Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Making a Summer Canopy - Using Milk Jugs and....

A while back I had a collection of old milk jugs in my garage. They had such a great look and history to them. Even though I could not figure out a way to salvage them, I could not stand the idea of getting rid of them.  I just needed time and I knew eventually an idea would click!

When I got a call from Good Housekeeping magazine asking me to design some fun summer DIY projects, I knew I had to use them in some way.  It was a blistering, hot summer day when I was working on the project ideas, so naturally the thought of a shady place came to mind.  A shady place; I had finally thought of a great solution to put the milk jugs to use!

Make a Garden Canopy

Milk containers, summer day
What you will need:

Sunbrella or outdoor waterproof fabric (buy the width of the fabric x desired length.)
Ours is 72" long.  Once you have all of the pieces this project is easy to put together.
(4) large size grommets and grommet kit * fabric stores like Joanne Fabrics
(4) closet poles cut to 72 inches
(4) vintage milk  jug containers  (flea market item, junk shop or at second hand shops)
(4) 40 Lb. bags of sand
(4) plastic 8" garden pots  ( you will find these at the garden center, these are the pots you buy your plants in at the nursery)
(4) large size T cup hooks  
(4) tent stakes

At each corner of your fabric add one grommet. 1" down from top of each closet pole screw in one T cup hook. The T cup hook will hold fabric in place at grommet.

The garden pot will help hold the closet pole in the milk container. The garden pot should fit snugly into the top of the milk jug container. Before placing inside you will need to cut a hole the exact diameter of the closet pole in the bottom center of the pot. When the pole stands upright in the container it will slide through this hole and be centered in the milk jug.

First stand pole in milk jug so it is vertical and centered. Pour sand into milk jug and around the pole.  The sand will give the jug extra weight and help hold the pole in place. Place the garden pot over the pole and slide down into place inside the top of the jug. 

Place all of the jugs the correct distance apart for fabric canopy. Make sure all of the T cup hooks are facing inwards. Hook the fabric to T cup hooks.

Staking canopy: At the top of each pole, wrap and tie one end of the twine (about 8').  Use the cup hook to anchor.  At the opposite end of the twine, attach the tent stakes.  Push the stakes into the ground pulling to hold the closet poles straight and the canopy taut.

Milk containers, tent


  1. Cute & clever!
    We were discussing something like this for a quick cover using something other than milk jugs. But I'm sure farmhouse decor loving ladies will love your idea! The bright colored sunbrella is certainly fun.

  2. This looks like such a lovely place to spend time! Well done and thanks for sharing!

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