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

When new, these covers can protect just about anything, but eventually they wear out. Like most things, they can be reused and reused when they have 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 from. Polyester materials are great for waterproofing applications, while canvas is more suitable for protecting items that need breathability. With some good scissors and a bit of 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 everything is wrong. With a little creativity, you can reshape the old material for use in the same application. For example, a ship’s deck can crack and weaken over time at the top, which is where it most directly receives direct sunlight, rain, wind and snow. But the sides could still be in perfect condition. If so, you can easily cut out the damaged parts of the tarp and cut out the good parts to fit other applications. A boat cover can be cut to make it an engine, seat, or battery cover, used to wrap fishing gear or protect a trailer’s spare tire. Use elastic strings to keep them in place.

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

Protect delicate areas

Canvas offers protection from moisture but allows air to circulate. At their best, painters often use canvas tarps as drop cloths and to protect exterior items from rust. Once worn out, rips, tears, and holes make it difficult for these tarps to remain waterproof, but they still have many functions. They can be used to protect plants, flower beds and garden crops from early or late frosts or as trunk or truck liners if you are 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 pretty much any situation where you need to protect or cover something, but they can also be used for some old-fashioned fun. Put the tarp on a rope hanging between two trees and make a tent for your children. Use it to cover a sandbox or kiddie pool or create an awning to provide a shaded area to play. Place it on the floor and let them sit on it during messy activities like play dough or finger painting. Cleaning will be a breeze!

The next time you’re faced with a worn tarp, take a minute to think of other ways you could use it or parts of it. You’ll be amazed at the number of 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 banner.

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