Tent cloth... that's how it's made

4 minute reading time
Tentdoek...zó wordt het gemaakt
Before you start working with pegs and poles, your tent (cloth) has gone through a whole process.

Biblical stories already tell us that people slept in tents. Today in the West we live in houses. But we still like to go out with the tent. Especially in the summer we look for the most beautiful places to set up the tent, both at home and abroad.

In the past, tents were made from materials such as animal skins. Modern tents are usually made of polyester or cotton. A fabric is of course not just suitable as a tent canvas. Are you curious about the process from canvas to canvas? We explain everything here about making tent cloth!

'Everything that is woven'

The literal translation of textile is: 'Everything that is woven'. Most fabrics are therefore woven. Weaving was developed about 5000 years ago. It is a simple technique in which horizontal and vertical groups of yarn are interwoven. This weaving is done on a loom. These come in very simple hand-operated shapes to very expensive mass-produced devices and intricate patterns. However, making tent cloth now sounds a bit simpler than it is. A number of things are important for a good tent canvas.



Making a tent cloth: it's not that simple

In order to be able to protect ourselves well against rain, wind and sun, the tent cloth must be smooth. Irregularities make cloth unsuitable as tent cloth, because they cause leakage. Weaving can be done in different ways to achieve the right result. The way in which it is woven is called 'binding'. For example, it is possible to apply an oblique line in the fabric. This makes the fabric easier to shape. Because different tents have different purposes, different techniques are used. Not only the weaving technique itself is important here, but also the thickness of the yarns and the number of threads per cm2 determine the result. The binding affects:

  • What the fabric looks like
  • The flexibility
  • The strength
  • The water resistance 


In addition to the binding chosen for weaving fabric, the quality of the yarns also has a great influence on the final product. What most people would not realize, for example, is that the quality of cotton depends on the cultivation time and method of harvesting.


So before you start working with tent poles and pegs, a lot has already been done to provide you with a quality tent! Making tent cloth is a collaboration of many different people.

Treatment of the cloth

Once the cloth has been woven, it is far from ready for use. At this stage, it is called "raw canvas." Before being made into a tent, raw cloth is washed, bleached and dyed.

To make the cloth smooth, the fibers that protrude are first burned off. This is called 'singing'. The cloth is also de-energised by means of enzymes. This may sound a bit strange, but before weaving, the yarns have been made stronger to be able to weave well. This process is reversed to make the cloth supple again.

Then the cloth is ready to be washed, after which it is bleached. If the canvas is not bleached first, the paint will not take hold. Dyeing is another process that requires a lot of attention. There are as many as 4500 different recipes for mixing different colors. After the canvas has gone into a bath with paint, it is dried and fixed, so that it becomes colorfast.

Finally, the cloth receives a number of treatments with a special coating to protect the cloth against water, dirt, oil and fungi.

At your place!

When the canvas finally reached your home in the form of a tent, it took a lot of care to reach this state. Because you have probably selected the tent with just as much care, you want the tent to last as long as possible. If you have bought a good quality tent, you will have a lot of influence on the longevity of the product.

For example, it is important that your tent is well impregnated, because a well-impregnated tent repels moisture and dirt. This reduces the chance that mold will form on the cloth. Mold can affect the fabric. And after all the work that has been done to make the tent canvas, you naturally want to prevent that!

Are you looking for products to keep your tent canvas in good condition? View us Product Range.

Also read my blog about having your tent cleaned: Have your tent cleaned - 7 tips from of professional.