I have recently painted the inside and outside of my house. I was so proud of myself for doing this and stood back to admire my hard work and straight away these awful blinds jumped out at me. They were so faded and were literally falling apart from sitting outside in the elements for so long. I felt it was definitely time to replace my retractable awning canvas fabric
These canvas awnings blinds were already installed when we bought our home 15 years ago so they have served us well. I called in our local blinds and awnings guy and he quoted $850 to replace the awning canvas on both windows. I feel I am a pretty handy person and it looked pretty straightforward to me. So I thought I would have a go at replacing the canvas fabric myself. If I did fail I could always go back to the awning guy holding my head down in shame and ask him for help. But it turned out to be easier than I thought and they only cost me $300 total.
How to replace retractable awning canvas
*This post may contain affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission on links used at no extra cost to you. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.**
Removing the old canvas from the awning
Removing the blind was as simple as removing two bolts from each side. There was one that attached the arm to the front bar the other went into the groove that holds the canvas.
To remove the old canvas I had to drill out the old pop rivets. This will allow the end cap to come off and the fabric can slide out of the groove.
The top pole was slightly different because it has what looks like a spring-loaded gadget at one end. I left that side and drilled out the pop rivets from the other side. I was not sure if removing that side would have any effect but I did not want to take a chance and break it. The bottom left image shows the spring-loaded side.
Once you have removed the canvas you can remove the thin PVC rods from inside the hems and put them aside for safekeeping. The rods in mine were different so take note of which one goes where. The tops seam on mine had a black softer more rubbery type of rod and the bottom was a hard white PVC one.
The size of the windows for these pull-down awnings was 1800mm x 1200mm. I was lucky enough to still have the old awning that I could use as a template for making the new ones. I took measurements from the old awning which I used as a guide to order my new canvas. The canvas I chose was 183cm wide and I order 6 metres which was far too much. I ordered the extra to make sure I had enough to match the pattern when I joined the fabric together to get the full width.
You will also need a suitable UV bonded nylon thread, UV polypropylene binding for the scalloped edges and Heavy-duty needles.
Measure your fabric
I lay the old fabric on the floor and took down all the measurements.
The measurements below were the sizes of the canvas awning before sewing the hems and seams.
The measurement below was after sewing.
My first mistake was to believe the canvas fabric I bought would be straight, luckily I figured this out on the first piece I cut. I would advise using a square ruler and cutting a straight edge before you start. Once I had a straight edge I cut 3 panels which were 1450cm in length. You may need a fourth panel if you are unable to match up the pattern on the canvas.
Matching up the pattern
I found a matching pattern in the fabric and cut away the excess using the line on the fabric as a guide. I did allow for a 30mm overlapping seam where the two pieces are joined together.
You can pin these together to make it easier to sew them later. Repeat this for the second awning.
Marking the seams
Next, I added a 30mm border around the top and the sides of the blind. This was to use as a guide when sewing the hems. I tried to iron the hems into the canvas but they kept going crooked.
I ended up using a metal ruler and putting it in the inside line of the hem and folding the hem over the ruler.
You can then use the ruler to flatten the outside. This worked brilliantly and the hems stayed flat for easy sewing. Repeat this with all the hems.
Making the scalloped edge
You can have a straight edge for the front but I liked the look of the scalloped edge. I had no idea how to do this and my way was a little long-winded but it worked. I browsed the internet for the shape that I wanted and printed it on A4 paper 5 times.
I cut out the wavy lines and taped them together to get my scalloped edge. While I was tracing the lines I found the paper was very thin and kept moving. The make the template thicker I added some thick kraft paper to the back.
It was here I realized it would be easier to make the template the actual size of the scalloped edge. This will allow me to butt the template up against the 20mm hemline to ensure I have an even scalloped edge.
When you draw the scallops on the fabric make sure you leave a 30mm edge on either side, this will stop the fabric from tearing.
The thicker template made it so much easier and quicker to trace around the scalloped edges.
You will need a decent pair of scissors to cut the canvas. You can now sew the hems and join the panels together.
I did a double line of stitches for the hems. When I originally google if I could sew canvas with a standard sewing machine it said yes, for short term use. My sewing machine is just a cheap basic one and it did struggle to sew the canvas. I had to borrow one from a friend, it could be that mine was just too light duty.
Adding the UV polypropylene binding
If you are having a scalloped edge you will need to add UV polypropylene binding to stop the canvas edges from fraying. The binding I used was 25mm in width. I did try to pin the binding in place first but the pins kept snapping and bending. It worked out easier to add the binding as you sew doing a small section at a time. I folded the binding in half around the scalloped edge and sewed it into place.
You can now replace the PVC rods back into the seams.
Fitting the canvas to the awning roller
This was the hardest part of doing the awnings myself. I thought it would be as simple as pushing the fabric through the groove, but it was not.
It could have been because canvas fabric was too thick where I had joined them together on the seams. I had to call in my husband to help in the end. He pulled the fabric from one end while I pushed it from the other side. The thicker join did still pop out from time to time but I used a flat screwdriver to push it back in place.
The fabric slid into the front bar a bit easier which could have been because the PVC rod was more rigid.
Next, I replaced the end caps and added new pop rivets to hold them in place.
The awning is now ready to hang. The awning roller fitted in a hole on one side and a slot on the other. I rolled the fabric around the roller by hand and bolted the arms back into the end caps. Finally, I replaced the screws that went into the end of the seam that holds the PVC rod.
More DIY projects
See how I turned this old dresser from trash to treasure.
Unicorn spit stain and glaze are so popular at the moment. Check out this simple method to create this beautiful effect on glass.
If you are looking for any of the items used in this project, please consider using our links. By clicking on the links we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Which helps us come up with new and exciting ideas to share with you. Please feel free to share or leave a comment we would love to hear your thoughts.
mariaApril 25, 2022 at 10:06 pm
Wow, you did an amazing job, love the fabric, its almost identical. I have these canvas chairs that I want to replace, its kind of same what you did. I may try it. If I can find them in my storage unit.
Anita HollandApril 26, 2022 at 5:31 pm
Thank you Maria, I was thrilled how well they turned out and I was dreading it. But it was easier than I thought, so jump in and dig those chairs out.
SaraApril 26, 2022 at 3:15 am
Nothing better than fresh paint and new awnings to add to curb appeal. Well done Anita!
Anita HollandApril 26, 2022 at 5:32 pm
Thanks Sara, I was so happy how it all turned out. This is the back of my house, I am still working on another decor for my walls because they look so bare.
Rosemary PalmerApril 26, 2022 at 4:12 am
It’s great the mechanism part was still able to be used. We bought a roll up shade for the balcony of our apartment and it helps so much.
Anita HollandApril 26, 2022 at 5:33 pm
Thanks Rosemary, I was lucky because I think that would be expensive to replace the whole awning.
KippiApril 27, 2022 at 1:17 pm
You did an amazing job replacing the awning fabric!
Anita HollandApril 27, 2022 at 6:11 pm
Thank you so much Kippi.
Michelle LeslieApril 27, 2022 at 10:25 pm
Super impressed, Anita. We had awnings at our previous home and they were looking just as bad as your old ones. I just left them, because they seemed like such a bother to replace. Wish I’d seen your tutorial back then. Those things come in so handy with the kind of weather we get.
Anita HollandApril 30, 2022 at 8:17 am
Thanks, Michelle.They are super handy when it gets to temps of 40plus, I suppose that is why they got so bad.
MarieMay 25, 2022 at 3:44 pm
This is so handy. They look great. My husband and I have been thinking to add a retractable awning to it back porch. Just need to carve out time!
Anita HollandMay 27, 2022 at 3:18 pm
Thank Marie, I kept putting it off for years too until I painted the outside and they looked so bad.