How to Make a Slide-On Wire-Hung Canopy
Add extra shade and style to your outdoor living space with a wire-hung canopy system. These billowing shades easily slide on the cables they hang from so you can have shade when you want it and retract them when you want a little more sun. A wire-hung canopy can be installed on any pergola or other freestanding structure. Our comprehensive video will show you step-by-step how to sew your own canopy panels and install them on a pergola.
To make planning your slide-on wire-hung canopy easier, we created a new Wire-Hung Canopy Fabric Calculator just for this project. By inputting the dimensions of your structure and the width of your fabric you’ll not only get a fabric rendering, but you’ll also get a breakdown of how to build your canopy and a complete, custom materials list based on your measurements.
When it comes to choosing a fabric for this project, we recommend using either Phifertex® Plus or Sunbrella® Marine Grade. Both provide good shade and durability out in the elements. If you choose to use Sunbrella Marine Grade, though, you will need to install drainage grommets in the center of each span (the loop that hangs down) so rainwater won’t gather on the panels. Since Phifertex Plus is a mesh, it will drain the water on its own, making the grommet unnecessary.
In addition to sewing the panels and installing them on your structure, this video also outlines how to add a rope pulley system for easily opening and closing the shades. This system allows you to control the movement of all three panels from a single rope pull on one of your pergola poles. The pulley system is optional, but is an addition that we highly recommend.
If you decide not to use the rope pulley system, a long webbing strap can be used to open and close the canopy. Sew webbing into a loop and insert it under the center strap eye at the back of each canopy. This can then be used to manually move the canopy.
Here's a PDF download with instructions and a photo tutorial of how to make the alternative webbing strap system.
If you would prefer fewer panels on your canopy, that is possible. Click the green button below to download a diagram showing an alternative way to install the eye bolts and turnbuckles. The diagram will show you how to route the wiring for this panel installation method. We recommend that your wire runs be placed no more than 44 inches apart. If you would like a quote for a custom wire-hung canopy kit made to your specifications, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would prefer fewer wider width panels on your canopy, that is possible. If your canopy is wider than 60 inches and you want to install the "Pulley Open/Close System" we recommend that you attach two or more separate lines to the retractable end of the canopy. Download the PDF below to learn how to install this alternative system. At this time, the Sailrite Fabric Calculator does not figure the correct amount of hardware for canopies that are 60 inches or wider. Pelase contact email@example.com for a custom quote.
Footnote: This blog was updated in April 2021 to include information and diagram regarding an alternative pulley system for wide canopies.