40 Tarpaulin Uses

One of the reasons we love tarps is because they’re so versatile. If you buy one for your home, we’re sure you’ll be bringing it out time and time again. Check out some of the creative uses for tarps!

Creative Tarpaulin Uses


DIY Tarp Tent

  1. You can pitch a tent from your tarp.
  2. Protect the bottom of your tent.
  3. Use as a windbreaker.
  4. Make privacy dividers.
  5. Create shower/restroom area.


  1. Keep wood dry.
  2. Animal shelter.
  3. Keep your fire in the rain.
  4. Shade yourself, or your supplies from the sun.
  5. Sleep or protect yourself from weather under DIY shelter.


  1. Cover supplies.
  2. Make a hammock.
  3. Hunting and fishing gear.
  4. Carry/transport supplies (firewood, food, etc.) around.


  1. Create a make-shift picnic or rest area during breaks.
  2. Make a rain poncho.


  1. Gather water.
  2. Make a floatation device.
  3. Camouflage (with the right color, like olive drab).
  4. Use as a gurney to transport injured individuals.


  1. Use to treat roof leaks.
  2. Use as a ground cover for simple clean-up.
  3. Protect floor while painting.
  4. Warm plants on cold nights.
  5. Use as temporary covers for renovation, construction, and unfinished projects.
  6. Make temporary room divider curtains.
  7. Cover and protect storage.
  8. Protect your carpet while moving.
  9. Cover patio furniture during rain/snow or shade from sun.
  10. Protect bikes from snow/rain/sun.
  11. Equipment and supply cover (sports, construction, garden, wood etc.).
  12. Use instead of a painters drop cloth.
  13. Play space for kids.


  1. Car/truck covers (inside and outside the vehicle).
  2. Boat/yacht covers.
  3. Boat windows.
  4. Boat sail.


  1. Use on a hot day as a slip-n-slide.
  2. Make your own waterproof bags.
  3. Use for the kid’s fort.

Find Tarps for Every Occasion

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3 thoughts on “40 Tarpaulin Uses

  1. I am looking for a new cover for my barbecue on our patio. It will remain outdoors in sun , rain, when we have rain (we are in Southern California) and whatever falls from the sky (hopefully some sort of money, so the liberals in Sacramento can wrongfully usurp it). The dimensions are: 54″W x 21 “D x 48″H. It would be great if you could quote me a price! Another thought came to my mind. How big of a single finished piece of canvas would it take to cover the barbecue mentioned previously. Growing up, my father used canvas drop cloths for a lot of household jobs!

    Thank You,
    R J Campbell

    • Hi RJ,

      Thanks for your comment! If you’re looking for an outside barbecue cover, try an 18 oz Vinyl Coated Polyester Box Cover in 54″ L x 21″ W x 48″ H size ($123): https://www.chicagocanvas.com/product/18oz-vinyl-coated-polyester-tarpaulins/

      We actually have this item on sale through 8/2; if you use code VCP20 at checkout, you’ll receive 20% off!

      Your father was a smart man–canvas drop cloths are a customer favorite for a reason. In this scenario, a vinyl tarp (we wouldn’t advise using a single piece of canvas to cover a bbq) would be more ideal because it’s treated for outdoor weather and is super strong. A heavy-duty canvas drop cloth is ideal for protecting things like your outdoor patio or grass for a short period of time (while painting or doing some sort of project).

      When it comes to making your tarp withstand time and various conditions, check out our tarp maintenance manual: https://www.chicagocanvas.com/blog/tarp-repair-maintenance-tips/

      Good luck!

      -Chicago Canvas & Supply

  2. I like how you suggested the fun section and water slide for the kiddos during the summer. I might even look to see if it is cheaper to get a good tarpaulin cover made just for that perhaps. It will be a lot of fun for the kiddos during this hot summer we’ve been having here.

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