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How to make your own shade sail

After fitting a small - very small - shade sail outdoors to cover my outdoor sofa I decided to rather make my own much larger shade sail to provide shade outdoors, and save quite a bit of money in the process!


The new shade sail is fitted over the top of the existing shade sail and provides far more shade than the little triangle-shaped sail that cost R700, but is now priced just under R1000.

The shade net for  the sail cost R58 per metre and I used 5 metres, plus I needed nylon cord at R40 for a 15 metre length. So the shade sail cost me just over R300 - a saving of about R1000 over a bought version of the same size. 





Was it difficult to make... definitely not. The tricky part is cutting the fabric to get the shape right. You don't cut a straight-edged triangle, but rather curve the edges inwards slightly. And although I made another triangular shade sail, you can make one in any shape.


Shade net

Nylon line

Eye hooks if mounting on timber / expansion bolts if mounting to walls

Sewing machine and accessories



1. Fold the fabric in half and lay flat in an area that allows you to cut neatly. Taper the cut inwards as you cut half the triangle shape from one end to the other.

2. Use a sewing machine to double fold and sew a double row of running stitches along the fold. I thought sewing on  the machine would be difficult, but it was actually quite easy.  Don't sew right to the end just yet.

3. When you reach just before 10cm from the edge, insert the rope and sew this closed. Run the stitches over the nylon line here and there to secure firmly inside the net sheath. Go slowly so as not to break your sewing needle and if you find that the machine just won't sew along the line, remove it and do this by hand. I didn't have any problem but not everyone's sewing machine is the same. 

4. When you are joining together two folded-over sections you will find it difficult to sew over these, so only do what you can and continue to sew closed by hand.

Use a lighter to melt the cut edges of the nylon line to prevent unraveling.

Secure your shade sail to large trees using eye hooks, or drill for expansion bolts if mounting to walls