn. if you use a jumbo hook it will be done in hardly any time at all and would give you a dappled shade effect.

Savannah, TN(Zone 7a)

This thread is starting to remind me of a game that a buddy and I play sometimes called: "No..Wait..I've got it!!" LOL!

Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

So come on and play with me! I know there are lots of people here that are much more creative than I am that can give some really great ideas!

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Zany, you're on a roll...just want to see how many ideas you could come up with first!

Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

LOL the old brain is not as quick as it used to be. I may have run out of steam already. So please pitch in and give this idea thread a boost!

Fort Lauderdale, FL(Zone 10b)

Craftyjill, the marine industry uses SUNBRELLA for interior as well as exterior upholstry. I've included a site where you can read up on this. Also an ebay site selling 12 yards of it. Its extremely durabie, non-fading etc. I've also included site of Florida companies dealing in this type of work. Often, if you give them a call and ask if they have 'leftovers' you can get a bag of large pieces of leftovers for a surprisingly low price. If you are handy with a sewing machine (preferably one thats 'heavy duty' and one that can take a #18 needle and thread (also sold in the same stores), you'll have the cover for many, many years. Sometimes the leftovers will be large pieces, other times much smaller. Make sure you ask the general sizes of the pieces being sold. You'll probably have to 'piece' them but it could be very colourful and interesting if you mix the colours in your 'bag'. Anyhow, I thought you might find this type of material quite suitable and interesting for your Canopy.

Ebay guide to Sunbrella fabrics:
Companies doing marine interior work, using Sunbrella.
Florida marine upholstery co's:
12 yards sunbrella on ebay.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Bedouin, thanks for sharing those links...great info!

Zany, whatcha got now? :)

We live on top of a hill out in the country...a little wind gust will flip our swing without a cover! I've been thinking on putting metal fence posts in the ground at both ends to anchor the swing, then wiring 2' wide chicken wire from the ground on one end, up, over and down the other side, then planting some kind of fast-growing vines on both sides. (Did I mention we have no shade here?)

CraftyJill, I used palm branches tucked under one edge of the roof of my "'tiki hut, the only problem I have with them are I didn't bring home enough. These were fronds I found on the ground that had already turned brown, so are no longer sharp-edged. I just wanted them for "effect". We were staying around Lake Okochobee for awhile, and I found them around the edges of parking lots at grocery stores and little strip malls. No one ever said anything about me picking them up. I used what ever I could find, so have 3 different kinds of fronds. If you used clothes line rope from the $ store, wouldn't cost hardly anything to put together.

(Linda) Winfield, KS(Zone 6a)

msrobin I like your idea about the chicken wire and vines growing up and over your swing I can see it growing and blooming with beautiful flowers.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Thanks! Figured that would be the easiest and cheapest way to go.

Pembroke Pines, FL

Msrobin.....I just found some chicken wire in the street the other day and had the same idea....its just so hot here to grow vines where the swing is. I love the palm leaf leaves still.... I wish I could mail you a bunch....

I have Fibromyalgia so I am confined to bed for days at a time thinking of all these great things I want to do.....but the body doesnt always agree with me. As soon as I am feeling better, I will be out in my yard workin up a storm.

Will send pictures when I finish it!


Scotia, CA(Zone 9b)

Jill, I hope you feel better soon. I am looking forward to seeing your palm leaf canopy but tkae it easy and don't work up any storms out there. Mother nature is doing enough of that already!

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Thanks, Jill. Sorry to hear you aren't feeling well.

I'd love to see your pictures when you get it done! I'm waiting for it to get cooler, too.

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