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How to Make a Tarp Tent

By Edited Jul 1, 2016 0 0

A tarp is a lightweight, versatile material that you can use to add a lean-to on an existing tent or to make a temporary “A” frame tent. Use a combination of nylon rope and tent stakes to build the tent. Because this tent has no poles, you will have to secure the tent to a taller object, such as a tree or cave wall to create the frame of the tent. Rather than purchasing a tent, you can use a tarp to create your own customized tent perfect for backpacking or long-range traveling and camping. 



  • 10- by 10-foot square silicone-infused nylon or vinyl tarp
  • Nylon rope
  • Waterproof glue
  • Nylon thread
  • Sewing machine
  • 1 1/2-inch wide nylon webbing
  • Straight pins
  • 1/2-inch grommets and grommet tool
  • Tent stakes


Step 1

Place the tarp, shiny side down, onto a flat surface that you don't mind messing up, such as a garage floor.

Step 2

Line the edge of the tarp with waterproof glue. Cut the nylon rope into four 10-foot-long pieces. Glue one piece to each edge of the tarp. Fold the tarp over the rope 1/4 inch to cover the rope. Press the tarp in place until the glue sets.

Step 3

Sew a 1/8-inch seam along each corner of the tarp using the sewing machine, securing the rope. Back tack the seams at least three stitches in each corner.

Step 4

Cut the nylon webbing into 10 3-inch-long pieces.Fold the webbing strip in half. Place one piece of webbing over each tarp corner, sandwiching the tarp between the two sides of the webbing. Hold the webbing pieces to the tent corners temporarily with straight pins. Sew the webbing to the tarp corners, back tacking the edge of each line of stitches for at least three stitches on both sides of the seam. These nylon webbing pieces will anchor the grommets that you will attach later.

Step 5

Pin a webbing strip to the middle of the left and right sides of the tarp. Fold the strips into a loop just like you did with the corner webbing pieces to secure the webbing to the tarp. Pin two more pieces of webbing between each middle piece, making a total of five webbing pieces per side, evenly spaced across the left and right sides of the tarp. Sew the webbing pieces to the tarp, back tacking the ends of the seams as before.

Step 6

Place a grommet in the center of each webbing piece. Use the grommet tool to punch the grommet into the webbing.

Step 7

Place the tent over a long object, such as an extending branch. Make sure the webbed tabs are on the left and right sides of the tent. Tie a length of nylon rope through each grommet. Wrap the other ends of the rope around tent stakes. Spread the tent into an "A" shape, and tack the stakes into the ground to finish constructing the tent.



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