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How to Custom Build a Tarp

When designing your very own custom tarp there are three main things to think of

1. What will it be used for? Does it need to be waterproof, water-resistant, or fire-retardant?
2. Where will it be used? Will it be indoors or outdoors?
3. Do you have any aesthetic requirements? 

From answering these three questions you are pretty much 90% close to design the custom tarp.

Desired Use

How the tarp is intended to be used is obviously the very first question that needs to be addressed. Is the tarp being used as a wall? Is it being used as a roof? Will it be hung similar to a safety net? Will it be used to cover machinery or equipment? Does it need to be waterproof or fire retardant? Any requirement for grommets space? 

For example, when hanging a tarp, it is recommended that you use grommets that also called eyelets that have been inserted into the hem of the tarp. These are typically more secure than D-rings. D-rings offer an easy way of strapping down a tarp, for example, most truck tarps are made with a combination of D-rings and grommets. When covering machinery it may be important for the materials to be waterproof. In that case, the material options would be either poly or vinyl. The canvas materials can be water-resistant and breathable, but they are not waterproof. You can't have waterproof and breathable at the same time. So, if it is essential the tarp be made with waterproof materials, poly and vinyl are your go-to options.


Once we have the use narrow down, the next requirement is to be clear on where the tarp will be used. Will it be indoors or outdoors? If outside, are you worried about sunlight damaging the tarp? Is it being used in a location that has strong winds? Will it be used to cover something being transported on the highway?

In the case of being outside for extended durations with high amounts of sunlight or wind, it is recommended that you use a vinyl material or our most durable poly materials such as the 7oz 12 Mil Super Heavy Duty Poly Tarps. It is a highly durable, general use tarp material. Compared to vinyl tarps, poly is also popular tarp material to be used outdoors for water protection at a lower cost. All of our vinyl tarps and poly tarps are UV treated for sunlight protection.

When using tarps indoors, that does not need to be water-resistant, we recommended using the all-natural canvas tarps  If using a canvas material inside, another good option is our Duramost™ Polyester. The tarps are dry finished and don't have a waxy feel or strong chemical odor. Or Check out our article about the features of Tarp Supply's Duramost Polyester Canvas tarps here. For the outside purpose, the treated duck cotton canvas would be ideal. This is due to the smell of the chemical and residue they can have after being treated for water or fire resistance.

Aesthetics Requirements

Lastly, is the color and look of the tarp something that will be of importance. Does the tarp have to be a specific color? 

If the tarps need to be a specific color, the most likely option would be vinyl. The vinyl material is the most customizable when it comes to color. For example, on a fire retardant tarp, the canvas and poly options each only have one color option, which is olive drab and off-white respectively. Meanwhile, Flame-Retardant vinyl has as many as 9 color options including black, blue, gray, green, red, tan, white, yellow, and translucent. 

What's Next?

Once you have the answers to the above three questions, you will need to measure the required area. With these measurements, our tarps expert at Tarp Supply will be able to help you finish your design and get you a quote. With the sketch being provided, so that way we can speed up your custom tarps process. 

Note: For custom tarps, it is always best to have a sketch of the design for workers on the plant floor to use as a visual reference when building your perfect tarps. I'm sure you heard the phrase, "A picture is worth a thousand words"

Tarp Supply Inc is the leading manufacturer and distributor of tarps in the market place. As a factory-direct warehouse distributor, we carry all kinds of grade tarps. We commit to provide superior quality tarps, low prices and excellent customer service for all customers. Our centralized warehouse in Chicago and multiple locations ships the tarps for your needs across the United States. We have served and supplied tarps to many different industries including government, military, construction, hardware, agriculture, home improvement, lawn & garden, landscaping, transportation, recreation, and many more, for over a decade. As we hold our motto, Tarp Supply Inc. "For All Your Tarp Needs"

We offer free consultations regarding all your tarps questions. If you are looking for specific sizes or custom made tarps, contact our tarps expert at 630-953-4700 or email us at

For more information, visit our website at


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