For your warm weather projects (think umbrellas and pillows), make use of canvas: It's a sturdy, weather-resistant fabric that's cool to the touch and laidback in style.
Photography: Pernille Loof1 of 8
Traditionally the stuff of sails, tents, and totes, canvas is a sturdy, weather-resistant fabric that's cool to the touch and telegraphs laid-back style, making it a stellar choice for DIY projects this time of year. Our fuss-free ideas (we're talking iron-ons and spray paint) will cut a chic swath through your home or patio, and make any afternoon in the backyard feel like a vacation.
Take, for instance, our day bed pictured here: This lounger is actually two twin beds that come as a set and stack securely, so you can double your space for chilling (or sleeping). We painted the frame with Benjamin Moore Advance semigloss paint in Boothbay Gray (benjaminmoore.com). And as the custom touch, we cut out rounded shapes from cotton-duck canvas—and applied heat-bonding adhesive—to decorate a set of plain outdoor pillows. Shift your line of sight and see how we used it pictured right: we stretched easy-to-wipe waxed canvas (a perfect safeguard against accidental spills and stains) over the top of a small game table. There are almost limitless opportunities to what canvas can do: If you're handy with a sewing machine, you can stitch together a set of summertime pails used to schlep your wettest, messiest stuff, like muddy garden supplies, sandy beach toys, and freshly picked goods from the farm fields. It's a great material to look for in your outdoor décor: umbrellas for the poolside, a tent for your glamping adventures, or even a pair of place mats to entertain in the backyard—rain or shine.
Created by Lorna Aragon
Photography: Pernille Loof2 of 8
Deck Out a Daybed
We're dreaming bigger and cushier than the typical outdoor sofa. Stretch a sleek canvas cover over a twin-size bed's mattress, and you have a Mediterranean-style spot for napping, binge-reading, or ice-pop eating in damp swimsuits. (You can whip off the topper and throw it in the wash if need be.) Embellishing plain pillows with bold shapes is a no-sew project you can handle on slow summer speed, too. Buy a few yards of cotton-duck canvas in two colors, cut out rounded shapes, and iron them on using fusible web, a heat-bonding adhesive. (Stitch the edges to make them extra-secure, if you like.) Then sink back and stay awhile.
Slipcover Shop Brushed Natural-Canvas Mattress Covers, $75 each for a twin, slipcovershop.com; JoAnn Duck Canvas in Grass, $10 a yd., joann.com. Big Duck Canvas Duck Cloth in Potting Soil Brown 10 oz., $12 a yd., bigduckcanvas.com; IKEA Utåker Stackable Twin Bed, $389, ikea.com.
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Here's a weekend twofer: You can give an older table new life while creating a spiffy surface for books and board games. Stretch easy-to-wipe waxed canvas around its top; you don't need special upholstering skills—just a staple gun and a little patience. (The trick to a neat finish is folding 90-degree hotel corners.) Tap in upholstery tacks to secure the fabric, and polish off a sophisticated place to play.
Photography: Pernille Loof4 of 8
These cylindrical totes really hold water, and that isn't just a figure of speech: Campers and boaters call on lightweight canvas buckets to swab the decks or lug their drinking and cooking supplies. The pails can also schlep your wettest, messiest stuff, such as muddy garden supplies, sandy beach toys, and fresh flowers from the farmers' market. Two more winning features? You can hose them down when they get dirty, and collapse them into small, flat bundles for transit. To ward off grass stains and give them a shot of style, spray-paint the bottoms: Wrap the tops in rosin paper and secure it with a sharp line of painters' tape, then bring on your bold new bases.
Photography: Pernille Loof5 of 8
Your cabana is calling. To turn a basic, inexpensive side table into a rock-steady stand for a wide canvas umbrella (and perch for your magazines and rosé), you just need a drill and a dream. Fit yours with a round hole-saw bit the same width as your umbrella pole, and mark the center of a table with painters' tape; in addition to helping you hit the bull's-eye, the tape prevents a hollow MDF table, like this style, from splintering. Drill through, sand any rough edges, touch up the tabletop with paint, and let it dry. Then drop in your umbrella, pull up a few sling-back canvas chairs, and go undercover, resort-style.
Sunbrella SimplyShade Catalina Octagon Aluminum Market Umbrella, 7.5' in Sunbrella Natural, $230, bedbathandbeyond.com; IKEA Lack Side Table in High Gloss White, $15, ikea.com. Business & Pleasure Co. "The Tommy Chairs" in Vintage Yellow Stripe, $199 each, businessandpleasureco.com.
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Set a table this striking, and you'll be eating up compliments the next time you entertain. To make our custom color-block place mats, cut out rectangles of yellow and white waxed canvas. Rather than hemming the edges, gently pull a few loose threads to give them a frayed finish. Then stitch on contrasting pockets so you can tuck in flatware, and go spot- on with plates.
Fairfield Textile Army Duck with Martexin Original Wax, 10.10 oz. in Natural and Slicker Yellow, $17 a yd., fairfieldfabrics.com; CB2 Drift Matte Yellow Plates (similar to shown), from $10 each, cb2.com; Hawkins New York Highland Flatware in Black, $90 for a 5-piece set, hawkinsnewyork.com.
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Make way, mules. Later, flip-flops. Espadrilles are the classic kicks of summer. More breathable than sneakers and substantial enough for graveled and cobblestoned vacation meanderings, the canvas- and-rope creations have been soigné since way before Coco Chanel put her initials on them. (They trace all the way back to 14th-century Spain, in fact.) Your pair doesn't need a designer label to last several seasons; these well-made slip-ons cost under $50.
Photography: Pernille Loof8 of 8
Fashion a Glampsite
A canvas tent makes a dreamy pop-up guest room that's quick to assemble (as well as to strike and stow at summer's end). Every detail here is portable and packable: The modular platform bed comes together without tools; the rug is a canvas floor cloth that folds up and away; the mod nightstands are trays we placed on slatted wooden crates (which you can flip and fill during the off-season). And the tent is no harder to pitch than the pup kind. Just add crisp sheets and cozy rechargeable lanterns to create quarters so inviting, you'll want to check in as soon as your visitors decamp.
Reliable Tent & Tipi Gallatin Wall Tent, $1,425, reliabletent.com; Floyd "The Floyd" Platform Bed in Full/Queen, $895, floydhome.com; Chicago Canvas & Supply Canvas Drop Cloth, 5' by 7' in Stone, $19.50, chicagocanvas.com; Fatboy USA Bolleke LED Lantern, $109, rejuvenation.com; Menu Carrie LED Lanterns, $160 each, dwr.com; Skagerak Bollard Oil Lamp, $169, shophorne.com; L.L.Bean All-Weather Adirondack Chair in Sand, $299, llbean.com; Faribault Woolen Mill Co. Queen Revival Stripe Wool Blanket, $500, fairbaultmill.com; Faribault Woolen Mill Co. Revival Stripe Wool Pillowcase, $80, faribaultmill.com.