Pop up canopies can create instant shade and protection anywhere you go, which is really helpful when there isn’t any permanent shelter available. They can be used for many different occasions and celebrations, whether that is at the beach or in the backyard. Unfortunately they don’t come out of the box looking fabulous; rather they are shipped to be practical. So I wanted to show you how to decorate a pop up canopy tent with a variety of adornments that will suit a range of occasions. If you have any great ideas that you’d like to share with others here, please get in contact. If you are still looking to buy the right canopy for your event, check my best pop up canopies page for buying tips.
Hanging decorations and lights
Once you have your pop up canopy setup, there are a heap of different creative ways to dress up your pop up canopy. Sometimes the difficulty lies in knowing how to attach your items to the canopy structure. Common attachment points for hanging underneath are the outside or internal trusses (also known as scissor beams), or the on vertical poles. Some pop up canopies have loops or sleeves to add a banner on the canopy itself; however if you don’t you can tie-off each end of the banner to the corners (where sliding mechanism is). Some things that will make attaching decorations easier are: thin wire, metal/plastic hooks (great for hanging plants), duct tape, cable ties and paracord/thin rope. Make sure you remember to remove all your adornments before taking your canopy down, otherwise they will get caught up in the folding truss segments.
In the subheadings below I’ve listed some types of hanging decorations to provide you with some inspiration.
Fabric or material hangings
Draping fabric looks fantastic, especially as you can artfully cover the exposed frame when looking from the outside, and can be used to create some privacy inside. So how do you go about physically attaching fabric to your canopy?
A truly simple solution is to have a large enough piece of material that can be thrown over the whole canopy/gazebo. You can then pin back an opening for the front entrance by lifting up the material at the bottom-middle of one side, and pinning it up to somewhere on the frame. Another simple approach is to just feed the fabric through gaps in the side trusses or corner slider areas of the pop up canopy.
Another idea is to utilise velcro; stick velcro strips along top edge of the fabric, and also along the receiving frame edge of the canopy. Use the same methods to attach the sides of the fabric to the vertical poles. Then you can easily just take the fabric on and off as needed.
If your curtains have hooks already attached to them (or you’re handy with a sewing machine) you can attach these directly to convenient points on the side trusses/scissor beams. If you need more (or a straighter) area to hang, you can attach a rod/dowel along a complete side of the canopy with wire or zip ties. You could then hang the hooks of the curtain to this beam. Alternatively you could also sew a beam/rod into the top of the curtain material, and then attach the rod to the side of the canopy. Having the curtains on a dowel means you can also open and close them without much effort. You can also sew hooks into the sides of the fabric to attach to the vertical corner poles.
If your party will continue or start at sundown, then there is not much better to raise the ambiance than to get some lights going. These can be hung around the edges of your canopy, or alternatively within the canopy struts for a wholesome spectacular display. Lights like the festoon bulbs below are a great source of warm light, or try some cool blue fairy lights. A variation on having lights strung up together on a line, you can hang single feature lights down from the canopy roof.
Note: Ensure that you use lights that are low power (transformed down from the mains power) so that you don’t put anyone at risk. A slightly damaged cable will potentially turn your canopy into a live power rod! While you can’t go wrong with the simplicity of some strung up lights, there are other creative possibilities like hanging lanterns or candles (add picture).
Flowers and plants
Bringing a bit of nature to your inner canopy decor will give some relaxing vibes to those underneath. Hanging plants or flower pots can be attached by hooks, or flower arrangements can be bunched into the gaps of the outer trusses. Put enough together and you could create a plant feature wall on one side of your pop up canopy.
Clothesline/Peg themed decorations
A great way to hang theme-specific decorations.
Personalise your celebration with a message or announce the occasion.
Bunting or flagging can create a fun atmosphere, and are perfect for rustic themes.
Not only do they look good hung by themselves, but experiment with filling them with a feature inside, just like the photo below.
The sky is the limit with the different variations of lantern available. Almost a requirement for any classic Asian-themed party, but can also be strung up in new and funky ways.
What better way to tire the kids out than make them work for their treats! Extend your pop up canopy as high as it goes if hanging on the outside trusses, or tie underneath if the weather sets in.
For those occasions where creating some gentle background noise is appropriate, you can create a great visual and auditory effect with some creative chimes.
Just on the off chance you forgot about this classic decoration…
Have fun and get creative with a few of these unusual decorations to hang from your pop up canopy.
How to decorate a pop up canopy for a party
Here are some links to cool design ideas for a few different types of party situations.
Kids birthday party
- This photo shows how simple it can be – just drape a sheet over the whole canopy for a private party entrance.
- Avoid having to add after market decorations to your canopy by buying one already colored in the parties theme
- With enough party decorations underneath, you may not need to worry about dressing up the actual canopy. A fairy party covered by a blue canopy.
- A Smurph party with toadstools, and an overloaded pink explosion.
Adults birthday/backyard party
Don’t let the kids have all the fun!
- A farm/country theme can look great for a backyard party.
- A middle eastern setup looks great, and comfortable.
- Now this one is not technically a pop up canopy, but I think the design elements will transfer well – ‘boho tent’
- A quaint garden party
- Careful furniture, lighting and plant selection has really made the most of the space in this lavish party tent
Wedding canopy designs
- An elegant bohemian wedding theme
- This detailed and ornately adorned canopy has Indian inspirations and would make any wedding pop
Baby Shower/Gender Reveal
- This setup is straight up fun – a boy perhaps…
Pop up canopies for Christmas
Turn your pop up canopy into Santa’s Grotto so the kids can relay those important gift ideas (demands!).
Farmers market /craft fair / festival canopy layouts
- Some great ideas for a rustic and natural decorations at a farmer market
- A bright and clean palette to showcase art
- Sometimes simple is the best – a smart and professional look with minimal effort
Backyard movie night setups
- Keep it simple – a sheet for a screen, pillows, canopy and you’re ready!
- Create a wet weather seating option for your audience
- While this is not a pop up tent, you could set up a very similar movie night with a pop up tent.
- A DIY guide to making a backyard movie screen
- This commercial hire pop up canopy shows what you can do with a bigger tent
How do you attach a mosquito net to a gazebo?
Here are some ideas for attaching a mosquito net to a gazebo or pop up canopy, depending on how permanent and elegant you want your design to be:
- Sticky velcro strips can be stuck along the top of your net and canopy side. Now you can take them on and off as you need.
- If you have the right tools and experience, you can attach cup hooks along each side of the canopy. You can then attach (or use existing) loops on the mosquito net to hang on the canopy.
- For a more permanent fixtures use staples (wood), rivets (metal) or bolts (metal/wood) directly into the canopy/gazebo frame
How do you hang curtains/fabric on a pop up canopy or gazebo?
Here are three solutions that require different amounts of work to hang fabric on a pop up canopy:
- Simply drape a piece of fabric that is large enough to cover the whole canopy over it. Create an opening for an entrance on one side by pinning up the middle of one end of the fabric
- Apply sticky velcro along the top of the canopy/gazebo frame, and along the top of the fabric. Press the two together and away you go.
- Attach fabric using hooks. This can be done by having hooks on the fabric/curtain that can be hung on convenient places on the canopy frame. A much neater option would be to attach a dowel or beam as a curtain rod along the side of the canopy.
What is the best canopy for craft shows?
In most cases the best pop up canopy for a farmers market or craft show is one that maximises space, and is durable enough to be used for frequent and rough use. Straight leg canopies are typically better pop up canopy designs than straight leg, as they are more study and fit better next to other canopies/stalls in the market place. It will be worth your money to spend a bit more on a better quality frame, as it will be likely thrown in and out of the car/truck, and unpacked hastily numerous times a month. Invest in a canopy top that is waterproof (typically polyester coated with polyurethane) and of a decent denier/thickness (I would recommend at least 300D or more).
If you would like me to link to a cool idea you have, please get in contact!