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  1. #1
    Member jaydweight's Avatar
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    I want to make a tarp...Any ideas?

    I've seen so many great tarps, but I don't want to fork up the money to buy one. I just finished my own hammock and stuff sack. I think I have it in me, but what do I need to know before I take the dive into the tarping biz? Have you made one? What were the difficult/easy parts? Let me know, thanks.

    I want to make one like the Winter Dream, one with closeable doors and side tieouts (even thought I guess it doesn't have to have it, but might as well learn right?)

    Any help would be really appreciative, thanks.

    I've never sealed any seems either so that will be new to me too.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nacra533's Avatar
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    For a first one, a 10'x11' square tarp as shown on Speers site is very easy. Seam sealing is not a problem. You can add the "intermediate" tie out loops to allow the doors to close some. I like the seam running across the fabric instead of along the ridgeline because if it leaks, it might not soak you. A ridgeline seam would guarentee any leaks drip into the center of the hammock. Although, the non-ridgeline seam does not look quite as "neat" when pitched.

    I choose to bind my tarp edges instead of hemming them because I have a binder and I buy gross-grain by the pound instead of by the foot. It might add a little weight, but it's much faster.

  3. #3
    Member jaydweight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nacra533 View Post
    For a first one, a 10'x11' square tarp as shown on Speers site is very easy. Seam sealing is not a problem. You can add the "intermediate" tie out loops to allow the doors to close some. I like the seam running across the fabric instead of along the ridgeline because if it leaks, it might not soak you. A ridgeline seam would guarentee any leaks drip into the center of the hammock. Although, the non-ridgeline seam does not look quite as "neat" when pitched.

    I choose to bind my tarp edges instead of hemming them because I have a binder and I buy gross-grain by the pound instead of by the foot. It might add a little weight, but it's much faster.
    Thanks for the tip. What material is used in the corner triangular tie outs? It looks like a heavier nylon. Also should I us webbing for the tie down straps that connect with the loop or stick with grossgrain?

    Anyone have any tips on sealing seams?

  4. #4
    sclittlefield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaydweight View Post
    I want to make one like the Winter Dream, one with closeable doors and side tieouts (even thought I guess it doesn't have to have it, but might as well learn right?)

    Any help would be really appreciative, thanks.
    Feel free to PM (or email: info@backwoodsdaydreamer.com) if you have any specific questions on that design, or building tarps in general. I'd be glad to help with any detail questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by jaydweight View Post
    Thanks for the tip. What material is used in the corner triangular tie outs? It looks like a heavier nylon. Also should I us webbing for the tie down straps that connect with the loop or stick with grossgrain?
    You can do it as simply as using scrap from your tarp material, but I do recommend a heavier nylon instead. I am using 200D Oxford Nylon for my tie-out reinforcement pieces (and will be selling it by the yard in the store soon). The Oxford works very well.

    As for webbing loops - Grossgrain does work, it's just not as strong as actual webbing. If you do go with gg, I recommend you double it up for the ridgeline tie-out as that sees a lot of stress compared to the other tie-outs.

    The most difficult part of building a tarp is simply the sheer volume of material you have to work with. And I suppose for some the slipperiness of Silnylon can be difficult at first - but it becomes second nature after a while.

    Enjoy!
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  5. #5
    Old Gorge Rat Hawk-eye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sclittlefield View Post
    .....The most difficult part of building a tarp is simply the sheer volume of material you have to work with. And I suppose for some the slipperiness of Silnylon can be difficult at first - but it becomes second nature after a while.
    Man that's putting it mildly ... the volume used in a tarp, the slippery nature of the stuff it's like wrestling a greased jelly fish while submerged in oil! OK ... maybe a little dramatic ... but I admire anyone that makes tarps as a business. I know some things like having the space and a large cutting table help ... but even so ... job well done to those of you that do it!

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  6. #6
    sclittlefield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk-eye View Post
    the slippery nature of the stuff it's like wrestling a greased jelly fish while submerged in oil!
    Nearly peed my pants on that one Hawk-eye...
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  7. #7
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawk-eye View Post
    Man that's putting it mildly ... the volume used in a tarp, the slippery nature of the stuff it's like wrestling a greased jelly fish while submerged in oil! OK ... maybe a little dramatic ... but I admire anyone that makes tarps as a business. I know some things like having the space and a large cutting table help ... but even so ... job well done to those of you that do it!
    Pins, clips, staples anything that helps stabilize the fabric for that first stitch line is your friend. Don't be afraid of pins and a tarp. You are going to seam seal it anyway so the pinholes are of no consequence. After the first stitch line the fabric won't slip around as much.

    Be very aware of your fabric "underneath". Any fold or bunch can get caught up in the seam and sewn accidentally. That's a pain. Keep the fabric smooth and flat as you let the machine feed it through.

    Oh.. one more thing.. practice sewing straight seams until you are comfortable with the results. It doesn't have to be perfect. But mostly straight helps the tarp stretch properly when pitched.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

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  8. #8
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Tarps, like most other hammocking items, are based upon a universal principle. I would suggest you investigate the Black Cat tarp project. It is for a cat cut tarp which you may or may not want if you are attaching doors. But the essential instructions are identical no matter what tarp you are making. The only thing that varies are the personal preference items like loops vs rings, reinforcement patches, contrast colors, edge treatment.

    If you have gotten so far as to make a stuff sack and hammock then the tarp is simply taking those same skills and using them slightly differently. The tarp ridgeline is usually sewn with a flat felled seam (not to worry the directions are demonstrated in my We Don't Sew vids.) Some folks prefer what amounts to a stitched down French seam. (Again watch my vids for French seam directions.)

    The major difference is the sheer size of the amount of fabric. However, making a hammock will give you a feel for how to manage that much bulk. There are lots of folks who have made their own tarps. I would be willing to bet a high number of the active members on the forums have at least one DIY tarp in the closet. I do.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

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  9. #9
    Member jaydweight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramblinrev View Post
    Tarps, like most other hammocking items, are based upon a universal principle. I would suggest you investigate the Black Cat tarp project. It is for a cat cut tarp which you may or may not want if you are attaching doors. But the essential instructions are identical no matter what tarp you are making. The only thing that varies are the personal preference items like loops vs rings, reinforcement patches, contrast colors, edge treatment.

    If you have gotten so far as to make a stuff sack and hammock then the tarp is simply taking those same skills and using them slightly differently. The tarp ridgeline is usually sewn with a flat felled seam (not to worry the directions are demonstrated in my We Don't Sew vids.) Some folks prefer what amounts to a stitched down French seam. (Again watch my vids for French seam directions.)

    The major difference is the sheer size of the amount of fabric. However, making a hammock will give you a feel for how to manage that much bulk. There are lots of folks who have made their own tarps. I would be willing to bet a high number of the active members on the forums have at least one DIY tarp in the closet. I do.
    Cool, looks like I need to start watching your videos to get a better idea. Thanks a ton!

  10. #10
    Member jaydweight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramblinrev View Post
    Tarps, like most other hammocking items, are based upon a universal principle. I would suggest you investigate the Black Cat tarp project. It is for a cat cut tarp which you may or may not want if you are attaching doors. But the essential instructions are identical no matter what tarp you are making. The only thing that varies are the personal preference items like loops vs rings, reinforcement patches, contrast colors, edge treatment.

    If you have gotten so far as to make a stuff sack and hammock then the tarp is simply taking those same skills and using them slightly differently. The tarp ridgeline is usually sewn with a flat felled seam (not to worry the directions are demonstrated in my We Don't Sew vids.) Some folks prefer what amounts to a stitched down French seam. (Again watch my vids for French seam directions.)

    The major difference is the sheer size of the amount of fabric. However, making a hammock will give you a feel for how to manage that much bulk. There are lots of folks who have made their own tarps. I would be willing to bet a high number of the active members on the forums have at least one DIY tarp in the closet. I do.
    I have briefly glanced over the instructions on a 50 plus page manual to make a black cat tarp, but when it came to the excel calculation file link I didn't see it. Anyone know or where I can get that calculation file? I know it will be helpful.

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