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Re: Painting Tent Fabric

Poster: David KUIJT <kuijt@umiacs.umd.edu>

On Mon, 29 Jun 1998, Jerome Hinson wrote:

> What is the best kind of paint to use on tent fabric (canvas) and where
> do I find it in large quantities (gallons)?
> Also, does anyone have any tips on painting technique/stuff to avoid
> doing, etc?
> With thanks in advance,
> Ursula

For painting decorative details on tents, use standard exterior latex
house paint (cleans up with water).  You can buy it at Home Depot or any
other hardware store.  They can mix up a vast array of colours; you aren't
stuck with pastels.  I got them to mix me up a very nice dark royal blue.

Dilute the paint 1:1 with water.  You want the paint to be thin enough to
soak into the fabric, and thick enough that it does not wick out away from
where you brush it.  Diluted 1:1 with water is about right, but you may
want to experiment (waterproofing and other treatments may modify the way
the canvas absorbs the paint).

The latex paint diluted this way will not crack off in use and goes on
very quickly.

The paint will soak through the fabric a bit, so you do not want to paint
your tent on your white rug.

I recommend finding a clean driveway, sweeping it clean(er), then laying
out your canvas on that for painting.  Be very careful to avoid spills, as
they are basically impossible to get out.

I'd advise planning your decorative pattern in advance and marking it out
in pencil.  The pencil lines will disappear when covered with paint.  I
used a single line of pencil, then I used a 2" wide brush and tried to run
the center of the brush down the pencil line.  Worked very well.

Dafydd ap Gwystl

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