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blue tarps
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Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
blue tarps on 02/09/2011 14:30:04 MST Print View

Recently I've following the threads on tarps from poly or cheaper nylon. I was thinking of cutting up a cheap blue tarp to customize a tarp. Any recommendations as to how to refinish the edges and gromets vs grosgrain tieouts?

Eugene Hollingsworth
(GeneH_BPL) - F
Add'l question finishing edges on 02/09/2011 17:11:42 MST Print View

I have been considering mod'ing my blue and cammo plastic weaved tarps also with catenary curves so they tieout better.

Can I run them through the sewing machine with a loose stitch? And better yet, run a cord inside the seam instead of grommets?

Edited by GeneH_BPL on 02/09/2011 17:12:36 MST.

Clint Wayman

Locale: East Tennessee, US
3M glue on 02/11/2011 14:10:17 MST Print View

3M Super 77 and Super 90 work well as an alternative to sewing blue poly tarps. For edges, maybe just spray a line along the unfinished edge and roll a hem?

Eugene Hollingsworth
(GeneH_BPL) - F
3M Glue on 02/11/2011 23:44:10 MST Print View

Great idea. I didn't know it would stick to that kind of plastic. I think that's what I'll do.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: blue tarps on 02/12/2011 01:48:18 MST Print View

The woven poly tarps I bought have a thin line in the edge bindings. I wonder if the woven strands are bonded with heat or some sort of coating or chemical process? I'm thinking heat, as the stuff is dirt cheap and everywhere--- fly over a poor country and you will see blue roofs all over.

From what I could find on gluing polyethylene, it is a problem. TAP Plastics makes an epoxy glue to it, but the cost would negate the savings in using a poly tarp in the fist place. They did mention flaming the material with a propane torch before bonding. I imagine that removes the skin formed in manufacturing. I would vote for the contact adhesive backed with sewing.

Another source mentioned that the cheaper milky-colored hot glues are polyethylene based. I'm wondering if flaming and hot glue would work. A heat gun and a hard rubber roller might fuse the stuff.

Clint Wayman

Locale: East Tennessee, US
gluing polyethylene/ polyolefins on 02/12/2011 08:24:27 MST Print View

Would you mind expanding on the problems with gluing polyethylene? The manufacturer's website claims bonding to polyolefins, but we all know company hype can be a bit exaggerated =). My previous thoughts were based on video posts by Tinny from MBD, so no personal experience. He notes using the 3M Hi-Strength 90 and his 'hasty hooch' shelter seems to work well for him, but I haven't seen any recently posted updates concerning the durability of the glued bonds. Thanks!

edited: to rearrange thoughts

Edited by cwayman1 on 02/12/2011 08:26:55 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: gluing polyethylene/ polyolefins on 02/12/2011 08:49:44 MST Print View

Gluing the fabric may be different-- the stresses are much different and there may be surface treatments that make a difference too. A fabric seam has a lot of surface area relative to the weight, which is a good situation for contact adhesives.

I saw several web sites that address the same issues as this video from TAP Plastics:

If the 3M goo works, so much the better.

Eugene Hollingsworth
(GeneH_BPL) - F
Risk, Heat-Treat & Glue on 02/12/2011 13:14:13 MST Print View

I'm thinking after watching the excellent video, trying to hit the tarp with my heat gun and using the 3M spray glue. Hopefully the glue isn't rigid in small quantities, works into the weave.

Risk? Since it's only edge finishing, if it come loose my tarp flaps a litte, no catastrophic failure.

Does that make any sense?

Michael Prouting
(AussieBushwalker) - F

Locale: Macarthur, NSW, Australia
Re: blue tarps on 02/13/2011 00:06:23 MST Print View

I made some custom sides for my "easy up" style car camping shelter out of blue tarps. All I did was use some spray glue along the edges and folded them over about an inch. Where the grommets went I just cut some rectangular pieces, wrapped them around the edge so there was reinforcing on both sides and stuck them down with the same spray glue. Punched some cheap plastic grommets through the reinforced areas. First time I put these tarps on our shelter we were camped near the ocean and a storm rolled through with some high winds and the glued sections on the tarps held up well.

I did try to heat seal the tarps but just couldn't get the temperature right with a domestic iron. By the looks of the material you need to be able to maintain the right temperature as it melted easily (lucky I was using my shop iron not the house one). I did try the iron on a lower temperature and do multiple passes on some of the tarp trimmings but it just didn't work.

Have not tried to sew these tarps so I don't know how well grosgrain tieouts would work.