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  1. #1
    Senior Member BanjoPicker's Avatar
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    DIY 12' SilPoly hex tarp

    Ok this was my first DIY attempt: a 12' SilPoly hex tarp kit from Ripstop By The Roll. The fabric is dark olive SilPoly PU4000. I think it turned out pretty good, even though it is far from perfect.

    I have only sewed twice in my life: once in Jr. High when everyone (boy and girl alike) had to take a home economics class. We learned to use a sewing machine to make a pillow. And again in college when I made some curtains for an old VW bus.

    I got out the old sewing machine which hadn't been used in a couple decades. The first thing was to put some gun oil on all the moving parts. Then I tried to wind the bobbin. It worked for about 5 seconds… then something broke. The rest of the machine still worked, so I found another way to wind the bobbin:

    IMG_0432.jpg

    I ran some test pieces for about an hour and got everything working ok. My house does not have a lot of extra space, so I laid out and cut the fabric outside:

    IMG_0428.jpg
    IMG_0429.jpg

    Handling the big pieces of fabric was hard at first, but as the project went on it got easier. Here is an action shot of sewing:

    IMG_0433.jpg

    It took 5 nights of working on it a couple hours per night. I am kind of slow. Also, the sewing and snipping of excess thread took longer than I thought, especially at the reinforcement areas:

    IMG_0440.jpg

    Well, I hung with it and finished it up this morning. There are a whole lot of imperfections, but I am really happy with how it turned out:

    IMG_0439.jpg
    IMG_0435.jpg
    IMG_0436.jpg

    The completed tarp weighs 15.3 oz. I added 30' of 3mm Bluewater NiteLine for the ridgeline (attached with 2mm prussics), and four 5' sections of the same 3mm NileLine for the stake tie outs. With four aluminum stakes from REI, the total weight is 21.7 oz. I will make a snakeskin for it later.

    I love it. The material was easy to work with and is tougher than I was expecting. I will have not problem trusting it on a solo backpacking trip I am taking this spring.

    IMG_0437.jpg
    Last edited by BanjoPicker; 01-08-2016 at 20:57.

  2. #2
    New Member jwygralak67's Avatar
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    Sep 2015
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    Minnesota
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    Equip from Wal Mart
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    Yukon Outfitters
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    Congrats on your success. Looks good.

  3. #3
    Great job! That's a nice looking tarp.

    I too have small living quarters, and do my large cutting and measuring projects outside. But I live in an apartment, so my neighbors definitley think (and its true) that I am a weird dude.

    Are you going to seal it?

    Also, do you find that with just the 4 tie outs, that you get a nice tight pitch? It certainly looks like it in the pictures.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BanjoPicker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Japhy Ryder View Post
    Are you going to seal it?

    Also, do you find that with just the 4 tie outs, that you get a nice tight pitch? It certainly looks like it in the pictures.
    Yes, I forgot to mention that I will seal it with Seam Grip. The SilPoly doesn't stretch much, so I was able to get a tight pitch with just the four tie outs on the corners. That is a big advantage of this material. Because of this, no catenary cuts are needed, which makes it even easier for a DIYer to build.
    Last edited by BanjoPicker; 01-09-2016 at 11:28. Reason: added some info

  5. #5
    FJRpilot's Avatar
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    May 2014
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    El Paso, Tx
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    DIY Gathered End
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    DIY cat SylNylon
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    Looks great! Congratulations, I think your going to be really happy with how it performs.
    I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.

    - Augusten Burroughs

  6. #6
    Spark's Avatar
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    Nov 2014
    Location
    Oklahoma City, Ok.
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    DYI 11 Hexon,1.9camo,Argon1.6,12'XL
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    Nice tarp! How did you do your ridge line?

  7. #7
    Senior Member BanjoPicker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark View Post
    Nice tarp! How did you do your ridge line?
    The ridge seam is a "French seam", which means you stitch it once outside-in, then flip it around and stitch it again rightside-out. Some people go further and fold the seam over and sew it flat, which is a "felled French seam".

    I went with the idea that the French seam has the thread parallel to the tarp, which means that the holes won't leak on you. I can always fold it over later if I want.

    The ridge line is 30' of 3mm polyester line with reflectors woven in. I just tie each end to a tree with a couple of half hitches. Since polyester cord doesn't stretch much, it is easy to get it pretty tight. There is a prussic on each end of the ridge line that attaches to the end of the tarp, which makes tensioning the tarp a snap.
    Last edited by BanjoPicker; 01-09-2016 at 11:27.

  8. #8
    Senior Member TFC Rick's Avatar
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    Nice job BanjoPicker!! You had me at VW curtains.
    Look up before you hook up!!
    Originally Posted by body942
    Me big. Me like hammockgear burrow. Long. Problems no. People good.

  9. #9
    BigE94's Avatar
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    Very nice work there. Well done
    I would rather be in the woods... my dog would rather be in the pool. My wife thinks we are both nuts.

  10. #10
    New Member groupertrpr's Avatar
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    That looks great!

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