Party Canopy

We wanted a wedding canopy to decorate Dev's reception. So Bob got his brain out and thought up this:

Test set up 2 months before the event.
The square in the middle was to figure out how much of a dance floor we thought we needed and to figure table and chair placement. The shaded wedges represent the fabric spokes. We had strings of lights in the open spaces between the wedges.

The canopy was 1/2 Oval with solid walls and a spoked ceiling. At the widest it was 70-feet. It had a depth of 40-feet from the center pole to the back and middle of the oval. The center pole was a heavy duty light pole and was probably the most important part of the structure.

The canopy is made from pipe and rail. Pipe and rail is nothing more than EMT electrical conduit (in our case 1" found fairly inexpensively at Home Depot or Lowes) and canopy fittings (generally found at army surplus and camping stores or can be ordered online from many places including

To get the curve, Bob made custom canopy fittings to match the angles needed. Most standard canopy fittings come in only 90°, 180° and 45°. The custom fittings were made from a slightly larger diameter chain link fence pipe (also found at Home Depot or Lowes). He cut, bent and welded it together.

The 7-foot uprights and 10-foot horizontal pieces were EMT electrical conduit. The "feet" of each upright was a 3-foot EMT hooked to the upright with a 4 way edge fitting (You can see a picture of this fitting at Look under "1-inch fittings for flat top canopy"). Sandbags were placed on each foot. You can call your local fire department and they will lend you the sand and the sandbags. You will supply the shovels and sweat.

The fabric was purchased at SAS Fabrics 1111 East Indian School Road 85014 (there are also SAS Fabrics in Tempe and the west valley). The fabric ended up being about $1 a linear yard if I remember right. It was 108" wide which was perfect for what we needed it for. We purchased 138 yards of the fabric.

We cut one long piece of fabric to follow the wall and attached it at the top rails with PVC clips. These clips were made from 1" thin walled (200 PSI) PVC pipe. The thin walled part is important because the inner diameter must be large enough to clip over the 1" EMT. The PVC pipe was cut into 4-inch to 6-inch pieces. He then created a C shape from the PVC pipe by making to cuts to the length. You might want to sand these edges so they don't cut into the fabric when you clip it to the pipe.

Because the fabric was shear we used additional fabric at each upright, gathered and hanging vertically.

The fabric ceilings spokes were fastened to the walls the same way and then gathered to the center pole. They were fastened to the pole with metal macrame rings (Joanns Fabrics and Crafts) and quick links (Home Depot) . The fabric was attached the macrame rings by running the end of the fabric through the ring and zip tying it to itself. The pole was dark green so we covered it up by making bishop's sleeves with the fabric down the entire length. No sewing was involved. We just loosely wrapped the fabric around the pole at the top and then, in intervals, zip tied it around the pole leaving poofs of fabric hanging to cover up where we had gathered it with the zip ties. At the bottom we just let it puddle. We hid that crazy looking mess where the ceiling spokes came together with the tissue paper flowers we made and hung around the reception area.

The night before the reception there was a BIG wind. We had to resecure a few of the fabric spokes as they came unclipped. We also had to rehang almost all of the tissue paper flowers. We had lots of help from friends, our family and the grooms family. Big sigh of relief!!

No comments:

Post a Comment