How Do You Make A Shade Cloth For A Greenhouse?

Growing plants in a greenhouse is the best way to protect them from the elements. A shade cloth can help keep your plants healthy and happy by blocking out too much sun or wind. 

You can make a shade cloth for your greenhouse using a few simple steps, but you might be surprised to learn that there are many different types of shade cloths that offer different benefits for greenhouses. 

Here’s what you need to know about making your own shade cloth for your greenhouse:

Putting Shade Cloth on the Greenhouse!
Building a shade cloth for a greenhouse requires careful construction and reinforcement of the canopy top.
Folding a shade cloth properly is essential for easy storage and transport.
Attaching a canopy to a chuppah can provide an elegant and functional setup for special events.
Repairing an EZ-Up canopy can extend its lifespan and ensure continued functionality.
Unlocking a canopy may require specific techniques and tips for a smoother process.

How To Make A Shade Cloth For A Greenhouse?

Take the measurements. You need to know how many square feet of shade cloth you’ll need, so measure your greenhouse and determine how much material you will require.

Choose the fabric. There are many types of materials that work well as shade cloths, including polyethylene film and woven fibres like cotton or hemp. 

Each option has its advantages: polyethylene film can be purchased in large rolls at relatively low cost but is prone to tearing if not handled properly; woven fibres are more durable than polyethylene film but tend to be more expensive due to their higher production costs. 

Once you have chosen your preferred fabric type and color, consider whether it should be printed or plain (the latter can help reduce glare).

Attach the shade cloth using grommets or cable ties around any openings in your greenhouse walls or roofing systems (such as ventilation ports). 

The holes through which these attachments go will prevent light from entering through them by casting shadows over them instead – thereby preventing unwanted growth within those spaces without blocking all sunlight completely!

When constructing a shade cloth for a greenhouse, it’s crucial to reinforce the canopy top for stability and durability. Our easy tip guide on reinforcing a canopy top provides valuable insights and techniques to ensure a strong and reliable shade solution.

Can You Use An Old Window As A Shade Cloth?

If you have an old window, it can be used as a shade cloth. This would be a temporary solution and should only be used in areas that do not need to be protected from the elements. 

For example, if you’re working on an area of your garden that is exposed to strong winds or heavy rain, you might use an old window as a way to protect plants while they grow in.

Should I Cover My Greenhouse At Night?

You should cover your greenhouse at night, because it will extend the growing season. If you don’t cover it, you’ll have to wait until early morning to start watering and feeding your plants. 

The reason for this is that they can get damaged by cold temperatures if they’re exposed to them at night.

What is a Shade Cloth?

A shade cloth, sometimes called a frost cloth or a cooling blanket, is a piece of fabric that’s used to cover your greenhouse. 

Shade cloths can help with many things. They keep the temperature in the greenhouse cooler by blocking sunlight and they also keep it warmer by stopping heat loss through convection.

Shade cloths are also great at preventing damage to plants caused by too much heat, like sunburned leaves or wilting plants.

Are you struggling with folding your shade cloth for the greenhouse? Our easy guide on folding a pop-up canopy offers step-by-step instructions and useful tips to make the process seamless and hassle-free.

How Long Do Shade Cloths Last?

A shade cloth will last for years if it’s not exposed to direct sunlight. If you put it in a greenhouse, it can last for up to five years before needing replacement. 

In a garden, expect your shade cloth to last from three to five years if left under the sun without protection from UV rays by placing them on top of wire fencing or burying them within clay pots filled with sand or dirt (this is an excellent way of protecting plants that are growing in containers).

Can You Use Burlap As A Shade Cloth?

Burlap is a good shade cloth choice because it’s inexpensive, durable, and can last for many years. 

However, it isn’t UV resistant or UV protected so you’ll have to reapply sunscreen to your plants. Burlap isn’t waterproof either you’ll need to re-dampen the cloth every few days during dry spells (or use a more weatherproof material).

BurlapShade Cloth
Made from natural jute or sisal fibersMade from synthetic materials like polyethylene or polyester
Provides moderate shade and airflowOffers customizable levels of shade and airflow
May deteriorate and degrade over time due to weather exposureDesigned to withstand outdoor elements and have longer lifespan
Offers a rustic and natural aestheticAvailable in various colors and styles to suit different preferences
Can be less effective in blocking UV raysSpecifically designed to provide UV protection
Examples: Hessian burlap, jute fabricExamples: Aluminet shade cloth, knitted shade cloth

How Do You Make A Cheap Shade Cloth?

Buy a used tarp. Tarp fabric is cheap and readily available. The cost is so low that you can make your own shade cloth for a greenhouse out of two or three old tarps.

Use an old window. If you have an old window lying around the house, it may be helpful to turn it into a shade cloth for your greenhouse by covering it with tarps or heavy duty plastic sheets. Your kids will love helping with this project!

Make a shade cloth from burlap. Burlap is another inexpensive option that does not require sewing skills to put together (but does require some elbow grease). 

Simply sew strips of burlap together until you have enough material to cover your greenhouse windows and then attach them using staples or duck tape as needed. 

You can also use this method if you want something more colorful than just plain white burlap but don’t feel like sewing anything together yourself – simply cut squares out of different colored fabrics instead! 

For example: blue/gray striped burlap would look great on any sized greenhouse window so long as they are all laid flat against each other without being wrinkled up at all times during storage because wrinkles would cause light leaks during sunny days which would defeat their purpose completely.

Attaching a canopy to a chuppah requires careful consideration to create a beautiful and functional setup. Discover the best practices in our guide on attaching a canopy to a chuppah and create an elegant ambiance for your special event.

What Is The Difference Between UV Resistant And UV Protected?

Both UV resistant and UV protected fabrics protect your plants from the sun’s rays. However, there is a difference between the two.

The main difference between these fabrics and their effect on plant life is that UV resistant fabrics are not as effective at protecting against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UV light) as UV protected fabrics. 

This means that if you use a shade cloth that is only “resistant” to UV light, your plants may still end up suffering from the effects of too much direct sunlight exposure.

As such, you should opt for a product that has been labeled as “protected” or “fully protected” instead of just being labeled as “resistant”.

Is Waterproof Fabric Water Resistant?

Waterproof fabric is not water resistant. It’s not waterproof, either. It does not repel water and it doesn’t keep it out entirely.

Waterproof fabrics are made to be as close to 100% impermeable as possible without being completely sealed shut they’re designed to resist liquid water and moisture so long as they’re not subject to direct pressure or puncture. 

In other words, if you were to use a waterproof fabric for a greenhouse roof or walls by itself (without any other layers or protection), you’d want it to stay dry in heavy rain but still allow some airflow through the material so that condensation won’t build up on your plants’ leaves inside your greenhouse during humid summer days.

Waterproof FabricsWater-Resistant Fabrics
Designed to completely repel waterDesigned to resist the penetration of water
Offers a high level of protection against rain and moistureProvides moderate protection against light rain and moisture
Typically made with specialized coatings or laminationsOften treated with durable water repellent (DWR) finishes
Ideal for outdoor gear, rain jackets, and tentsSuitable for light outdoor activities and everyday apparel
Examples: GORE-TEX®, eVent®Examples: DWR-treated nylon, polyester blends

How Tight Should A Shade Sail Be?

If you have a shade sail that has been up for a while, the tension may need to be adjusted. The following steps will help you tighten or loosen your shade cloth:

Tighten the Shade Sail – When you want to tighten the tension on your shade sail, pull on each corner until it is taut. 

Make sure all four corners are even and level with one another before securing them together with clips or rings.

Loosen the Shade Sail – If you find that your shade cloth is too tight and needs to be loosened, simply remove any clips or rings from each corner of the greenhouse and pull back on that side of the cover until it is more loose than before (but still taut). 

Then secure all four corners again using clips or rings in order to keep it at its new length as desired.

Is your EZ-Up canopy in need of repair? Our pro tips on fixing an EZ-Up canopy will help you troubleshoot common issues and restore your canopy’s functionality, ensuring long-lasting performance.

Should I Put Shade Sails On My Pergola?

Pergolas are a great way to provide shade for your patio or pool. They can be expensive to buy, and if you don’t have the money for a custom one, it may be tempting to simply try some shade sails.

But should you?

The answer is yes! Shade sails are a very affordable option that can give you access to all of the benefits of having an overhead pergola without breaking the bank (or breaking any bones). 

The best part about these is that they can also be removed easily when not needed making them perfect for seasonal use or even just as an extra layer of protection during inclement weather when temperatures drop below freezing at night and rise above 100 degrees during daytime hours.

Provides additional shade and UV protectionMay require professional installation
Enhances the aesthetics of your pergolaCan be expensive depending on the quality and size of the shade sails
Offers flexibility in adjusting shade coverageRequires regular maintenance and cleaning
Increases privacy and creates a more intimate spaceCan be less durable compared to other shade options
Allows better control of sunlight and temperatureMay obstruct views or natural light

Are shade sails worth it?

Shade cloth is a great way to reduce the temperature of your greenhouse and keep plants cool in the summer. 

It can also help reduce the amount of water you need to use, which is important when you are growing in a greenhouse because temperatures tend to be higher, causing plants to transpire more.

Shade sails are inexpensive and easy to install – they come in rolls up to 100 feet long. You simply cut them down into pieces as needed, stretch them across your structure and tie them in place with rope or twine.

They can be used on any type of structure, from small garden sheds up through commercial greenhouses (and even some commercial buildings). 

If you’re handy with tools then this may not be something you’d want someone else doing for you; however there are plenty of professionals who will install shade sails so all you have left is setting them up once they’re delivered!

Unlocking a canopy can sometimes be a challenging task. Explore our expert tips on unlocking a canopy and gain valuable insights to make the process easier and more efficient.


Now, you know a little bit more about how to make a shade cloth for your greenhouse, and what to expect from the process. 

If you’re looking for another way to create shade for your greenhouse or garden shed, check out our post on DIY shade sails.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources for further reading on shade cloth for greenhouses:

Growing Greenhouse: Greenhouse Shade Cloth: Learn about the benefits and uses of shade cloth in greenhouses, as well as different types and installation methods.

Best Farming Tips: How to Construct a Shade House with Shade Cloth for Greenhouse DIY: Discover step-by-step instructions and DIY tips for constructing a shade house with shade cloth specifically for greenhouses.

Greenhouse Emporium: Internal vs. External Shade Cloths for Greenhouse: Explore the differences between internal and external shade cloths for greenhouses and their respective benefits and considerations.


Here are some frequently asked questions about shade cloth for greenhouses:

What are the advantages of using shade cloth in a greenhouse?

Shade cloth in a greenhouse provides protection from excessive sunlight, reducing heat buildup, preventing plant stress, and minimizing the risk of sunburn or scorching.

How do I choose the right shade cloth for my greenhouse?

When selecting a shade cloth for your greenhouse, consider factors such as the desired level of shading, UV protection, airflow requirements, durability, and the specific needs of your plants.

Can I use shade cloth both internally and externally in my greenhouse?

Yes, you can use shade cloth both internally and externally in a greenhouse. Internal shade cloths are installed inside the greenhouse structure, while external shade cloths are installed on the outside to block sunlight before it reaches the greenhouse.

How do I install shade cloth in my greenhouse?

Shade cloth installation involves securely attaching the cloth to the greenhouse frame or structure, ensuring proper tension and coverage. Different installation methods, such as clip-on or lacing systems, can be used depending on the design of your greenhouse.

How often should I replace or clean the shade cloth in my greenhouse?

The frequency of shade cloth replacement or cleaning depends on factors such as the material used, environmental conditions, and maintenance practices. Regular inspection and cleaning are recommended to maintain the effectiveness and longevity of the shade cloth.