How to Make a Canvas Shelter

by Michael Belcher Google
Civil War reenactors use canvas tents and shelters.

Civil War reenactors use canvas tents and shelters.

Richard Ellis/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Canvas is a heavy, natural cotton cloth that has been used to make shelters and tents for hundreds of years. Modern canvas is usually treated to repel water and comes in a variety of colors. A canvas tarp can be used to make a simple overhead shelter that can keep off the rain during storms and give shade on a hot day. In a forest a tarp can be tied to several trees to hold it up or, if trees aren't available, tent poles can be used to prop up the tarp.

Items you will need

  • 10 x 20 Canvas Tarp
  • Brass grommets
  • Rope
  • 2 7-foot aluminum tent poles, 4 inch diameter
  • 6 6-foot aluminum tent poles, 2.5 inch diameter or larger
  • 10 Tent stakes
Step 1

Lay out canvas tarp. Attach the brass grommets to the corners and along the sides at one foot intervals if the tarp does not already have grommets.

Step 2

Tie ropes 10 to 15 feet long to the grommets on the four corners of the tarp. If trees are available, tie these ropes to the trees seven to eight feet off the ground. Tie off one end lower than the others so water not pool on the top of the tarp. Pooled water can eventually seep through canvas.

Step 3

Set two 7-foot poles in center grommets along the 10-foot long, or shorter, sides of the tarp, and four 6-foot poles in corner grommets. Set two 6-foot poles in the center grommets along the longer sides of the tarp to make a free-standing peak-roofed shelter.

Step 4

Attach tent stakes to the ropes tied to the grommets and hammer the stakes into the ground. These guy lines secure the shelter in case of high winds.

About the Author

Michael Belcher has been a public relations professional since 2008 working for university groups and volunteer groups. He has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Murray State University and is in Dublin, Ireland to finish a Master of Science in mass communications.

Photo Credits

  • Richard Ellis/Getty Images News/Getty Images