Most vinyl tarps have grommets around the outside edges but few, if any, have loops on the back of the tarp. A center loop can be very helpful with tarp set-ups like the diamond fly, also called the plow point. The center loop allows you to attach a line in the middle of the tarp and give a little lift to take the sag out of your ridgeline. But, my $15 Harbor Freight tarp didn’t have a center loop; so I decided to attach one myself.
I have added loops to canvas tarps by stitching and then re-waterproofing the affected area, but I was concerned that this wouldn’t work on vinyl. I was afraid that it would either leak or tear out too easily, so I thought that maybe I could glue the loops on for a stronger and more leak-proof bond. I found a You Tube video by a young fellow who goes by “Brave the Wilds” in which he glued on tarp loops (check out his You Tubes at www.youtube.com/user/bravethewilds), so I followed his lead and proceeded as follows.
To do this project you will need the following:
Woven nylon webbing
Ice pick and heat source
Sewing machine or needle and thread\
Medium grit sand paper (one small piece)
Two part, five minute epoxy
First cut a piece of nylon webbing that is about six to six and one half inches long.
Next, heat the ice pick in a flame and use it to gently melt the ends of the webbing. This will keep it from unraveling.
Fold the webbing in half and pin it about an inch from the loose ends.
At this point you can sew across the loop by hand of with a sewing machine. My wife sewed it for me on her machine, and she went back and forth about three times to make it good and strong.
So now you have your loop and it’s time to prepare for gluing.
Lay your tarp out on a flat, hard surface and set the loop down on your center mark.
Use your marking pen to outline the area to which the loop tabs will be glued.
Use the sandpaper to very lightly rough up the surface of the tarp and the tabs of the nylon webbing. This will help the glue adhere better.
Dampen the cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and clean the surface of the tarp and the loop tabs. Let them dry for a few minutes.
Mix the five minute epoxy according to directions.
Apply epoxy to the tarp trying to stay inside the outline that you have drawn. Get a good coat of epoxy but don’t overdo it.
Apply epoxy to the loop tabs
And press the tabs into place.
Place some weights on the top of the tabs to press them down but don’t get epoxy on the weights or you may end up with them glued to the tarp. A couple of small pieces of wax paper between the tabs and the weights might help prevent accidental gluing.
Note that 5 minute epoxy sets in 5 minutes but it is not cured and strong. You should leave the weights in place for at least over-night to make sure that the loop is firmly attached.
When you remove the weights you will have a nice web loop attached to your tarp.
Here are a couple of pictures of the tarp loop in use. It seems to be firmly in place and doing its job.