How to Build a Shade Structure With EMT Conduit

The use of cloth to create shade is not a new practice. Huge sails of cloth covered the Parthenon in ancient Rome and ancient Egyptians created shade structures as they trekked across the deserts. Using modern materials such as blue tarps and EMT (electrical metallic tubing) conduit, you can create your own shade structures that can give you a welcome respite from the heat of the sun.


Blue tarp can help you make a EMT conduit shade structure.

Step 1

Cut the EMT conduit into six five-foot lengths.  Use a pipe cutter for this.

The five-foot lengths will form the cross-pieces, or joists of the structure's roof. 

Step 2

Cut six more five-foot lengths of EMT conduit for the sides. 

Step 3

Cut two more five-foot lengths of EMT conduit for the peak of the roof. 

Step 4

Cut the EMT conduit into six 6-foot lengths for the poles on the sides, and three 125-foot lengths for the middle poles. 


Step 1

Begin with the middle of the structure.  Fit four of the 5-foot lengths into the middle fitting.

Step 2

Fit the side fittings onto the ends of the EMT conduit, extending from the middle fitting. 

Step 3

Fit 5-foot lengths into the side fittings and connect them with the corner fittings. 

Step 4

Drape the tarp over the roof and secure it in place with string.  Lash the corners and center of the tarp to the EMT conduit.

Step 5

Lift the roof of the structure -- you will need two or more people as assistants -- and fit the posts into all the fittings.  Put the foot fittings onto the bottom of all of the poles.

Things You Will Need

  • 1-inch EMT conduit
  • One 1-inch low peak middle fitting
  • Four 1-inch low peak corner fittings
  • Four 1-inch low peak side fittings
  • Nine 1-inch foot fittings
  • Pipe cutter
  • 10-foot-by-10-foot blue tarp
  • String
  • Nine tent pegs (optional)

About the Author

Marjorie Gilbert is a freelance writer and published author. An avid researcher, Gilbert has created an Empire gown (circa 1795 to 1805) from scratch, including drafting the gown's patterns by hand.

Photo Credits

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