10 Best Uses for a Canvas Tarp

Canvas is a woven cotton or linen fabric that’s used in many different ways. Canvas may be turned into a tote bag or backpack, a surface for painting, tents or equipment covers, and far more. It’s a sturdy fabric thanks to the plain weave. You can get colored canvas, natural untreated canvas, 18-ounce canvas, 16-ounce canvas, and treated canvas that’s water-resistant.

Going back to the mid-1500s, canvas was made from hemp. That’s how it got its name. The Latin term for “made from hemp” is “cannapaceus.” Canvases made from hemp or flax were used in the art world starting in the 1700s. It was a superior surface compared to the wood or cowhide that artists used.

Canvas tarps can be used indoors or outdoors. Before you use a tarp inside, make sure it’s not treated. Treated canvas tarp has an oily wax coating to make it water-resistant. That coating makes it smell unpleasant. If the canvas tarp is treated, only use it outside.

The Best Indoor Uses for Canvas Tarps

Inside the home, untreated canvas tarps are  useful in a variety of applications. You can use it to hide stored items or messier areas of a home or workplace. You can use it for arts/crafts, protective covers, and more. Here are some of the best indoor uses for canvas tarps.

Concealing Curtain

Do you hide items under your basement stairs? Is there an area of a workshop where you store boxes of supplies because there’s no closet? Use an untreated canvas tarp to conceal the items or mess in an area of a home or business. With colored canvas tarps, you don’t have to have a natural color. Choose a bold color like Denim Blue, Hot Pink, Peaches and Cream, or Viking Purple. The 10-ounce untreated colored canvas tarps come in 36 colors and 20 sizes. If you need a custom size, Chicago Canvas can help.

Dust Covers in Seasonal Homes

Choose 10-ounce untreated canvas tarps to cover your furniture in the off-season. To keep dust off sofas, chairs, tables, and other furnishings, these tarps are ideal. Vacuum and clean furniture at the end of the season, cover them in these tarps, and when the next season arrives, the furniture is clean and ready to use.

The 10-ounce untreated natural canvas tarps come in 20 sizes up to 40 by 40 feet. If you need something smaller than 5 by 7 feet or larger than 40 by 40, custom sizes are also an option. Reach out to us for a custom quote.

Extra-Large Canvas for Painting Murals

Untreated canvas tarps are also great for painting large murals. They’re a good choice for painting inexpensive backdrops for a low-key play or stage production. Paint a large tarp with the necessary background for a child’s school play or a Tuscan wall hanging for an Italian restaurant.

Painters Drop Cloth

The lighter 10-ounce untreated tarps are also good for painters’ drop cloths. Cover floors, counters, and furniture before you paint walls and ceilings. The cotton fibers soak up paint rather than cause it to splatter. If there’s a large spill, you should stop and clean it up. For small drips and splatters, untreated tarps are a popular drop cloth. Plus, they come in such a range of sizes that it’s easy for one tarp to cover an entire room or multiple rooms in an open floor plan.

Room Dividers

Divide rooms with colored canvas tarps that hang from tracks or hooks on the ceiling. Canvas may not be the strongest tarp on the market, but if you invest in a track system, it will pull open and shut with ease. You just don’t want to have children or pets hanging from them, as that may cause irreparable damage. Be careful with canvas tarp room dividers and they’ll last.

For room dividers, the variety of colors are attractive, but you can make them even better. Get natural tarps and paint murals on them to create works of art for beautifully dividing rooms. Bring nature inside by painting a mural on a large canvas tarp that has trees, the blue sky, water, birds, and everything else that appeals to you. On a dreary day, imagine how soothing it would be to have an outdoor scene within your home.

Window Shades

Do you know someone who can sew? Maybe you can? Purchase canvas tarps and cut them to the size you need to make canvas window shades. They’ll add to your décor while also helping block the sunlight on hot days or keep the moon from waking you up while you sleep. If you have large floor-to-ceiling windows, a large tarp makes it easy to create a window shade to fit.

How can you create window shades from tarps? You could put them on a large dowel and manually roll them up and pull them down. If you purchased roller blinds and replaced the plastic with canvas tarp on your own, you could have blinds that roll up and down automatically.

The Best Outdoor Uses for Canvas Tarps

While untreated tarps are good for indoors, there are also treated tarps that have a wax and oil coating to help keep water away. They’re not waterproof, but they are water-resistant. These canvas tarps are ideal for these outdoor projects.

Campsite Covers

While treated tarps don’t make great tents due to the odor, they are good for covering a campsite. The fire-retardant 16-ounce canvas tarp is a good way to keep light rain from soaking your food preparation area and picnic table. Stretch it out and tie each corner partway up a tree. If you have a second tarp, you can cover your cooking supplies when they’re not being used. It will keep them from getting soaked.

If you set up your campfire at the edge of the tarp for airflow, you can have the tarp shelter a small fire from rain, too. You do not want to center a campfire to the middle of a tarp. Do not install walls that trap the smoke and carbon monoxide either. With a fire-retardant tarp, as long as air can flow and smoke goes up without getting trapped under the tarp, it’s an expert way to have a dry area for a fire without risking smoke inhalation or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Equipment Covers

A breathable tarp is important for covering metal equipment. If you take a piece of metal equipment and expose it to cold temperatures, what happens when the air temperature warms up? If the equipment is trapped under a vinyl or polyester tarp, air won’t pass and condensation forms. The tarp needs to allow air to flow. If a tarp doesn’t breathe and condensation occurs, a piece of machinery could end up rusting.

Who wants a rusted tiller attachment, baler, trailer, wood splitter, or another piece of machinery that’s only used now and then becoming a rusty mess? When it’s not in use, you don’t want dust, dirt, and rain/snow/ice making it age faster. Canvas tarp is the solution for equipment covers. They’re durable and allow air to pass.

An 18-ounce canvas tarp is strong and resists water, but it breathes and keeps condensation from forming. Select from 32 sizes and a color choice of gold or olive drab.

Protective Cover for Wood Shavings and Firewood

Every day, farmers and ranchers spread new wood shavings down for bedding. If any of it gets wet before it’s needed it’s useless. Wet wood shavings are no good as they lose their absorption and can get moldy. With a canvas tarp as a protective cover, wood shavings stay dry.

At a home or a business that’s heated with firewood, 16-ounce canvas tarps protect firewood from snow, rain, and ice, they also cover shrink-wrapped wood pellets that can’t be stored inside and must be left in a shed or on a patio. Why choose canvas? While it’s not waterproof, it is water-resistant. Most importantly, it’s a breathable tarp so condensation will not build up.

Shrub/Bush Coverings in the Winter

Gardeners often wrap their shrubs and evergreens in burlap before winter arrives. It’s a protective measure from snow, ice, and some road salt. An alternative to this is canvas tarp. Set up center posts and use canvas tarp to cover the top and sides of the shrubs. It’s an easy way to quickly protect an entire hedgerow. Use tent stakes and vinyl coated wire or vinyl rope to secure the bottom of the tarp to the ground.

At the end of the winter, rinse the tarp and let it dry completely. Store it dry to prolong the life of your canvas tarp. You can pair burlap with canvas tarps. Treated canvas will keep water away while the burlap protects against any staining from the treated tarp.

Let Chicago Canvas help you find the right tarp for your project. Our tarps are made in the USA and many are available in custom sizes. Give us a call at 1-866-389-2218. We’re happy to help you find the perfect tarp at an unbeatable price. Our Price Match Guarantee ensures you’re getting the very best deal on your new canvas tarp.