Introduction: Tarp and PVC Canopy Lean-to Workspace

I love woodworking and building random things to solve problems and annoyances around the house. My problem is that my garage is lined with open shelves and expensive exercise equipment and I can't have sawdust all over the place. I use my garage for assembly of these projects but have to do my cutting and sanding outside. I live in Alabama and it's getting unbearably hot. I needed an outdoor workspace that was covered but didn't want to spend $100+ for a quality pop up canopy tent. This is my solution. Enjoy.

Note: This is meant for sunshade only, not rain. If you want to make one used for rain, I'd suggest using pressure treated lumber and beefing up the tarp supports.

Step 1: Plan

I use as many supplies that I already own to cut costs. For the canopy, I am using a 10' by 8' tarp. I plan on one 8' side attaching to my house with hooks screwed into the eave. I plan on mounting a piece of PVC to the other 8' side that has two 90 elbows. Each elbow will have an eye bolt for the support line to attach to. A leg will also attach to each leg for more rigidity of structure. The anchors will be cinder blocks. I want to be able to put up and take down in a few minutes.

Step 2: Supplies and Tools

I had all the tools and some of the supplies. I spent $36.57 before taxes. Prices in parentheses are what I paid at my local Lowes before tax.

1 - tarp
3 - 10' lengths of 1" Schedule 40 PVC ($11.25)
2 - 1" diameter 90-degree PVC Schedule 40 elbow ($2.60)
2 - 1" diameter 90-degree PVC Schedule 40 coupling ($0.92)
2 - 1" diameter PVC Schedule 40 Plug ($1.80)
2 - 1" diameter PVC Schedule 40 Adapter ($1.32)
3 - 4" metal hooks
5 - 2" machine screws*
9 - small washers*
7 - lock nuts*
2 - 1/4" x 4" Zinc eye bolt ($1.04)
2 - 4" full thread bolts*
2 - bungee cords
2 - cinder blocks ($2.76)
PVC primer
PVC cement
Blue Hawk 3/16in x 75ft Diamond Braid Poly rope ($4.78)
* spent $9.82 on the misc hardware, some of which came in larger boxes

Reciprocating saw (or hacksaw)
Tape measure
Dremel (optional)

Step 3: Cut and Glue PVC

Cut the PVC, use whatever kind of saw you are most comfortable with.

Tarp piece: 8'4" long

Legs: 7'

Prime each end of the legs and tarp piece as well as the couplings and elbows. When dry, glue them in place. Tarp piece gets an elbow on each end with the end not glued being threaded. Each leg gets a coupling on one end and a threaded adapter on the other. Let dry.

Step 4: Attach Hardware and Tarp to PVC

Mark where the grommets are onto the tarp piece of PVC. Drill holes for the bolts to attach. I used some scrap wood to make a jig to drill straight and center into the PVC. Insert machine screws with washers, then tarp, then washer, then lock nut. Once all were in place I used my Dremel to cut off the excess to make sure the screws didn't pierce the tarp.

In the corner of the elbow, drill a hole for the eye bolt. Insert with washers on each end and tighten with a lock nut. I also cut off the over hanging part with my dremel.

Step 5: End Cap and Spike

Ever tried to hammer a tent stake into red clay in the summer when it hasn't rained in three weeks? If not, it's impossible. These little guys will stick in enough to hold the leg still though.

Drill hole through each end cap in the center. Insert bolt with small washer on the inside with a large washer and lock nut on outside. Tighten all the way down. Don't cut off the excess as this serves as the spike to put in the ground. Hammer into the leg couplings on each leg. I did not glue the caps into place incase they need to be removed.

Step 6: Attach Support Lines

Cut lengths of whatever kind if rope you use. I used diamond braid poly rope that's bright red for visibility.

Attach to eye bolt with a figure 8 follow through knot. There may be better knots to use but I like this one as it's strong and easy to remember. Tie a loop knot at the other end for attaching the bungee cord.

Step 7: Attach Hooks to the Eave for Tarp Connection

Measure out placement for the hooks. Drill holes into the eave and screw the hooks in place.

Step 8: Place Tarp on the Hooks

Hook tarp in place. Hooks are in line for each corner and the center grommet.

Step 9: Attach Legs to the Tarp Piece

Screw legs into the elbows, but not too tightly. Stick cap spikes into the ground.

Step 10: Run Support Lines

Use cinder blocks as anchors. Again, rock hard red clay. I have a rope attached to each cinder block. Use a bungee cord to attach each support line to the cinder blocks. This way it's not so rigid and will have some give and should help prevent the tarp from tearing.

Step 11: Admire Completion

All done. Adjust the support lines and cinder block placement as needed. The legs as well. Setup shop underneath away from the brutal sun.

Step 12: Put Away

Unhook lines from the cinder blocks. Unscrew legs from tarp piece. Unhook tarp from house. Lay flat with the underside exposed. Place legs inside next to the tarp piece. Tuck support lines and bungee cords inside.

Note: I noticed a flaw at this point that the bolts at bottom of legs are exposed and could potentially poke a hole in the tarp. I fixed this by cutting a length of 7/8" dowel and drilling a hole for the spike bolts to screw into.

Wrap up the tarp with all the goodies inside. I used small bungees to wrap up and hold shut the canopy for storage. Stack out of the way until the next project arises.

Thanks for viewing my Instructable!!!

And Roll Tide!!!

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