We priced shade structures...yikes. Very expensive, not in our budget. So we decided to improvise and make our own. My wonderfully smart Momma gave me the idea to make one with PVC pipes and sheets. This is what we came up with, not perfect but it definitely helped. Let me explain what we did.
I then set to work applying grommets to each of the four corners of the sheets. This proved the most labor intensive, but if you want to reuse and wash your sheets (like we did) then I wouldn't skip this step. If you are using old sheets or fabric that you don't plan to reuse again then I'd say you could skip this step and just cut holes directly into the sheet/fabric.
As you can see, it's not perfect but it's definitely a solution that worked for us. Had I to do it over again, I would have set the structure up the day before to see where the sun was going to hit during the time we'd be outside. We ended up setting up the tables not quite right (as you can see) and the table fronts were exposed in some places. I also would have had sheets come down the sides in the front, to somewhat close off the area and help provide extra shade. However all and all it worked and we had several comments on our industriousness.
Please click on "Linky Parties I Love" on the right to see where I'll be sharing my idea. Thanks!