How to Make an RV Awning

Wondering how to make an RV awning? Good call! An RV awning is a great way to extend the "cozy" living space of the typical RV. Just remember, an RV awning is meant as a sunshade, not a permanent shelter-pull your awning down if bad weather threatens.

How To Make An RV Awning Inexpensively

An RV awning need not be complicated or expensive to do its job. After all, you can't ask more from an RV awning than to provide a bit of shade on a hot summer's day. The following design makes use of simple materials and a classic awning configuration. The awning frame is made up of two side support poles connected to a horizontal header pole that supports the outer edge of the fabric cover. Here's how to get started:

  • What you'll need. Three 12' long sections of threaded galvanized pipe-most large home centers can cut pipe to size and thread the ends; two 90-degree elbow fittings to match pipe; four 12" long stainless steel hinges-select door hinges with installation holes every 2"; two wall-mount outdoor flag holders; enough canvas or synthetic fabric to make a 12' by 10' awning cover-with about an extra foot on all sides for seams and adjustments; a grommet installation kit; eight 1-1/2" stainless steel spring-style key rings.
  • Dry run. Assemble the three pipes using the elbow connecters. Center the frame along the side your RV to determine where the awning will be installed. Mark the side of your RV with chalk along the floor line where the center of the vertical support poles should be installed.
  • Install the flagpole holders. Install the flagpole holders into the sheet metal on the side of the RV at the floor line. Use the dry run marks from the frame assembly to establish the installation points of the holders.
  • Mark the roofline. Using a plumb bob, strike a vertical chalk line from the center of each flag holder to the roofline of your RV. Strike a level chalk line along the roofline between these vertical lines.
  • Install the hinges. Using the level line for reference, install two hinges so that their outer edges match the vertical chalk marks. Center the other two hinges with a four-foot spacing between the first two hinges. Use ¾" stainless steel sheet metal screws with big enough heads to hold the hinges firmly in place. Seal the screw holes with silicone caulk.
  • Create the cover. Measure and cut the cover fabric to create a 12' x 10' awning with a pocket seam on the outer 12' edge big enough to accept the header pole. Fold over and sew the other edges to keep them from fraying. Use nylon thread for all seams.
  • Grommet time. Using the grommet kit, punch holes and install grommets along the inside 12' edge of the awning cover. There should be two grommets for each hinge-make sure the grommet holes line up with the holes in the hinges.
  • Lord of the rings. Thread the key rings through the grommet holes and through the hinge holes so that the inner edge of the awning cover is attached to all four hinges.
  • Put up the top. Insert the header pipe through the pocket seam in the outer edge of the awning cover. Add the elbow connectors and the vertical support pipes. Rest the open ends of the support pipes in the flag holders and lean the awning frame forward. The weight of the pipes will put tension on the awning, holding it taut.
  • Wrap it up. To take the awning down, lift the support pipes out of flag holders and unscrew them. Role the header pipe up in the awning cover toward the hinges. Secure the awning cover with rope or bungee cords for temporary storage. Do not drive the RV with the header pole inserted in the awning.
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