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I'm trying to make a sail with tarpaulin. What can i use to sew and/or glue the tarps together? Answered

I'm trying to put together two polyethylene tarps together for a makeshift sail i'm working on. I've looked at some spray adhesives but I've never used them before an am not sure how much i can trust them. What are some spray adhesives i could use? I'm looking for something that is extremely strong and waterproof (i'd be great if it's UV resistant too). I'm thinking i'll also hand stitch it too just to add extra strength - any advise there? 


9 Replies

Aaron Cole (author)rickharris2015-06-02
Downunder35m (author)2015-06-02

I don't know much about sails but I did build my fair share of big kites.
Nothing beats a good sewing machine and proper yarn to join big pieces.
With a double folded seam it will survive the strongest wind.
Gluing poly tarps is not easy and best option IMHO would be to hot melt them together.
There are "soldering rollers" just for that purpose.

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Aaron Cole (author)Downunder35m2015-06-02

What kind of yarn would you suggest? I've seen people recommend anything from normal thread to nylon twine (can that be done with a sewing machine?).

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Downunder35m (author)Aaron Cole2015-06-02

For the kites I use twisted polyester yarn, quite thin like the stuff you would use for normal stiching but thinner than the one for jeans.
It has a very high breaking strenght about 10 times higher than cotton yarn.
The biggest problem is to fod the seams properly, for the kite material I can use a few drops of superglue but that won't work on a tarp.
But using a hot iron set to something between silk and cotton should warm the folded material enough so it stays folded.
Would still use a bit contact glue in some areas so it all stays firmly together during the stiching.
Setting the sewing machine right for this type of yarn is not that easy though...
The yarn gives very little friction and you have to adjust the tension for both the upper and lower yarn so the stich crosses inside the tarp and not on the outside - if you have just a line with loops on one side you have get more tension on the other side.

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Just forgot to mention:
If I need to get an extremely strong stiching line I use braided fishing line.
The 50pound line is tough as nails an so far never let me down, I even stich recovery straps with that stuff and so far only the straps failed in extreme situations but never the stiched loops at the ends.

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iceng (author)2015-06-02

Would you care to give us the target a sail size ?

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steveastrouk (author)2015-06-02

Me, I'd buy a bunch of gripclips from


There's not a better way of joining tarps together.

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rickharris (author)steveastrouk2015-06-02


you could sew with an ordinary sewing machine - Use a long stitch.


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