How to Make a Shade Sail With Wire Reinforcements

Item # X-HT-300622

Nothing takes away the fun of relaxing in your outdoor space like not having shade to shield you from direct sunlight and high summer temperatures — especially if the area is too large for an umbrella to cover. If you have a pool, outdoor kitchen or other extra-large entertaining space that's always in the sun, why not sew an extra-large, wire-reinforced shade sail to make the space more comfortable? In this DIY video, we'll show you how.

We'll teach you how to make a DIY shade sail step by step.

We reinforced this shade sail’s edges with stainless steel wire instead of webbing to give the shade extra support. You see, large shade sails with at least one side measuring more than 25 feet long will droop if the edges aren't given extra reinforcement. Metal wire easily supports the weight of excess fabric to keep a larger sail taut and properly tensioned. If adding wire sounds daunting, don’t worry — it’s actually very easy to do.

To make this project even easier, we used the Sailrite® Fabric Calculator to determine how much of each material we needed. It not only told us how much fabric the shade would take, but also how much rope, webbing and other materials the project called for. It even told us what installation hardware to purchase! When you start on your own shade structure DIY, use this convenient tool to make your shopping list.

It's easy to install a shade sail using strong, stainless steel hardware.
Sailrite has the stainless steel hardware you need to hang a shade sail.

Speaking of project materials, it’s important to pick out items that can stand up to constant tension and exposure to the elements. Look for shade fabric that’s highly UV resistant and has a high shade factor. Check out our blog, "How to Choose a Shade Fabric" (#300380XHT), for some helpful tips. As for hardware, you’ll want stainless steel because of its high strength, durability and corrosion resistance.

Ready to transform your large outdoor entertaining space with a wire-reinforced shade sail? Then watch the video below. We’ll walk you through how to sew, install and tension a shade sail. You can do it!

If you want to make a shade sail smaller than 25 feet per side, you can reinforce the edges with webbing instead of stainless steel cable. We have two other blogs to show you how to do just that! Check out "How to Make Shade Sails" (#300183XHT) and "How to Make a 4-Sided Shade Sail" (#300410XHT) to learn how to shade smaller outdoor spaces.


  • Intro — 0:00 min.
  • Design Considerations — 1:14 min.
  • Installing Hardware — 5:18 min.
  • Measuring & Using Fabric Calculator — 6:55 min.
  • Marking & Cutting Fabric — 10:51 min.
  • Basting & Sewing Seam — 16:39 min.
  • Creating Hollow on Sides — 21:20 min.
  • Basting Sleeves — 25:17 min.
  • Creating Sleeve Openings — 29:10 min.
  • Installing D-Ring & Corner Patch — 35:48 min.
  • Sewing Sleeves — 53:15 min.
  • Inserting Wire Rope in Sleeves — 57:10 min.
  • Installing Sail Shade — 1:00:22 min.
  • Adding Guy Wire for Extra Strength — 1:12:28 min.
  • Materials & Tools List — 1:20:31 min.

Materials List:

  • Polyfab Pro™ Eye Bolt With Shoulder, Nut & Washer 3/8" x 6" (10mm) (Stainless Steel) (#120271)
  • Polytex® Aquamarine 150" Shade Cloth Fabric (#120467)
  • Seamstick 3/8" Basting Tape for Canvas (50 yds.) (#129)
  • Sailrite® Clear PTFE Lifetime Thread 4 oz. (825 yds.) (#107128)
  • Polyfab Pro™ Easy-Hold D-Ring 2" (Stainless Steel) (#123959)
  • 2" Blue Polyester Seat Belt Webbing (#200PLSBBL-FT)
  • 7x19 Wire Rope 3/16" x 200' (Stainless Steel) (#122693)
  • Filament Strapping Tape 3/4" (#5643)
  • Forged D Shackle 3/8" (Stainless Steel) (#122727)
  • Jaw & Jaw With Nut Turnbuckle 3/8" (10mm) (Stainless Steel) (#121206)
  • Wire Rope Clamp 3/16" (5mm) (Stainless Steel) (#120771)
  • Extension Chain — 5/16" Coil Chain Zinc Plated (from hardware store)

Tools List:

  • Grease Marking Pencil Yellow (#111002) or White (#101026)
  • Professional Stainless Steel 10" Scissors (#123615)
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" (#102400)
  • Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LSZ Walking Foot Sewing Machine (100-230V) (#300600)
  • Sailrite® Ultrafeed® Industrial Sewing Table (#120934)
  • Sailrite® Tempered Cutting Glass (#121915)
  • Sailrite® Edge Cordless Hotknife 18V Package (#122177)
  • Scratch Awl Yellow (#2354)
  • Yardstick, Drill, Drill Bits, 1/2" PVC Schedule 40 Pipe, Bolt Cutters, Wrenches, General-Purpose Anti-Seize Compound, Latex or Nitrile Gloves, Ladders, Tape