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Recycled Bedsheets Make The Best Waterproof Tarps

In this video I show an easy way to make your own silicone waterproofing and use it to make fabric tarps. Check out my sponsor, MEL Science, and use the code “nighthawk” for 60% off:

Hi everyone in this video i’ll be showing an easy method to recycle old bed sheets into waterproof tarps using common hardware store materials a similar method has been done for hundreds of years to make waterproof cloth using oil and beeswax usually applied to canvas but in this case the result will be more similar to a modern tent or waterproof jacket material

Which is fabric coated in silicone this sheet behind me is already treated and as you can see it maintains its flexibility and actually still feels just like ordinary cloth the difference is it will now shed water like a plastic tarp the result of this process is actually quite a bit more durable than an ordinary tarp because the woven plastic material that most

Tarps are made from easily breaks down when it’s put under repetitive strain whether by being folded or simply being beaten by the wind a silicone coating is super flexible and even the cheapest bed sheet fabric will give you a result that is significantly stronger than any common tarp you can buy after i show the silicone coating process i’ll show you how you can

Make a really secure connection to a sheet of fabric with a rope in a way that can stand up to much more strain than the grommets in a plastic tarp so step one is to find a bucket that your sheet will fit in the amount of silicone and solvent that we will need is dependent on how much fabric needs treatment not only the size of the sheet but also the material’s

Thickness we can estimate the overall amount of fabric that we have just by seeing how much volume it takes up in this bucket if i push the sheet down really hard it looks like it takes up about two liters which is all the information i need to get started mixing the silicone the solvent i’ll be using for this is naphtha i’ve seen others use mineral spirits with

Some success but napa seems to be the ideal solvent for silicone not only for this project but also for silicone mold making there’s a great video i’ll link to in the description below if you’re interested in that topic as well in any case whether naphtha or mineral spirits is your solvent of choice either way they should only be used in a place with a lot of

Ventilation ideally outdoors my workshop is fairly well ventilated but i still wouldn’t dare working with a large amount of solvent like this in an open container the vapors could easily reach levels that are explosive or hazardous to my health so we’re going to contain them in a garbage bag now i wouldn’t trust this method for perfect containment but it should

Cut down on the vapor significantly make sure if you try this for yourself that you test the plastic that your garbage bag is made from before you move on to the next step put a little bit of the solvent on a corner of the bag and make sure nothing happens if your solvent melts the plastic you’re going to have a bad time so with the sheet now out of the bucket

I can go ahead and line it with the garbage bag the fabric measured at about two liters in volume and for this process we need to use about three quarters of the volume of the fabric in solvent so in this case a liter and a half of naphtha now this tube is 100 silicone it’s the cheap generic brand from my local hardware store i tried more expensive varieties of

Silicone that claim better flexibility but the result seemed identical so i think it’s better to go with the cheap stuff i found that a five to one ratio between solvent and the silicone is perfect for this coating method and that works out to be one tube of silicone for the amount of solvent we have here now with a pair of chemically resistant gloves on my hand

I can use one hand to lift the bag out of this bucket and now use the other to mix in the silicone to be safe we can set the small bucket aside for now and move over a larger plastic bin just in case i tear a small hole the solvent will still be contained as i mix this together we should soon reach the consistency of like a thin maple syrup and it really doesn’t

Take long to get all the silicone to dissolve okay ready to toss in the sheet i’ve now loosely tied this bag off with a knot so that i can use both hands for this next part there will be less risk of spilling now that the fabric has soaked up some of the liquid the consistency of my silicone mixture is about as thick as i could make it without having issues of

The fabric not easily absorbing it as it is we still need to manipulate and knead this sheet as much as possible to make sure the silicone gets to the very center of the bundle i would say to do this for at least five minutes and expect that you’ll probably still see a few dry spots when you pull the blanket out to get rid of those you can take the wettest parts

Of the sheet press them against the dry parts and then ring the two together that worked for me at this point it would be a really good idea to make sure you have a rope or clothesline hanging outdoors to let this dry on i used one that was a little too small and my first sheet ended up touching some branches as it cured it made that corner a little dirty but it

Seems to have kept its water repellent properties anyway after 24 hours even in this snowy environment it was perfectly dry and ready to use there we go now that is the method to make a tarp but suppose you want to waterproof a backpack or a piece of clothing it might not be the best option to completely soak the item in silicone instead you can use a brush

To paint the coating onto a material if you do so i would recommend going with less solvent in the mixture maybe start with a 50 50 mix of solvent to silicone and thin it down more if you need to so a tarp like this has no grommets so how do we attach a rope for this there is an ancient technology at our disposal called a button not a button like i have here on my

Sweater these would be no good at all on a tarp they would tear out at the first gust of wind i’m talking about a button like this there are no holes penetrated through the tarp to attach this so we have the full strength of the fabric tied onto this rope at least this part of it this is much more secure than a grommet which actually severs the fibers that give

Your tarp strength to make a button all you need is a small pebble or an acorn pressed in from the back of the fabric and then you use a slip knot to tie around it that’s it you can also use this method to secure two layers of fabric together for example i can wrap the sheet around myself press a pebble in from the back side of both layers and then tie it off

With a knot just like that i have a waterproof cloak if you learned nothing else from this video i hope your fresh knowledge of button technology has made the whole thing worthwhile penguin mode this video’s sponsor is mel science who make excellent chemistry sets for hands-on learning entertainment and a great family activity these are the best chemistry sets

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Viewed using the headset contained in the free starter kit included in this are free online science lessons with professional teachers there are currently 24 different chemistry sets which can be delivered right to your door and if you use the code nighthawk you will get 60 off the first month of any mel science subscription that’s it for this video thank you so

Much for watching i’ll see you next time you

Transcribed from video
Recycled Bedsheets Make The Best Waterproof Tarps By NightHawkInLight