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  1. #1
    Senior Member The Belgian's Avatar
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    Making a DIY tarp

    Hello all
    Have a couple of questions for making my first DIY tarp. I purchased 14 yards of medium grey 1.1 silnylon ripstop and thread from Outdoor Wilderness Fabrics. I can't tell which side is which, both sides appear equally shiny. Also the fabric seem very transparent. I have a ENO Dryfly and I can tell a big differnce between the two sides. I do plan on useing scrap pieces for reinforcment at all tie off points.
    1- Which side is suppose to be for the top?
    2- Is all 1.1 silnylon ripstop transparent?
    3- Do I apply silicone seamsealer to seams before or after I sow?

  2. #2
    Senior Member miisterwright's Avatar
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    1) With silnylon you don't need to worry about which side is which. The fabric is impregnated, so the silicone is all through out the fabric.

    2) The darker colors are not so much. 1.1 is very thin.

    3) Seal it AFTER you sew. The whole point is to fill the holes you makes by sewing.

    I'll be making a few tarps this weekend with OWF sil. I made the last tarp out of breathable ripstop and then turned it into sil. I was fun, and you get better color selection, but it'll be nice to not have to do all that this time.

    Best of luck with your project.
    ~Bryan

  3. #3
    Senior Member The Belgian's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info miisterwright. What type of seam sealer would you use? What brand works best? After it is applyed will you be able to tell its there after it dries? Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Big Jim Mac's Avatar
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    This caught my eye: DIY Seamsealer.

  5. #5
    Senior Member miisterwright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Jim Mac View Post
    This caught my eye: DIY Seamsealer.
    This is the basic idea of how to make sil, and will work for seam sealing too.

    It may be easier to buy a bottle of seam sealer, because they usually have a sponge applicator, so it's pretty simple and not very messy.

    It doesn't matter so much what brand, as long as it's silicone diluted in a solvent (mineral spirits, white gas, etc..). Having it well diluted will make it penetrate well, and go on thin so it's not an eyesore later. It should go on wet, not goopy.

    Good luck.
    ~Bryan

  6. #6
    Senior Member miisterwright's Avatar
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    So, I guess I jinxed myself, because when I went to get some seam sealer today they were out of the good stuff and I had to mess with the thick goopy junk. It didn't take long before I was wishing I'd thinned it out with some mineral spirits. I'm lazy and I didn't want to change mid-seam anyway. Oh well. It's done.
    ~Bryan

  7. #7
    Senior Member Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    For sealing sil you MUST use a sealer make for silnylon. The other stuff won't damage the fabric if I understand correctly but it won't stick either. I don't know brands but I do know there is a difference between sealer for sil and sealer that works on other synthetic fabrics.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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  8. #8
    Senior Member nacra533's Avatar
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    There is a Permatex windshield sealer that is silicon based at auto parts stores that is thin and supposed to wick into the tarp. I think those that tested it said it works. I have always made my own. Itvkind i f a hassel to mix it up and I don't get a professional looking job with it. It also flakes off after some time in storage. I imagine it's still in the thread and needle holes.

  9. #9
    Senior Member The Belgian's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone those are great suggestions. I didn't realize you could thin it out, I thought it would lose its water proofing properties. Well I have the tarp sewn together all I have left to do is sew on the webbing at all the tie off points. I do have a litte bit of scrap to experiment with different diluting ratios of thinning the silicone. Also I want to make some DIY snake skins for my tarp. Trying to figure out the diameter of the narrow and wide ends, any suggestions? It measures 11' ridge and is 10' wide, although I increased the bottom edge of the tarp to 14' so that I can close off the ends in bad weather. Thanks again.
    Last edited by The Belgian; 09-12-2010 at 15:34.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kthompson's Avatar
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    I use the Permatex flowable windshield silicone. Works great, doesn't stink, no need to mix. I don't know why anyone would use anything else after trying it.

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