Find New Life For Old Tarps

Tarps are one of the most versatile items to have in your home or garage. The wide variety of sizes and materials makes them useful in many applications from protecting your car or boat from the elements to using them to haul leaves and debris across your yard.

When they’re new, these covers can protect almost anything but eventually, they wear out. Like most things, they can be reused and repurposed when they’ve outlived their original function. Instead of throwing them away here are some creative uses for an old tarp.

Reusing Your Tarps

What you reuse a tarp for depends on the type of material it is made of. Poly materials are great for waterproofing applications whereas canvas is better suited to protecting items that need breathability. With a good pair of scissors and some creativity there is no limit to what you can do with an old tarp!

Protect Smaller Items From The Elements

Just because a tarp is damaged in one area doesn’t mean the whole thing is bad. With a little creativity, you can re-fashion the old material for use in the same application. For example, a boat cover may break down and weaken over time on the top, which is where it gets the most direct sunlight, rain, wind and snow. But the sides might still be in perfectly good shape. If so, you can easily cut the damaged parts of the tarp off and cut down the good parts to fit other applications. A boat cover may be cut down to become an engine, seat or battery cover, used to wrap up fishing gear or protect the spare tire on the trailer. Use bungee cords to hold them in place.

Probably one of the most common uses for tarps, old and new, is to cover the backyard woodpile to keep your firewood dry. You can take that a step further by covering up your backyard fire pit if you know you’ll be using it soon but rain is in the forecast. When a tarp wears out, check it for sections that are still in good shape, then cut them into a manageable size and use that to create a handy log carrier.

Protect Delicate Areas

Canvas offers protection from wetness but allows air to circulate through. In their prime, canvas tarps are commonly used by painters as drop cloths and to protect outside items from rusting. Once they wear out, tears, rips and holes make it harder for these tarps to remain water-resistant, but they still have plenty of functions. They can be used to protect plantings, flower beds and garden crops from early or late frosts or use them as trunk or truck bed liners if you’re going to be hauling muddy or dirty materials or want to protect the interior surface of your vehicle.

Fun For The Kids

You can use your old tarps in practically any situation where you need to protect or cover something, but they can be used for good old-fashioned fun too. Drape the tarp over a cord hung between two trees and make a play tent for your kids. Use it to cover up a sandbox or kiddie pool or create an awning to provide a shaded area to play. Lay it on the floor and let them sit on it during messy activities like playing with modeling clay or finger painting. Clean up will be a breeze!

Next time you’re faced with a worn out tarp, take a minute to think about other ways you could use it or pieces of it. You’ll be surprised by how many ways an old tarp can be repurposed. In the process, you’ll save money by not having to buy new products for these uses and you’ll also extend the life of your tarp.