My sister in law and I are taking the kids to an amusement park tomorrow. I know that the kids will inevitably get tired and now that they're 4 and 6 I can't carry them. So I thought I would get a wagon to take with us. Since the park is already pretty pricey, the day is going to cost us around $150, there is no way I was going to be buying snacks and lunch there. Which means we have to pack our own lunch and snacks. I don't know about you, but I really hate carrying a knapsack, or bags. I had to find a solution.
This is the wagon I got off of Kijiji for $20. It was a steal!! I saw other similar wagons posted for $35-$50, so even if we only use the wagon for one day, I know I can get my money back at least.
But what I really wanted was a wagon with a canopy to give the kids some shade if it gets hot. Anything that could possibly make the kids more comfortable (read less whiny) during a day trip, is worth more than the price of admission in my books. So I searched through Pinterest to find a DIY canopy project. Guess what? They're weren't any!! Pinterest failed me!
I was walking around Dollarama with my husband, racking my brain trying to figure out what I could use for the frame of my canopy. Hubby was less than helpful, albeit supportive. So this is what you'll need...
2 Hoola Hoops
Fabric (maybe you have some left overs from a project like I did in which case, great. If not 3/4 of a yard should do for most wagons)
2 small knapsacks
First, find the joint in the hoola hoops and pull it apart. There are usually 2 staples, you can take those out first or just use brute force like I did. You'll have two ends like this, if you can get that black piece out, great, if not, make sure that's the end you cut off in the next step.
I had the kids sit in the wagon to see how much head room they needed. In this model of wagon you can see the top beige piece is about 6 inches so make sure to include that space when you're measuring. Use a hacksaw or a good kitchen knife to cut the hoola hoop, and then cut the other one the same length.
Drill two pilot holes on each end of the wagon. Once you have the pilot holes, you can move to your biggest drill bit. My biggest drill bit still wasn't big enough, so you may have to circle the drill to widen the holes. Do this very slowly. You want the holes to be a tight fit so that your frame doesn't move around a lot. (The blue dots are where you're going to drill your holes.)
Insert your hoola hoops and push them all the way down. It should be a bit tough to get them in.
Tada! Now for the cover. Starting at one end, pin your fabric around the hoola hoop leaving just a little space around the hoop. Leave about a foot from the wagon up each side of the hoola hoop. Repeat this on the other side. You want the fabric to be tight, but not so tight that it pulls the two ends together. Once both ends are pinned, cut off your excess. Remove one end of each hoola hoop from the holes in the wagon and slide your canopy off. Sew each end leaving the sleeve you created. Slip the canopy back on the hoola hoops, and fit the ends back in the holes.
The next part is optional. You can leave the canopy the way it is, it will work for shade. Or you can go the extra step and make a support brace across the top to help push both ends apart. To do this, push each end apart pulling the canopy taunt. Measure and cut another piece of your left over hoola hoop to fit in the space. You will have to bend it (use your hair dryer) so that it is as straight as you can get it. Use some left over fabric pieces to create a pocket on each end to hold your support piece. Sew 3 sides.
There you have your wagon and canopy. But remember I said I hate to carry bags... I know I could just put the bags in the wagon, but my girls are big and I would be worried about people taking them while we're on rides or not looking. Ya ya, I'm paranoid. On this model of wagon there is a small space between the beige piece and the wagon itself. With a small knapsack, unthread the strap and push the end of the shoulder strap through the space from the inside of the wagon. Rethread the other end of the strap and tighten as needed.
Now you have extra storage space for snacks or a change of clothes etc. Plus free hands!! And nobody is going to run off with your bag! Bonus bonus bonus! You now have your pimped out wagon complete with canopy and extra storage!
Frugal genius wagon canopy creator