How to Make a Silnylon Tarp

Written by chris hennessey
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A silnylon tarp is a lightweight and inexpensive alternative to a tent as a sleeping shelter for backpacking and camping. The material is made from nylon impregnated with silicone and is strong, waterproof and lightweight. While silnylon tarps can be purchased from many sources, by making your own tarp you can get the exact size you want and possibly save some money.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Silnylon material
  • Paracord
  • Siicone glue
  • Grommet tool and grommets
  • Nylon thread
  • Sewing machine

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  1. 1

    Cut your silnylon material 2 inches larger on all sides than you want the finished tarp to be. Lay the material out with the smooth side down.

  2. 2

    Run a pencil-thick bead of silicone glue about 1 inch in from the edge of the material, all the way around.

  3. 3

    Lay a single piece of paracord all the way around the outside edge of the material. Fold the material over the paracord and into the glue, sealing the edge on all sides

  4. 4

    Stitch the seam with nylon thread once the glue is dry with a sewing maching. Make the stitch 1 inch in from the edge of the material, and go completely around the tarp. Make multiple passes for a strong edge.

  5. 5

    Add grommets to each corner and at least ever 2 feet along the edges, using a grommet tool as instructed by its manufacturer. Place the grommets fully inside the reinforced edge, with the paracord on the outside.

Tips and warnings

  • Tarps can be set up in many different configurations. Experiment with yours, starting with a simple lean-to or A-frame set-up.

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