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How to Waterproof Canvas Tarp [4 Different Ways Explained]

Worried about your next camping trip? What will happen if it’s raining in the camp and your canvas trap gets drenched? Well, that’s why you should use waterproof canvas tarps. 

How to waterproof canvas tarp?

There are a few easy ways to deal with this task. Applying water-resistant spray or waxing the canvas tarp are the most effective ways. You can make water waterproof by following some other ways. Using the 2nd layer, or purchasing a waterproof cover will also work to make them waterproof.

But, without learning the steps you might not be able to figure out everything. Below we have discussed the things you’ll be needing and the following steps you need to follow. So, let’s move on!

4 Effective Methods to Waterproof Canvas Trap

There are a lot of ways a canvas tarp can be waterproofed. We have listed 4 methods below. Here some of them are easy and quick. Also, some are a bit tricky but really effective. Let’s check them out all.

1. Water-Resistance Coating Method

Using water-resistance coating on canvas tarps is the most effective way to make it waterproof. But it won’t be completely waterproof. It’s better to say it will be water-resistant. So, even heavy rain will not pass through the canvas tarp. 

Things you’ll be needing:

  • Surface cleaner
  • Adhesive spray
  • Mask
  • Gloves
  • Water-resistant spray


  1. Clean the canvas tarp with surface cleaner.
  2. Put on mash and gloves for protection. Adhesive spray and water-resistant sprays are highly toxic. 
  3. Put adhesive spray on canvas tarp. This will work as a primer for paint. 
  4. Apply water-resistant spray. 

This will make the canvas tarp water-resistant. Be careful with adhesive spray. It can be difficult to remove adhesive from the floor. Also, e sure there is no tear or cut on the canvas tarp

2. Waxing Method

Waxing methods are not as effective as applying the water-resistant spray. But putting wax on a canvas tarp is comparatively cheaper. But the hardest part is to apply the wax liquid on the canvas tarp.

So let’s get into the things you’ll be needing:

  • Water-resisting wax
  • Brush
  • Cotton canvas tarp


  1. Lay the canvas tarp and clean any dust on it.
  2. Melt the wax in the bucket. 
  3. Brush the canvas with wax. 
  4. Let the canvas dry properly.

Make sure you wax the canvas tarp after every wash or so. Wash will remove all the wax from the tarp. Then it will lose its water-resisting capability. 

You can follow this same process to remove sink wax.

If you are thinking about purchasing wax to apply on the tarp, here are 2 suggestions for you:


These waxes are really good for applying on tarps. Do use it as per instruction so that you can use them properly.

3. 2nd Layer of Canvas Tarp

Sometimes there is an easier way to do things. You don’t have to do any extra steps to make your canvas tarp water-resistant this way.  

By using another canvas tarp on top of the other, there will be some level of water resistance. But there are a few problems with this. 

This is not the most effective way to make your canvas tarp water-resistant. This method will withstand any small rain or so. Also, you have to carry this extra canvas tarp with you on your trip. On top of that, placing a canvas tarp is harder.

So, even if it’s an easy method, it’s not that effective. 

4. Waterproof Canvas Tarp Cover

This method is similar to using 2 canvas tarps. There are available canvas tarp covers in the market. And you can use them to make your canvas tarp water-resistant.

There is a dedicated canvas tarp cover. Which are made out of polyester and synthetic materials. After hooking the canvas tarp. Through the cover on top of it. This will protect you from light and medium rains.

Also, removing stains from polyester is an easier process. 

For a cheaper version of this method, use a polythene sheet on top of the canvas tarp. You can find polythene at your local hardware store. You can set up really easily. Just put the polythene on top of the canvas tarp when you are hooking it to the ground.

How Effective is Waterproofed Canvas Tarp

There are canvas tarps that are waterproofed by the manufacturer. But making your existing non-water-proofed canvas tarp can be effective as well. It should protect you against rain. 

There are a lot of ways to make your canvas tarp water-resistant. Above mentioned methods are highly effective ones. Using a water-resistant spray is the best way to make your canvas tarp waterproof. But remember to clean with surface cleaner. Before you apply the adhesive and water-resistance spray

Canvas tarps are made to give you a temporary shelter in the wild. They are durable and can withstand heavy to light rain in general. Waterproofing will make it stronger around heavy rain

So yes, waterproofing canvas tarp is highly effective. 


Question: How frequently do I need to apply water-resistant spray?

Answer: If you washed your tarp, most probably the water resistance is gone. So apply after every wash.

Question: Are leather canvas tarps waterproof?

Answer: Leather canvas tarps are really aesthetic. But they lack functionality. So they are not water-resistant. 

Question: Does painting make canvas tarp waterproof?

Answer: Yes, some paints do. Plastic paints do make canvas tarps waterproof. 


That’s everything you need to know about how to waterproof canvas tarp. We hope this will help you to waterproof your tarps. 

Don’t forget to take safety measurements when you are following the steps or waterproofing. 

Good luck with your camping trip!