How To Patch A Canvas Tent The Right Way

Canvas tents are one of the most common tent options for campers mainly for their durability and protection against adverse weather conditions.

But, as with any type of tent material, canvas does deteriorate over time, resulting in tears and holes.

If you’ve noticed a hole or tear form in your canvas tent then follow our simple 3 step process below to patch the tent quickly and effectively!

How To Patch A Canvas Tent Step-By-Step

There are multiple ways to patch the canvas shell of a tent. Some ways are obviously better than others.

So, let’s look at the most effective way to patch your tent in 3 simple steps to avoid having to continually fix the patched hole.

Step 1: Sew The Holes Shut

The great thing about canvas is that you can easily sew it back together. Locate the hole in the tent and sew it shut with a thread and sewing awl.

We prefer the Speedy Stitcher as it’s a very simple-to-use hand tool that creates lock-stitches like a sewing machine but is portable and a lot more affordable. If you’ve ever sewed anything in your life, you’ll wonder how you lived without this super-handy little tool! Yep, it’s just that good!

Here’s everything you need to know on how to use the Speedy Stitcher sewing awl:

Canvas Tent Repair Kit with Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl (Complete Kit)

Canvas Tent Repair Kit with Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl (Complete Kit)

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Step 2: Cut The Patches

After you properly sew the tear, you will need to cover the damaged areas with canvas, inside and outside. The material around a tear weakens, so covering it reduces the chances of further damage.

Waterproof canvas is your best bet for the outer layer, so cut a piece that is large enough to cover the hole or tear entirely. Be sure to round the corners of the patches. In fact, a circle patch is best. Square patches tend to fail and lose their adhesiveness at the sharp corners.

Tip: Be sure the area around the tear is clean and your canvas tent is dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 3: Apply The Patches

We’ll start with the inside patch. Use Tear Mender glue to apply the canvas patch to the inside of the tent.

First, apply the glue to the bottom of the patch. Then, place the patch carefully, being sure to completely cover the tear, and press it into place. Use something steady to hold it down until it is dry.

Tear Mender glue comes as a part of the complete Canvas Tent Patch Kit:

Canvas Tent Repair Kit with Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl (Complete Kit)

Canvas Tent Repair Kit with Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl (Complete Kit)

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Now, we want to follow the same process for the outside patch.

So, apply the glue to the bottom of the patch and carefully apply it and press it into place. Use something steady to hold it down until it is dry.

Tip: Glue products differ widely, so be sure to pay careful attention to the preparation and drying instructions.

Once the glue has dried your canvas tent should be as good as new!

FAQs Related To How To Patch A Canvas Tent

Which Tools Do You Need To Patch A Canvas Tent?

Patching a canvas tent requires the following materials:

  • Scissors
  • Sewing awl and thread
  • Canvas glue
  • Canvas material

You can also find repair kits designed specifically for canvas tents. It comes with all the essential items needed for the patchwork.

Canvas Tent Repair Kit with Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl (Complete Kit)

Canvas Tent Repair Kit with Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl (Complete Kit)

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

How Long Does It Take To Patch A Canvas Tent?

The duration of the whole patching process varies on the number and size of the tears. Typically, it can take a beginner anywhere from thirty to sixty minutes to patch a hole.

With experience, you may be able to do it in under twenty minutes.

How Do I Fix Small Tears And Rips?

For small tears and rips that are less than a half inch you only need to use canvas and repair glue.

  • Take a piece of canvas and cut a small patch. Be sure the patch completely covers the small tear and the edges are rounded. A circle patch is best.
  • Glue the patch to the inside of the tent being sure to completely cover the tear.
  • Repeat the process by gluing another patch over the tear to the outside of the tent.
  • Apply weight to the patches and allow the glue to dry completely.

We recommend the use of Tear Mender glue and real canvas for the patches, both of which are available in this kit:

Canvas Tent Repair Kit with Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl (Complete Kit)

Canvas Tent Repair Kit with Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl (Complete Kit)

Price:
Buy Now on Amazon

Clicking this link to make a purchase may earn us a commission at no additional cost to you.

Can I Sew Small Tears And Rips Together?

Yes, exactly as we detail above. Remember, the process is more technical and will take much longer than taping it back together, but the results are permanent and worth the extra effort.

It’s a good idea to pack a Canvas Tent Patch Kit for use on camping trips so you can quickly patch any tears immediately. If left untreated, it can result in larger holes that are difficult to repair.

You should also thoroughly inspect your tent after each camping trip for rips and tears. Catch the problem early and save yourself a lot of time and money later.

Do Iron-On Patches Work On Canvas?

You can find iron-on options for canvas tents that need a little less work.

However, the technique of sewing and applying a patch is better since it is more durable. Sewing the hole seals it tightly before applying the patch. This attention to detail keeps the canvas around the hole compressed, reducing the chance of tearing any further.

Iron-on patchwork doesn’t compare, making it far more vulnerable to future damage in the same area of the tent.

How Should I Store My Tent To Avoid Rips And Tears?

Storing your tent in a safe place is important for its longevity. When putting the tent away, store it on a smooth, dry surface to avoid nicks, tears, dust accumulation, and pests.

Rips and tears aren’t the only concern—if the tent gets wet, there is far more to worry about than a few holes. Once mildew starts to form, you have a whole new set of problems. Keep the tent in a dry area that’s clean and easy to access.

And if you do notice mildew growing on your tent, check out our guide on how to clean a tent with mold to get it back to tip-top shape.

Can Anyone Patch A Canvas Tent?

Yes, anyone can patch a canvas tent using our simple 3 step process above. Sewing is the only technical aspect of the whole process, but you can practice on any extra piece of cloth you have lying around at home. Commit to it until you can sew tiny seams close together to shut the hole securely before applying the patch.

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