Many creative solutions can be made from mesh netting.Whether your project is to cover a baby’s crib from biting insects, keep leaves and hawks out of a koi pond, or to create an outdoor projection screen, mesh netting might be your answer.
With a few simple fasteners you can rig your netting for just about any purpose. Here are some tips to choose the netting mesh that is right for you.
High quality mesh netting, though they may be twice the price as cheaper netting, will last ten times longer and save you significant time and expenses in the long run.
Plan to use indoor and outdoor netting appropriately. For example, mosquito netting from a fabric store is typically for clothing or indoor use and easily wears out when employed outdoors.
For outdoor use, make sure you purchase 100% polyester or polypropylene; cotton and nylon will rot outdoors in no time. The good news is that there are online vendors that sell marine-grade quality netting in various sizes, including jumbo-sized rolls with single sheets up to 12 ft. wide, cut to any desired length. If larger sheets are required, some online vendors will seam panels together to create virtually any size.
If ordering black netting, be sure it is solution-dyed, which colors the threads to their core. Solution dying is rare in mesh netting. The more common surfaced-dyed fabrics will fade in no time. Solution-dying white mesh netting is far less important, as fading is not an issue.
Additionally, make sure the loom is lock-stitched. Lock-stitch is a type of stitch that securely fastens two different threads such that it will not unravel when cut (in mosquito netting, a row thread and a column thread). Lock-stitching can be easily observed upon inspection: massage the material vigorously; if the holes noticeably shift, then it is probably not set in a lock-stitch. Rather, it is likely that heat was stamped into a grid, causing the netting to unravel.
Lastly, check the thread weight. Thread weight is measured in a unit called denier. Netting will range from 60 denier on the flimsy end to the studier 400+ denier. The easiest way to check the sturdiness of the threads is by poking your thumb through it – if your thumb goes through, it’s not sturdy enough and you can count on the fabric fading by the end of the year.
Not all netting is marine-grade: a great example of cheap mesh material is the netting mesh curtains on aluminum gazebos sold in home improvement stores. They look nice on a showroom floor, but when placed outside in the wind and other elements, there is no guarantee for how they will hold up.
This type of netting is most commonly used since it has the best air flow. Holes are either square or rectangular at 30-150 holes per square inch. While not as dense as the other fabrics, marine-grade mosquito netting can be strong enough to lift a person off the ground.
No-see-um Netting can be very aesthetically pleasing, and is aesthetically reminiscent of very high quality sheer or stiff materials. Its name comes from its ability to block a very tiny biting midge fly that live near lakes and coastal areas, commonly called no-see-ums.
To block these tiny flies, the holes are nearly invisible. Because of the density of the netting, it acts much like a screen wall. Thus, black netting can have excellent one-way visibility, depending upon lighting. When the light is stronger on the opposite side of no-see-um netting, the visuals are very clear. When light is stronger on the inside of the curtain, the visibility through the material is far less clear.
White curtains are at best milky to see through and very opaque in direct light. Supple no-see-um netting stows very tightly and is the first choice of sailors and campers. White no-see-um netting also makes for an elegant crib net and can even be used as a theater scrim.
Most shade materials, including mesh, are stiff and block 90-95% of sunlight. Black Shade mesh is unique in that it is fairly transparent. Many people find that 80% light block seems to be the right mix to accommodate both outward visibility and sun relief. For the same reason, pull-down child shades typically use a black mesh with 80% block. Shade mesh weights more than mosquito and no-see-um nettings, and is about double the weight of a good bed sheet.
|Insect Protection||Mosquito Netting or No-see-um netting|
|Birds and Bats||Black Mosquito Netting|
|Koi Ponds (prevent hawks and leaves)||Black Mosquito Netting|
|Shade, Privacy, Wind, and Rain||Black Shade Mesh|
|Strollers and Cribs||White No-see-um Netting|
|Gardening and Farming||Black Mosquito Netting|
|Pollen||Black No-see-um Netting|
|Sniper Hides and Urban Camouflage||Black No-see-um Netting|
|Outdoor Projection Screens||White Shade Mesh|
|Filtration||Depends on required hole count|
If precision is a requirement of the area in which you choose to install the material, sewing mesh fabric, like mosquito netting, can sometimes be a challenge because of its elasticity.
A doubled-over perimeter webbing will reinforce the edges and provide a more robust material for Velcro or other fasteners. Unfortunately, the sewing process can consume a significant amount of time and thread as you go. If precision matters, sew a webbing first, and then make your cut for a more accurate result.
A perimeter webbing is the best surface for fasteners, but there are other rigging techniques to rig raw mosquito netting fabric. Some of the ideas below won’t necessarily win a beauty contest, but if functionality is more important than aesthetics to you, these strategies may be a good place to start. When improvising fastening, aim to think in terms of pulling, pinching or sticking to a surface.
While this may sound crazy, the result is much better than your intuition might tell you. Duct tape or Gorilla tape comes in an assortment of colors, including black and white.
To implement a duct tape fastening, fold the tape in half over the edge of your mosquito netting. The adhesive will adhere to itself though the mosquito netting holes. If using no-see-um netting or shade mesh, you might need to supplement the adhesive with fabric glue. Gaffer’s tape, used in the movie industry, has a flat finish that looks more cloth-like as opposed to duct tape’s glossy backing.
Adhesive-backed Velcro will stick very well to the backing of duct tape or gaffer’s tape. We recommend applying the loop side of Velcro to the panels and use the hook side of the Velcro to adhere to the surface you want to mount to for two reasons. First, hooked Velcro is easier to brush clean from a surface. Second, the hook Velcro on the panel will want to catch on the mesh mosquito netting.
Marine snaps can be placed in raw netting. However, if you want it to last, it is a good idea to place marine snaps through two rubber washers on both sides of the mosquito netting. This way, they won’t rip out over time.
Fabric clips will also work, but they could potentially simply rip out of the mesh mosquito netting. Use at your own risk.
There is a “boy scout trick” to pull on netting without stressing it to rip out. Drape the netting over any round object, like a marble, round stone, or even a golf ball. Tie a slip knot over the draped netting. You’ll be able to pull on the netting until the cows come home without ripping the netting.
Rare Earth Magnets are incredibly strong and will also provide a secure seal. Glue one magnet to the mounting surface and the other to the netting. Then, simply pinch the mosquito netting between two magnets.
If all else fails, feel free to get creative! You might need additional support in fastening the netting: I can’t fasten A to B, but I may be able to fasten A to X and then fasten X to B. A simple example might be to pinch the edge of mosquito netting between two wood slats. Once complete, you only need to fasten the wood slats to your surface.
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