Fall Tarp Tips – Which Tarps Are Best For Preparing For Winter?

Tarps are useful items that can be made out of a number of different materials, including canvas, vinyl, and PVC, among others. You should consider many factors when determining which tarp is right for you, including the intended use, price, and durability. But, these aren’t the only factors that should influence your decision. Many people forget to consider one important factor when choosing a tarp: the time of year. At this time of year, a lot of people are purchasing tarps in order to prepare for the upcoming winter season. Sound familiar? If so, here’s what you need to know:

Which Tarps Can Withstand Winter Weather?

The winter season is known for its low temperatures and high winds, so you will need a tarp that is strong enough to withstand both. Unfortunately, some tarps are not designed to hold up in extremely windy environments. Vinyl and polyester tarps are ideal for windy conditions, however they must be tied down securely in order to withstand high winds. It doesn’t matter how durable the tarp is—it will not stay put if it’s not tied down properly.

It’s typically not a good idea to use mesh or canvas tarps in the winter. Both of these materials are far too lightweight to hold up in windy conditions. Plus, they are lightweight fabrics that will not provide much—if any—wind coverage.

Vinyl and PVC are the best tarps for cold weather conditions. Extremely cold temperatures will not affect these materials. In fact, the most durable vinyl and PVC tarps are designed to withstand temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Some polyester tarps can withstand cold temperatures, however others become brittle when exposed to extreme cold. If your heart is set on a polyester tarp, it’s important to look for a heavy duty one that is designed for outdoor use.

Winter is certainly not the sunniest season, but some areas get a great deal of sunshine even in the coldest months. In Florida, for example, the weather may drop at night in the winter, but it typically stays sunny throughout the day. If you live in this type of climate, you will also need to find a tarp that is resistant to UV light. Polyester and vinyl tarps are usually not UV resistant on their own, so they are often treated with a special chemical that makes the material strong enough to withstand UV exposure. However, if the material has not been treated with this chemical, it should not be used in sunny outdoor areas. Play it safe by looking for a tarp that is described as either “UV resistant” or “UV treated.” The former describes a material that is naturally resistant to UV light, whereas the latter indicates that the material has been treated in order to withstand UV light exposure.

Another factor to consider is the tarp’s water resistance. Tarps that are used outdoors in the winter need to be heavily resistant to water so they are not damaged when the snow starts to melt. Polyester, vinyl, and PVC tarps are highly resistant to water, in addition to mold and mildew growth. This makes these three materials ideal for outdoor use when water or snow may be present.

How to Use Tarps in the Winter

By now, it should be clear which tarps are strong enough to be used in the winter season. But, how exactly should the tarps be used in the winter? Use tarps to cover your swimming pool and protect it from the strong winter winds. Tarps can also be thrown over items that are being transported in the back of a pick-up truck. As long as the tarp is secured in place, it will keep the items safe until they’ve reached their final destination.

Tarps can also be placed over plants and flowerbeds at night when the temperatures are expected to drop below freezing. Placing a tarp over your prized garden will keep your plants alive until morning when temperatures start to rise again.

Plants aren’t the only things that tarps can protect in the winter. Many people use tarps to cover their boats, bikes, and motorcycles in the winter. These items won’t be needed until the weather starts to warm up, so it’s best to keep them covered with a heavy duty tarp all winter. The tarp will ensure your valuables are not damaged by harsh environmental elements. Plus, the tarps will also serve as a barrier to keep animals, bugs, and dirt out.

If you plan on camping in the winter, make sure you pack a tarp or two in your bag. The tarp can be used to block wind from entering your campsite so you can stay warm and keep the fire burning all night long. The tarp can also be placed on the floor of the tent so you don’t drag dirt and mud inside. If you need to carry firewood back to your campsite, use the tarp to lift more wood than you would be able to carry on your own. Place the tarp on the ground, and then pile the wood in the center of the tarp. Pick the tarp up on one end, and have a buddy pick it up on the other end. Now, you can transport heavy items back to your campsite with ease.

If you’re interested in purchasing a tarp for fall activities, contact Chicago Canvas & Supply for more information. We are your leading source for tarps, textiles, theatre fabrics, ropes, drop cloths, and more. We are more than happy to send free samples to customers so they can test fabrics prior to purchasing them. To place a request for samples, contact us today by calling 1-866-389-2218 or emailing email@chicagocanvas.com.

7 Creative Ways to Use Burlap

Burlap is a material that is typically made out of fibers from jute plants, which are known for their durability and strength. Because this material is so tough, it is often sewn into sacks that are used to carry heavy items such as potatoes, rice, and coffee beans. However, burlap is not always used in this manner. Here are seven creative ways to use burlap:

Protect Plants From Harsh Environmental Elements

If you enjoy gardening, it’s best to keep burlap handy so you can use it to protect your beloved plants from harsh environmental elements. In the winter, use burlap to create barriers or screens in front of your plants. The burlap barrier is designed to protect your plants from cold winds, so it does not need to touch the plants in order to keep them safe.

You can also use burlap to cover your plants at night when the temperatures are expected to drop. The layer of burlap will protect your plants from frost—just be sure to remove it as soon as you wake up in the morning.

Burlap is also used in the summer to protect plants that are getting too much sun. Hang burlap above your vegetable garden by attaching both ends to trees nearby. The burlap will block some, but not all of the natural light. This means your veggie garden will still get the sunlight it needs even with the burlap sun shield in place.

Use As Wedding Décor

Many women dream of a beautiful rustic wedding, and there’s no better material to make this dream a reality than burlap. This material is often used as table runners or tablecloths at rustic-themed weddings. Strips of burlap are tied around mason jars, vases, party favors, and even the guests’ chairs. At rustic weddings, the bride and her bridesmaids are often carrying bouquets with stems wrapped in burlap.

Burlap can even be incorporated into the design of the wedding invitations. A strip of burlap can hold the invitation, RSVP card, and wedding details card in place until the guests are ready to open this stunning package. There are endless opportunities to use burlap to create the rustic wedding of your dreams, so flex your creative muscle and use this material in any way you see fit.

Create Pillowcases

Burlap is not the softest material, so it may seem odd to create a pillowcase out of this material. But, the pillows you create with burlap will be used for decorative purposes rather than for sleeping.

Measure the pillow carefully before cutting and sewing the burlap fabric to place over it. The color of the pillow may show through the tiny holes in the burlap material. To cover this up, choose another type of fabric to lie between the burlap pillowcase and the pillow. This gives you the opportunity to choose exactly what color peeks through the openings in the burlap.

Hang As Curtains

Make the inside of your home look more rustic and natural by hanging unique burlap curtains on your glass doors and windows. Burlap is the perfect accent to your farmhouse or rustic style home. However, it’s important to note that this is not the best curtain choice for people who want to block out sunlight. Since burlap is a porous material, the natural light will shine through the fabric and into your home. You always have the option of adding other layers of fabric behind the burlap to block out more light.

Use in Stage Productions

No stage production is complete without burlap material. Burlap’s natural look makes it an ideal fabric choice for plays and other productions set in Medieval times. It’s also the perfect material for set designers or costume designers who are trying to give the production a country vibe.

Burlap is one of the most inexpensive materials used in stage productions, so there’s no need to worry about whether or not you have room in your budget for this material.

Sew Into Reusable Bags

Burlap is durable enough to withstand repeated use, which makes it the perfect material to use as a reusable bag. Fold a piece of burlap material in half and sew along both of its edges. Do not sew the top together—this is the opening of your new reusable bag.

You can even use a stencil and paint to make this style your own. It’s best to use acrylic paint on burlap, but other paints will also work as long as they are not oil-based. Paint your initials, fun designs, or anything else that inspires you on the burlap bag. Now, it’s ready to travel with you to the grocery store to serve as your reusable grocery bag.

Disguise Outdated Home Décor

Look around your home. Do you see outdated vases, picture frames, and flower pots? Give these items a fresh new look by covering them with burlap. Wrap the burlap tightly around the item and glue it in place so it stays put. Transforming your outdated household décor into rustic and trendy pieces only takes a few minutes. From utensils and serving spoons to lamp shades and bulletin boards, you can wrap practically any household item in burlap. Since burlap is so durable, it is strong enough to use on items that are stored outside as well.

As you can see, there are many different ways to use burlap in your everyday life.  If you’re interested in purchasing this versatile material, contact Chicago Canvas & Supply. We are your leading source for backdrops, textiles, theatre fabrics, tarps, drop cloths, and more. Feel free to contact us to request a free sample of our high-quality burlap materials. To place a request for samples, contact us today by calling 1-866-389-2218 or emailing email@chicagocanvas.com.

10 Different Ways to Use Tarps

A tarp is something that everyone should have at home or in the car. Why? Tarps are incredibly versatile and durable, so you never know when these heavy-duty materials will come in handy. Here’s a look at 10 of the ways you can use tarps:

Build A Hammock

A high quality tarp is strong enough to hold your body weight, so it can be fashioned into a hammock in the event you need to sleep outside. All you will need is a little bit of rope and a shady spot between two trees. Sleeping in a hammock as opposed to on the ground will keep you away from insects and water and prevent you from sleeping on the hard ground.

Cover Broken Windows, Doors, or Roofs

Broken windows, doors, and roofs are not always repaired right away. If you’re living with a broken window, door, or roof, use a tarp to cover the broken area. The tarp will prevent rain, insects, and debris from coming into your home and causing more damage. Once the repairman arrives, simply remove the tarp so they can access the broken area.

Keep Items in Transport Safe

Items that are transported in the bed of a pickup truck are at risk of getting damaged or dirty before they reach their final destination. If you need to transport something such as a mattress or piece of furniture, keep it safe on its journey with the help of a tarp. Secure the items in place in the bed of the truck and lay the tarp on top so it completely covers your belongings. Tie the tarp down using rope so it does not fly off of the back of the truck while it’s in motion.

Collect Drinking Water

No camper or hiker ever plans on running out of water, but it’s important to know what to do just in case you ever find yourself in this situation. Dig a shallow hole in the ground and line the inside of it with a tarp. The next time it rains, the tarp will fill with fresh drinking water. Another option is to tie the tarp to two trees and let it catch rainwater there instead. Either way, the tarp will make it easier for you to survive with a fresh water supply.

Entertain Kids

Believe it or not, it’s possible to entertain kids with a tarp as well. Kids can use the tarp to build a fort at home or in the woods near your campsite. If the weather is hot, grab a hose and a tarp to create your own version of a slip and slide. It’s very hard to damage this tough material, so it’s perfect for rambunctious children who are looking for something fun to do.

Block Wind

Campers know how frustrating it is to try to light a fire or stay warm on a windy night. There’s no need to sit back and wait for the wind to die down if you’ve packed a tarp in your backpack. Figure out which direction the wind is coming from, then tie the tarp up to two trees so it is facing the right direction. The tarp will block the wind from entering your campsite so you can light a fire and stay comfortable all night long.

Use As A Makeshift Stretcher

An accident can happen at any time, so it’s important to be prepared. If someone is injured and unable to walk or stand on their own, use a tarp as a makeshift stretcher. Gently place the injured person down on the center of the tarp. Then, ask a few people to assist you with lifting the tarp by the edges and carrying the person to safety. The tarp is strong enough to hold this weight, so you won’t need to worry about the injured person falling through it.

Carry Heavy Items

Tarps can hold a significant amount of weight, so they are ideal for carrying heavy items such as firewood or supplies. Place the tarp flat on the ground and place the heavy items in the center. Then, grab one end of the tarp and ask a buddy to grab the other end. Now, you can easily transport heavy objects that you would not have been able to carry otherwise.

Protect Floors and Furniture

Pull your tarps out whenever you need to protect your floors and furniture. This is ideal for people who plan on painting the walls in their home. Instead of moving all of their furniture out of the room, throw tarps on top of the furniture and floors to protect it from the paint.

Tarps can also be used to protect flooring when you are moving into a home. Lay the tarps down so the movers do not stain your flooring with the dirt and debris on the bottom of their shoes.

Keep Car Seats Clean

Pets can carry dirt and debris on their paws that will end up in your car if you need to take your furry friends somewhere. Don’t let a trip to the vet turn into a mess in your backseat—use a tarp to protect your car seats. Place the tarp over your backseat before letting your pet inside your car. If your pet does drag in dirt or debris, it will wind up on the tarp instead of your leather interior.

These are just some of the many ways to use tarps in your day-to-day life. If you’re interested in purchasing tarps, contact Chicago Canvas & Supply. We are your leading source for tarps in all different shapes, sizes, and materials. Feel free to contact us to request a free sample of our high-quality tarps. To place a request for samples, contact us today by calling 1-866-389-2218 or emailing email@chicagocanvas.com.

Linen Gauze vs. Sharkstooth vs. Leno Filled Scrim

A scrim is a piece of fabric that is often used in the world of theatre as a screen or backdrop on set. Scrims are important to the design of the set since they can create the illusion of haziness, solid walls, and distance. To create the desired effects, it’s important to choose the right type of scrim. There are three main options to choose from: linen gauze, sharkstooth, and leno filled scrims. Here’s a look at the main differences between these three fabrics:


The most visible difference between these three types of scrim is the texture. sharkstooth scrim has a textured open weave, which means the fabric is woven in a way that creates small, rectangular openings. Leno filled scrim has a similar weave to sharkstooth scrim, however the rectangular openings found on sharkstooth scrim are filled in on leno filled scrim. Therefore, leno filled scrim is a textured closed weave, whereas sharkstooth is a textured open weave. The weave on linen gauze is very different. Linen gauze is a closely woven fabric with a fine and even texture.

Resistance to Flames

You never know when disaster will strike on set, which is why it’s best to consider the flame resistancy of each scrim prior to choosing one for your theater set. Even though the two scrims feature similar weaves, sharkstooth scrim is fire retardant, whereas leno filled scrim is not. Linen gauze scrim is typically available in both fire retardant and non-fire retardant options. If you plan on using fire on set, it’s best to choose a scrim that will not light up in flames in the event of an accident.


Linen gauze scrims are 100% cotton, whereas both sharkstooth and leno filled scrims are 95% cotton and 5% polyester. Cotton-polyester blends are typically more durable and resistant to normal wear and tear. Adding polyester to cotton also makes the cotton less likely to shrink or stretch. As a result, set designers may find that sharkstooth and leno filled scrims last longer and retain their original shape and color better than linen gauze scrims.

Cotton-polyester blends are also less likely to wrinkle than materials that are 100% cotton. If you use a linen gauze scrim repeatedly or leave it folded up in storage for too long, you may need to iron or steam it prior to hanging it on set.

However, polyester is a synthetic fabric and cotton is 100% natural and recyclable. If eco-friendliness is a priority, the linen gauze scrim is probably the best option for your set.


Transparency is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a scrim for the set of a play. Set designers must understand how the light shines through each type of scrim so they can choose one that will help them create a certain effect on stage.

Linen gauze does not have an open weave, so light does not pour out of openings on this fabric. However, it is a lightweight fabric that allows a significant amount of light to shine through. This fabric actually softens the light to create a beautiful glow on stage. Leno filled scrim is also capable of diffusing and softening the light since it does not have an open weave.

Sharkstooth scrim allows more light to shine through than leno filled and linen gauze scream because of its open weave. In fact, set designers often use sharkstooth scrim because its open weave makes it basically transparent, so it can be used to create disappearing effects that will impress the audience.


Price is another factor that should be taken into consideration when deciding which scrim to purchase. The price of these fabrics varies depending on a number of factors, including the vendor, size of the fabric, and availability. Even the color of the fabric can affect the price. In general, linen gauze and sharkstooth are close in price, and leno filled scrim is priced slightly higher per yard of fabric.


Set designers are usually interested in scrims in natural colors such as white, tan, black, and light shades of blue. Because these are the most sought after hues, the selection of scrims is typically limited to these colors. If you are interested in a scrim in another color, it’s best to talk to the vendor about creating a custom order. Both cotton and cotton-polyester blend fabrics can be dyed, so this may be the best option.

Hanging the Scrims On Set

You should also learn how each scrim is hung and used on set prior to deciding which one is right for your production. Linen gauze is a lightweight material that is not hard to handle or hang on your own.

However, some set designers run into trouble when hanging sharkstooth scrim if they’ve never used this fabric before. Because of its open weave and weight, sharkstooth scrim falls into somewhat of an hourglass shape when it is hung. To solve this problem, set designers must add the proper amount of support to both sides of the scrim. Supporting the sides will straighten the scrim and prevent the center from creating an hourglass shape. But, it’s difficult to add support to the sides if this area is visible to the audience. Therefore, inexperienced set designers may find it hard to work with sharkstooth scrim.

At this point, you should have all of the information you need to make this decision. If you’re interested in purchasing linen gauze, sharkstooth, or leno filled scrim, contact Chicago Canvas & Supply. We are your leading source for backdrops, textiles, theatre fabrics, tarps, drop cloths, and more. We are happy to send free material samples to our clients. To place a request for samples, contact us today by calling 1-866-389-2218 or emailing email@chicagocanvas.com.

How Do Sound Absorbing Fabrics Work?

Nothing is worse than a loud and unexpected noise interrupting a live play or recording session. You can’t control the noise that people in your immediate surroundings make, but you can put certain tools in place to prevent these sounds from interfering with your performance.

Sound absorbing fabrics are often used to drown out noise on theater sets, stages, and in music studios. Sometimes, these fabrics are even used to separate small living spaces within a single room so residents feel like they have some level of privacy. There’s no doubt that these fabrics offer a number of benefits in many settings. Despite their popularity, many people are not familiar with how sound absorbing fabrics work. How can a fabric silence outside noise? Here’s what you need to know:

How Sound Travels Through Space

Sound travels through space in the form of sound waves, which are bursts of energy emitted from the source of the sound. Sound waves start off strong, but they lose energy as they travel, which explains why you cannot hear a sound if you are far away from its source.

When sound waves enter a room, they reflect off of surfaces such as the walls, ceiling, furniture, and floors. Some of the sound waves bounce off of the surfaces and reflect into the room, whereas others are absorbed by the surfaces. A fraction of the sound waves in the latter group will penetrate the surface and continue traveling through space. But, the other portion of the sound waves absorbed by surfaces are converted into heat energy. When a sound wave is converted into heat energy, it means the surface has essentially muffled the sound and prevented it from traveling any further.

Now that you know how sound travels, it should be fairly easy to understand why there are two ways to drown out noise. The first involves creating more distance between the audience and the source of the noise. This is because sound waves lose energy as they travel. However, it is not always possible to rely on this method when you are in a finite space such as a theater or music studio. In these situations, the second method is used. The second method involves absorbing or reflecting sound waves using some sort of barrier. In many cases, the barrier that is used is sound absorbing fabric.

How Sound Absorbing Fabrics Block Sound

Sound absorbing fabric acts as a surface that absorbs sound waves and converts them into heat energy. Although every fabric is capable of converting some percentage of sound waves into heat energy, sound absorbing fabric is designed to absorb and convert all or most of the sound waves that come into contact with it. The conversion prevents the sound waves from traveling any further, meaning it drowns out the sound. Therefore, the higher the percentage of sound waves that a fabric can convert into heat energy, the more “sound proof” a fabric becomes.

The Best Sound Absorbing Materials

A number of materials are often marketed as sound absorbing or sound proof, but some are more effective than others. The best sound absorbing materials are thick and porous. It’s harder for sound waves to penetrate thick fabrics, so a thick material will be more effective in drowning out sound instead of letting the waves simply pass through. Porous fabrics are preferred because the pores act as tiny sound traps that are capable of capturing the sound waves as they make contact with the surface of the material. Fabrics that are not porous are more likely to reflect the sound waves back into the room instead of absorbing them to initiate the conversion to heat energy.

Another characteristic that is important when it comes to sound absorbing fabrics is texture. Smooth fabrics reflect sound waves, but textured fabrics are better at absorbing them. Why? The texture creates a slightly uneven surface, so sound waves that make contact with the fabric will lose energy by bouncing between different parts of the fabric’s surface instead of simply being thrown back into the room.

So, which fabric is best? Most experts would agree that suede and velvet are two of the best choices when it comes to sound absorbing fabrics. These fabrics are heavy and porous with textured surfaces, so they are capable of absorbing a significant amount of sound waves. Since velvet is less expensive than suede and just as effective, many set designers prefer this option. Velvet also has a luxurious look that makes it the perfect fabric to incorporate into an intricate set design.

The stage is not the only place where velvet is used to drown out noise. Many people hang velvet curtains in their bedrooms so they can block out noise and fall asleep with ease. Velvet is also thick enough to block sunlight, so these curtains are often referred to as “blackout curtains” since they prevent natural light from entering the room.

If your heart is set on a thinner fabric that does not absorb much sound, try using multiple layers of the fabric instead of relying on just one. Using multiple layers will add thickness so the fabric is more capable of absorbing sound waves and drowning out noise.

If you’re interested in purchasing sound absorbing fabrics, contact Chicago Canvas & Supply. We pride ourselves on providing high quality fabrics for photography sessions and theater sets. Chicago Canvas is your leading source for backdrops, textiles, theatre fabrics, tarps, drop cloths, and more. We are more than happy to provide clients with free samples so they can ensure they are choosing the right fabric for their needs. To place a request for samples, contact us today by calling 1-866-389-2218 or emailing email@chicagocanvas.com.

When to Use PVC Tarps

Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is one of the most frequently used plastics in the world. In fact, it is estimated that over 40 million tons of PVC are used every year, and this number is expected to grow over the next several years. PVC is used in hundreds of different ways. It is used to create credit cards, medical devices, children’s toys, raincoats, shower curtains, and more. In addition to these uses, this popular material is also used to create tarps.

PVC is one of many materials that is used to create tarps. Some of the other common materials that are used to create tarps include canvas, mesh, and vinyl. When should you use a PVC tarp instead of one of the other options available? Here are some of the most common uses of PVC tarps:

Construction Sites

It’s common for construction companies to use PVC tarps while working on construction sites. The tarps are thrown over heavy machinery and other equipment found on construction sites in order to protect it when it is not in use. Heavy machinery and equipment is often left on-site even when the workers go home because it is too difficult to transport back and forth everyday. PVC tarps are used to protect equipment and machinery because of their resistance to various environmental elements, including water, wind, and UV rays. These tarps are also extremely durable, which is why construction workers trust them to protect expensive equipment and machinery.


PVC tarps are perfect for outdoor use, so they are often used on campsites as well. A PVC tarp can be tossed over firewood to ensure it does not get ruined in a rainstorm. It can also cover supplies that you need to protect while in the wilderness. Many campers even use PVC tarps to create a makeshift tent that provides protection from the sun, wind, and rain. If you already have a tent, place a PVC tarp inside to protect the bottom from damage. These are just a handful of ways that PVC tarps are used on campsites. Because these tarps are so useful while camping, it’s a good idea to pack a few PVC tarps in your bag if you’re planning to spend a few nights under the stars in the future.

In the Garage

Because PVC tarps are so durable, they are often used to protect valuable belongings that homeowners store in their garage. For example, a PVC tarp can cover bicycles, boats, motorcycles, tool boxes, and other prized possessions. Even though these items are not exposed to many environmental elements in the garage, the PVC tarp adds another layer of protection to ensure your items are safe.

Home Improvement Projects

Handymen typically use PVC tarps in a number of ways when working on home improvement projects. If you’re planning on painting the walls, cover the floors and furniture with PVC tarps first. Paint that splashes or drips off of the walls will land on the PVC tarp instead of your furniture or floors. PVC tarps are also perfect for outdoor painting jobs since they are so resistant to harsh environmental elements. Throw a PVC tarp over your landscaping before you start to paint to make sure you don’t splash paint onto your beautiful flowers.

Workers may need to walk in and out of your home repeatedly while working on a renovation, repair, or remodel. As they walk in and out, they could bring dirt and debris into your home and ruin your carpets. To prevent this from happening, it’s best to lay PVC tarps down on your flooring before inviting workers inside. They can walk across the PVC tarps as they move in and out of your home so they don’t accidentally stain your carpeting with their dirty shoes.

If you’re completely renovating part of your home, it’s important to block this area off until the work has been done. Hanging a PVC tarp in the doorway can prevent dust from the construction site from flying through the rest of your home. It can also prevent little ones and animals from accidentally walking into a construction zone within your home. Since PVC is transparent, you can still keep an eye on the work that’s being done without removing the tarp or putting yourself in harm’s way.

PVC tarp can also come in handy when your home is in need of repair, but you must wait for a repairman to arrive. For example, let’s say you discover a leak in your roof, but no one can come to your home to repair it for several hours. Instead of letting the water damage the inside of your home, lay a PVC tarp down to protect your home until help arrives. These are just some of the many ways that PVC tarps are used in home improvement projects.

Transporting Equipment Via Truck

If you need to transport equipment or tools in your pick-up truck, it’s smart to cover everything with a PVC tarp before you hit the road. This is especially true if there’s rain or high winds in the weather forecast. Before you start the ignition, make sure that the PVC tarp is securely in place so it does not fly off once the truck begins moving. As long as it’s in place, it will keep everything safe until you’ve reached your final destination.

As you can see, PVC tarps are versatile and can be used in many different situations. If you’re interested in purchasing a PVC tarp, contact Chicago Canvas & Supply. We are your leading source for backdrops, textiles, theatre fabrics, tarps, drop cloths, and more. We are happy to send free material samples to our clients. To place a request for samples, contact us today by calling 1-866-389-2218 or emailing email@chicagocanvas.com.

The Pros and Cons of Muslin Backdrops

Before purchasing a backdrop, it’s important to research the different fabric options so you can determine which one is right for you. A number of different fabrics are often used as backdrops, including muslin, which is a medium-weight woven cotton fabric. Here are the pros and cons of muslins backdrops:

Pro: Durability

Perhaps the biggest advantage of a muslin backdrop is its durability. Muslin is a reusable fabric that can easily withstand normal wear and tear, so your backdrop will look as good as new after multiple uses. Unlike other fabrics, it will not tear if someone accidentally steps on it while working on set. There’s also no way to scuff the surface of muslin, so there’s no need to panic if someone accidentally runs into the backdrop.

Pro: Easy to Store and Transport

Fabrics often become damaged or unusable if they are not stored or transported carefully, but that’s not the case with muslin. There’s no need to carefully store muslin in between uses–simply stuff it into a bag when you’re done with it. Folding it neatly will create creases in muslin that must be removed before use, so it’s actually better to keep it stuffed in a bag so you can prevent creases.

Pro: Appearance

Many photographers and stage designers prefer muslin backdrops over other fabrics because of the way it looks. Muslin holds onto dyes better than other fabrics, so the colors are more vivid and saturated. It can also be colored to create an “old master” style backdrop, which features lighter colors in the center of the backdrop surrounded by darker colors on the edges. Although many backdrops are solid colored, muslin often comes in a variety of fun and creative patterns.

There are countless options to choose from when it comes to muslin backdrops. There are many different ways to add color, richness, and texture to a muslin backdrop, which is why so many creative professionals are drawn to this fabric.

Pro: Non-Reflective Surface

Muslin is also a non-reflective fabric. The flash of a camera or the shine of the spotlight will not reflect off of a muslin backdrop and distract from the models or actors on set.

Pro: The Price

A high quality backdrop does not come cheap. But, muslin is inexpensive compared to other popular backdrop options, including canvas. Some people think that muslin is priced too high, however it’s important to remember that this is a low maintenance and durable fabric that will last for years, so it’s a wise investment.

Pro: Thickness of the Fabric

Muslin is not extremely thick, but it is thick enough to block light from shining through it. This is another reason why so many photographers and stage designers love working with muslin. Because it blocks light, photographers can use the flash on their cameras without worrying about capturing whatever is sitting behind the backdrop. Stage designers can shine spotlights brightly onto actors without worrying about whether or not the silhouettes of objects behind the backdrop will become visible. This is a common problem with other fabrics, which is why this gives muslin such a huge advantage over its competitors.

Pro: Easy to Handle

Muslin is thick enough to block out light, but its thickness does not add a great deal of weight to this fabric. Most creative professionals find that muslin is very easy to handle and transport because it is so lightweight. This fabric is so light that it can be hung from many different types of support, which makes setting up a photo shoot in an unconventional or outdoor location much easier. There’s no need to bring in professional equipment to support the backdrop as long as you can improvise with something that is available on set.

Pro: Draped or Hung

Muslin was widely used to create dresses in the past because it is so easy to drape. This quality also makes it perfect for photo shoots and stages. Muslin backdrops can be draped over objects on set to hide props that the photographer or director does not want the audience to see.

Con: Used Frequently

Creative professionals recognize the many benefits that muslin has to offer, which is why this fabric is frequently used as a backdrop on professional photo shoots and on stage. The fact that muslin is so popular makes it unappealing to some creative professionals. If you want a unique-looking backdrop that will turn heads, muslin is probably not the best choice because many people in the industry use it on a regular basis.

Con: Absorbent Material

Muslin is an absorbent material, so if someone accidentally spills something onto the backdrop, it will absorb quickly and could stain. But fortunately, muslin is a machine washable fabric. If something spills on the fabric and absorbs before you can clean it up, simply toss the muslin into a washing machine to reverse the damage.

Con: Wrinkled Texture

As previously mentioned, it is possible to create deep creases and wrinkles in muslin fabric if it is not stored correctly. No one wants to see wrinkles on their backdrop, which is why this is one of the main disadvantages of using this fabric. The wrinkles can be removed using a handheld steamer, but this takes time that many creative professionals do not have while on set.

It’s clear that the pros of muslin backdrops greatly outweigh the several disadvantages of this fabric. If you’re interested in purchasing muslin backdrops, contact Chicago Canvas & Supply. We are your leading source for backdrops, textiles, theatre fabrics, tarps, drop cloths, and more. We are happy to send free material samples to our clients. To place a request for samples, contact us today by calling 1-866-389-2218 or emailing email@chicagocanvas.com.

How Does Rip Stop Nylon Work?

Rip stop nylon is not a household name like cotton or silk, but it is a fabric that is commonly used in the entertainment industry. As its name suggests, rip stop nylon is a type of fabric that is incredibly resistant to rips and tears. In fact, rip style nylon is designed to prevent small rips and tears from spreading and completely destroying the entire piece of fabric. Because of its durability, rip stop nylon is often used to create tents, sails, sleeping bags, and even military parachutes. But, this fabric is also ideal for set designers and photographers that need a long lasting stage backdrop or banner.

How Rip Stop Nylon is Made

To understand how rip stop nylon works, it’s important to learn the history of nylon itself. Throughout history, people have turned to nylon when they are in need of a durable fabric. Nylon is a synthetic material that was first used to create toothbrush bristles in the late 1930s. The interest in this material began to grow once it was used to create women’s pantyhose, which are often referred to as nylons. But, the demand reached its peak in World War II, when nearly all of the nylon produced in the U.S. was used to create parachutes and other gear for the military. It was during this time that rip stop nylon was invented. The companies that were manufacturing parachutes for military members were looking for another fabric that could replace the use of silk in their products. They wanted a fabric that was just as lightweight as silk, but much more durable. The result was rip stop nylon, which is now widely used to create countless products for consumers.

Rip stop nylon is a lightweight material that consists entirely of nylon fabric. But, rip stop nylon is not standard nylon. Rip stop nylon is created by weaving nylon threads through a piece of fabric (typically cotton, polyester, or nylon) that serves as the base material. The nylon threads create an interlocking pattern that makes the material far more durable and resistant to rips and tears. If part of the fabric does happen to rip, the interlocked threading will stop the rip in its tracks and prevent it from spreading.

How to Spot Rip Stop Nylon

It’s possible that there are products made out of rip stop nylon in your home or garage at this very moment. Many common household items are made out of rip stop nylon, including equipment or furniture covers, tarps, kites, sleeping bags, camping equipment, and flags. It’s easy to spot rip stop nylon–that is, as long as you know what to look for.

The main difference between standard nylon and rip stop nylon is the interlocked threading that increases the durability of the fabric. The interlocked pattern is not visible from a distance, but if you get close to the fabric, you should spot the nylon threads weaving in and out of the base material. The interlocked pattern typically adds a three-dimensional texture to the fabric that is hard to miss. If you see or feel this interlocked pattern, this indicates that it is a rip stop nylon instead of standard nylon material.

Other Features of Rip Stop Nylon

A high resistance to rips is not the only benefit that rip stop nylon offers. Rip stop nylon is also fire retardant, which makes it the perfect backdrop for photo shoots and plays. This fabric is available in a wide variety of colors as well, so you should not have any trouble finding the perfect shade to complement your set. Black or white rip stop nylon is ideal for photographers or set  managers that want a subtle, solid backdrop that will not distract the audience. However, there are also bright and bold colors available, including teal, royal blue, yellow, orange, and silver.

Even though this fabric is strong, it is also surprisingly light. Set managers and photographers love how easy it is to set up a rip stop nylon backdrop. There’s no need to call for backup or try to find an extra set of hands–it’s so lightweight, it can easily be handled by one person.

The fabric is available in several different thicknesses. The thinnest option is somewhat sheer and fairly breathable, which makes it ideal for clothing and athletic uniforms. Thin rip stop nylon is also softer to the touch with more flexibility, whereas thicker rip stop nylon fabric is more rigid and coarse. Although thin fabric is ideal for clothing, it is best to use a thicker rip stop nylon as a photo shoot or stage backdrop.

Some varieties of rip stop nylon are waterproof, too. If you are planning on using the fabric outdoors, it’s best to look for one that is waterproof so it is not damaged if it happens to rain.

Rip stop nylon is also affordable–especially when compared to other textiles and fabrics that are used as backdrops. This material is priced by the yard, so you never have to pay for fabric that you won’t use. Don’t let the low price fool you–this is not a one-time use fabric. This fabric is durable enough for repeated use as long as it is stored properly between uses.

There are countless benefits to using rip stop nylon as a backdrop for your next photo shoot or play. If you’re interested in purchasing high quality rip stop nylon, contact Chicago Canvas & Supply now. We are your leading source for textiles, theatre fabrics, tarps, drop cloths, backdrops, and more. To place a request for free material samples or to learn more about our many products, contact us today by calling 1-866-389-2218 or emailing email@chicagocanvas.com.

5 Uses For Chroma Key (Green Screen) Fabric

Chroma key is a cotton fabric that is known for its unique green color. This color does more than just brighten the room–it also serves as what is known as a “green screen.”

A green screen is a type of backdrop that is often used in the entertainment industry. Actors frequently film scenes in front of green screens, but the chroma key fabric won’t end up in the final cut of the movie. Instead, the media technicians remove the green screen from the shot and replace it with whatever background they’d like. This allows movie directors to shoot scenes in fantastical settings without ever leaving the studio.

People outside of Hollywood use green screens, too. In fact, there are plenty of uses for this fascinating fabric. Here are five creative ways to use green screens:

Film A Music Video

Showcase your musical talents by filming a music video in front of a green screen. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars so you can film the video in a unique location as long as you are standing in front of a green screen. Sing or play your heart out, then edit the video so you can remove the green screen and replace it with an eye-catching background. You can even use multiple backgrounds so it seems as if you are traveling to different locations during the music video. This is a great way to put your creativity to the test and promote your musical act.

Unleash Your Super Powers

You can also use a green screen to unleash your secret super powers. Have you ever dreamed of being invisible? If so, make this dream a reality with the help of a green screen. Instead of posing in front of the green screen, wrap the chroma key fabric around your body. The parts of your body that are covered by fabric will appear to be invisible after the film has been edited.

It’s also possible to create the illusion that you are a superhero capable of flying or leaping across tall buildings. To do this, place the chroma key fabric on the floor. You should be standing in front of another chroma key green screen as well. Now, you can edit out your surroundings and make it look as if you are jumping from building-to-building or mountain-to-mountain without breaking a sweat! Make it even more believable by setting up a fan to blow your hair and superhero cape in the wind.

You can unleash the power of time travel with a green screen as well. Insert yourself into historical scenes so it appears that you have traveled back in time. Be sure that every inch of your surroundings is covered by chroma key fabric so everything can be removed in the editing room. If an inch of your surroundings is visible, your audience may question your super powers!

Step Into Your Favorite Story

Many people wonder what it would be like to interact with their favorite fictional characters. This may seem impossible, but a green screen can make it happen. Pick out a scene from your favorite movie or TV show and memorize the physical location of the characters on the screen and the way they interact with one another. Then, film yourself in front of a green screen and pretend that you are a part of the scene you just watched. In the editing room, the green screen can be removed and replaced with the scene from your favorite TV show or movie. So, if you’ve done it right, it should seem as if you are interacting directly with your favorite fictional characters.

Feel free to choose any movie or TV show you desire. Don’t be afraid to choose a cartoon, either. It’s exciting to see yourself step into an animated world and interact with cartoon characters.

Take Beautiful Photographs

Filmmakers are not the only ones who use green screens on a regular basis–photographers do, too. A green screen gives you the opportunity to take beautiful photographs in front of practically any backdrop. You can take a picture of yourself laying on the sandy beaches in Hawaii, enjoying the crisp mountain air in Colorado, or standing in front of national landmarks such as the Washington Monument or Statue of Liberty. Use your imagination to come up with the perfect backdrop for your photographs. Then, strike a pose in front of the green screen so you can remove the background in the editing room.

Teach Students

Green screens are used in classrooms across the country, too. Students that are studying filmmaking or editing are expected to use green screens on a regular basis, but they’re not the only ones. Many students outside of this field also learn how to use green screens inside the classroom. For example, students in a broadcasting class can stand in front of a green screen to record interviews, read the headline news, or even forecast the weather. This is an invaluable opportunity that can help students see what it would be like to work in the newsroom.

Teachers also encourage their students to use green screens when they are involved in mock court cases or completing history projects. Students love using green screens to make their presentations and projects more interesting and enjoyable to watch for everyone in the classroom.

As you can see, there are countless ways to use green screens. If you’re interested in purchasing chroma key fabric, contact Chicago Canvas & Supply. We are your leading source for green screens, textiles, theatre fabrics, tarps, drop cloths, and more. We are happy to send free material samples to our clients. To place a request for samples, contact us today by calling 1-866-389-2218 or emailing email@chicagocanvas.com.

Canvas vs. Plastic Drop Cloths

Painters need a number of supplies in order to get the job done, and a high quality drop cloth is just as important to a painter as a paintbrush or can of paint. Drop cloths are placed over flooring and furniture and are designed to protect them from paint splashes and splatters. Drop cloths come in a number of different materials, but canvas and plastic are two of the most popular choices. What type of drop cloth will offer your valuables the most protection? Here’s what you need to know about canvas vs. plastic drop cloths:


Drop cloth prices can vary depending on the size of the item, the quality of its construction, and the retailer. But in general, plastic drop cloths are less expensive than canvas drop cloths. In fact, canvas drop clothes are the most expensive of all drop cloths. It is tempting to purchase the drop cloth that costs the least simply because of its low price, but remember that price is just one of many factors you should consider before choosing a drop cloth.

The Weight of the Material

Plastic is a lightweight material, which makes it easier to throw over furniture. Since plastic is not heavy and bulky, it is the perfect material to use as a cover for odd-shaped furniture pieces. However, the lightweight nature of plastic also has its disadvantages. Professional painters know that when it comes to drop cloths, heavier fabrics are better because they are thicker than lightweight materials. Thick materials are more absorbent, so they absorb more paint and prevent it from soaking through to the furniture or flooring.

It can be hard to throw heavy canvas over a piece of furniture on your own, but this shouldn’t be the reason you decide against canvas. Ask a friend for help putting the drop cloths in position so you don’t feel the need to settle for a material that is easier to handle. Canvas also comes in a variety of different weights, so consider choosing a slightly lighter canvas if you’re concerned about an unmanageable weight.


Another important factor to consider is the durability of the drop cloth material. Professional painters think of canvas as an indestructible material–and for good reason. Plastic can tear easily, so it is not a good choice if you intend on covering sharp objects that could puncture the material. There’s no need to worry about puncture marks or tears in your canvas drop cloth, however. If you purchase a canvas drop cloth, it will last for years as long as it is stored and cleaned properly.

Slippery Surface

Since drop cloths are placed on the floor, it’s also important to consider the slipperiness of the drop cloth material’s surface. Most canvas drop cloths are designed with a rubberized butyl backing, which will grab onto the furniture or flooring and hold the drop cloth in place. This backing ensures that a canvas drop cloth will not slip and slide under your feet as you walk across it.

Plastic drop cloths are not designed with this feature, so they may not stay in place. This is a major problem when painting outside since a strong gust of wind could send your plastic drop cloth flying across the lawn. Both inside and outside, the lack of grip on a plastic drop cloth creates a dangerous safety hazard. If you cover your flooring with a plastic drop cloth, it’s important to wear slip resistant shoes and watch your step carefully. You should also consider taping the plastic drop cloth down or using weights on the edges of the drop cloth to hold it firmly in place.


As previously mentioned, canvas is a thick material that can absorb a great deal of paint. Plastic, on the other hand, is impermeable, but not absorbent. If paint is spilled on a plastic drop cloth, the paint will run down the length of the drop cloth instead of absorbing into the material. It will not seep through the plastic and ruin your flooring or furniture, but running paint could lead to a huge mess if every inch of your furniture and flooring is not covered with a drop cloth.


Professional painters tend to gravitate towards canvas drop cloths because they are reusable. A canvas drop cloth can be washed and used an infinite number of times. But, plastic drop cloths are typically single-use products. It’s not logical for a professional painter to choose a plastic drop cloth since they paint so often, but this is a practical choice for homeowners who only need a drop cloth for a single painting project.

Impact on the Environment

Eco-conscious consumers may want to consider the impact that each drop cloth material has on the environment. Canvas drop cloths are durable enough to use over and over again, so you won’t produce as much waste as you would if you were to purchase a new plastic drop cloth for every paint project. Canvas is also made out of cotton, so it is a recyclable material that is accepted at nearly every recycling facility. Cotton is biodegradable, so it will break down over time even if the drop cloth ends up in a landfill. However, the same cannot be said for plastic. If choosing an environmentally-friendly drop cloth is important to you, it’s best to go with canvas instead of plastic.

By now, you should have a general idea of the differences between canvas and plastic drop cloths. For more information, contact Chicago Canvas & Supply. We are your leading source for textiles, theatre fabrics, tarps, drop cloths, and more. To ask us questions or request free material samples, contact us today by calling 1-866-389-2218 or emailing email@chicagocanvas.com.