How to Patch Canvas Tent? – Step-By-Step Guide

To be a happy camper, you need to have good camping equipment. During your first camping trip, it will become obvious to you that you cannot be a happy camper without having a good tent. Having the best canvas tent is one of the key things you need for all your camping trips.

But there is one problem with these tents - you may find some holes or tears on the canvas after some time. You will contemplate throwing away the tent and getting a new one when that happens. If that is what you are thinking, you need to stop right away because I have another great solution for you!

You can always patch up your canvas tent. It does not take that much time or special tools, while it can make your tent last for many more years. So, if you want to keep the tent for some more time, you have to read this guide and learn how to patch the canvas tent up!


vintage canvas tent

How to Patch Canvas Tent? [Step-By-Step Guide]

If you have a canvas tent with a small tear or hole on it, I can help you repair it and make it as good as new. I will teach you how to repair small holes or tears on the tent through five quick and simple steps. So, make sure you go over the steps with the utmost attention!

Step 1 – Inspect the tent

The first thing you need to do after a camping trip is to inspect your tent and see any holes in the canvas. Make sure that you check all sides and parts because you never know where a hole might appear.

If you find something suspicious, you will need to repair it immediately. But before you do that, I recommend that you clean the entire tent. That means washing it and leaving it to dry completely before doing anything else.

If you do not do this before moving to the next step, you might do more damage to the tent than good. On the spot of the tear, you might leave some mold to grow or patch some dirt as you go along. You would want to avoid doing further damage at all costs!

Step 2 – Sew the hole or tear

You will need some sewing awl and a heavy-duty thread for the second step. Of course, you will need to have some sewing skills as well. If you have never done any stitching before, I recommend that you try it on another piece of fabric that you do not need.

After practicing your sewing skills for long enough, you can move on to the tent. I recommend that you sew over the hole, making sure that there are no openings anywhere. Leaving even a half-inch of opening can cause more damage than good!

Take your time with this step. There is no need to rush. Do some neat stitches all over the tear before you move on to the third step!

Step 3 – Cover the hole or tear

You will need the tent to be set for this step because you will have to go both on the inside and the outside to cover the hole or tear. You will need a canvas patch made of waterproof material for the covering. It would be best if you could find material in the same color as your tent canvas so that you can hide the tear.

Cut two patches with rounded corners or two circle patches using the new canvas. The patches should be a bit larger than the tear, covering it completely. The first one will be your inside patch, while the other one will be the outside patch.

After finishing the patchwork, you can move on to the fourth step and get to the gluing of the patches! You can also consider using iron-on patches, but they do not last as long as the regular canvas patches.

Step 4 – Glue the covers

When it comes to the glue, you will need a high-quality fabric glue that will hold the patches to the canvas. I recommend that you start by gluing the inside patch. But before you do that, make sure that you read the instructions on the glue and that you check the drying times.

When on the inside of the tent, locate your tear and place the patch on it. The patch should overlap the whole tear. Place some glue on the patch and then put it on the tear. Keep it like that for as long as needed so that the glue can dry completely.

After finishing the inside patch, do the same thing with the outside patch. Even though this should be enough, you can also use a seam sealer to seal the deal. Keep in mind that the seam sealer is an optional thing, so you can choose to skip it as well.

Step 5 – Do a final check

After patching everything and making sure that even the tiny tears are now secure, you should do a final check. If everything looks great, you can store the tent and keep it like that until you need it again.

canvas tent in the rain

Tools You Need to Patch Canvas Tent

Even though I mentioned most of the things you would need to patch a canvas tent, I will mention them again to ensure you know what you need. To patch your tent, you need:

  • A good pair of scissors
  • Sewing awl and heavy-duty thread. You can use a regular needle and thread if you do not have the former two.
  • Some good canvas glue
  • Waterproof canvas material, in the same color as the original tent canvas

If you do not have any of these things at home but go camping often, I have a recommendation. There are some great sewing kits that you can find online. These kits contain everything you would need to repair a rip in your tent. They also come at quite affordable prices.

I would recommend that you look into them. You should even get a small patch kit that you can take on trips with you and use in case of an emergency. You know how this stuff works – the sooner you repair the rip, the better!

How Long Does It Take To Patch Canvas Tent?

The patching of a canvas tent does not take that long. Usually, it depends on the size of the tear and your ability to handle the tear.

If you do not have and sewing skills, it will take a while to repair even the small tears. You can expect to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour dealing with the patching. But once you get a hold of it, you will be able to fix the tent in no longer than 20 minutes.

Still, I do not recommend patching your tent when you are in a hurry. When you are rushing, you leave room for error but making mistakes while patching can cost you your tent. So, take your time and make sure that the new patches you are placing will be durable and will not let any water get into the tent.

How Do You Repair A Tear In A Canvas Tent?

If you have a small tear on your tent, you can follow the guide above to patch it up. You will need to sew the tear closed and then place a new waterproof canvas over the tear to seal the deal.

Still, if the tear is large or you are not handy with needles and threats, you can always go to a professional and ask them to help you out. It might even be a good idea to have someone give you instructions on what you should do. Those instructions will come in handy the next time you need to do some patching by yourself.

What Is The Best Glue To Repair Canvas Tents?

Many companies make fabric glues. They come in various sizes and at different prices. I recommend that you do not look for a specific company but for a product that will work for your situation – that will help you get your money’s worth.

The fabric glue should be compact and with a short drying time. Also, it should be suitable for all types of materials. So, go to your local store and look for fabric glue that has all these things combined in one. If you can, consider investing in a whole sewing kit that comes with great glue inside!


That is all you should know about how to patch a canvas tent. Remember to clean the tent beforehand, be careful with your patchwork, and inspect the tent before storing it. These steps will help you make sure that your tent is ready for the next nature trip.

Let me know in the comments if you have ever patched your tent and how it all went. I would love to read all about it, so do not hesitate to share your stories with me!

Andrew Mullen

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