Can you sew billboard tarp?

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LowePro
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Can you sew billboard tarp?

Post by LowePro » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:53 pm

Hello, I'm thinking of making a cover for our dome with billboard vinyl, but adding some vents, hems, and zippers via sewing machine.

For people who have worked with used billboard vinyl/tarps before: Is it reasonable to cut and sew this stuff? Or is it too thick to sew successfully? I haven't seen it up close. I have a basic home sewing machine, not industrial strength.

Thank you all!

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Re: Can you sew billboard tarp?

Post by Turtleburp » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:09 pm

It is REALLY tough.
If it's the same stuff I ma thinking of it is multiple layers with mesh embedded!

Could you punch holes with a soldering iron (maybe double over and glue?) and use tarp grabbers to make eyelet edges?

I would glue* on zips (clean really well and use a solvent first)

*Edit - I mean nasty glue here - marine stuff
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Re: Can you sew billboard tarp?

Post by BoyScoutGirl » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:12 pm

I have zero experience with billboard tarp, but in the spirit of getting the discussion going, I would recommend buying a pack of thickest/strongest needles your machine takes and using those if you try. I've broken needles on areas of multiple layers of thick fabrics (denim, etc), but switching to a denim needle really helped to limit that. Also, sewing needles can dull so it might help to change them out to prevent burrs and snags.
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Re: Can you sew billboard tarp?

Post by FIGJAM » Sat Jun 15, 2013 7:22 pm

I've both glued and sown billboard vinyl.

It's not much of a challange either way, but if you glue you need HH-66 vinyl glue.

Make sure to put the white side of the vinyl to the OUTSIDE of the structure or the off gassing of the vinyl will make your dome unusable! 8)
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Re: Can you sew billboard tarp?

Post by CapSmashy » Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:13 pm

Done a lot of gluing of billboard vinyl. As FIGJAM said, get the right kind of glue.

Much easier than trying to sew it.

You will want to measure at least 3 times and dry fit all seams at least twice before gluing the pieces together.
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Re: Can you sew billboard tarp?

Post by thunderpig » Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:46 pm

I've never tried gluing billboard vinyl, but sewing was a piece of cake. As others said, use a big thick needle, and expect to break a couple if you're going through multiple layers. I would also use a wide spaced stitch instead of one that's very close together. Numerous holes close together seemed to weaken the vinyl, and make it slightly more prone to tearing.

Good luck! It's tough stuff but will last a while if you treat it right :)

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Re: Can you sew billboard tarp?

Post by Martiansky » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:08 pm

I sewed a cover for my dome out of billboard vinyl with a regular sewing machine just fine. Get the heavier jeans/canvas needles and upholstery or outdoor type thread. It cuts easy with a scissor but if you take a piece and kick at it, it is very tough.
I made it 2 pieces with a zipper to zip the bigger piece together and to act as a door. The top is held down with some bungees on 4 corners, although Id like to work on attaching it differently but my yard is too small to set it up in!
I added 2 small windows with screening but it gets hot in there during the day even with them open. (Hoping Figjams swampcooler will help with that)
I did order some vinyl cement (HH-66) to try for adding extra pieces at bottom edges of cover.
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Re: Can you sew billboard tarp?

Post by AntiM » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:22 am

Yep, I've sewn it on my regular machine, same thing, heavy duty needles for leather, and upholstery thread. Biggest pain was that it is bulky and hard to sling around a small sewing room.

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Re: Can you sew billboard tarp?

Post by Martiansky » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:34 am

Back when a friend helped me sew the dome cover we actually brought the sewing machine and table outside in the yard and it took the both of us to sew it...one to sit and sew and the other to hold the rolled up vinyl from the other side and help guide the roll through the machine.

And +1 on the leather needles.....forgot about those! Thanks AntiM!
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