7 Tips on Repairing a Hole or Rip in Canvas

Canvas is a popular and sturdy material for many applications from sails to covers to biminis to tents.  And with most things in life, they can take a beating. If your canvas has left its proverbial fight with a hole or tear, then you’ll need to patch it or replace it.  If you want to replace it, we have lots of materials to choose from, but if you are looking to do a patch, here are seven quick tips for helping you do a successful repair.


  1. Don’t leave the hole or rip as it it, cut a clean section out around it.  So if you have a small hole, mark off a square around it and cut out clean edges.  If it’s a rip or slit, then do the same, cutting a rectangle around your breach.


  1. Hem the edges of the new hole.  If you did tip number one, then you’ll be set up for this task, which is to hem your fresh edges.  This will prevent the edges from fraying and your damage from creeping into new areas. An easy way to hem the edges is to cut a slit at each corner so you can fold the edges under so they can be stitched.

  2. Use a sewing machine.  Ideally your canvas can be detached or is free to be taken to a sewing machine.  This will help you get the best quality, consistent stitch to make your repair last.

  3. Use a sewing awl (also called stitching awls) if you can’t use a sewing machine.  Sewing awls are made specifically to puncture heavy materials, like canvas, so you can make the repair.  

  4. Match the type of canvas -- specifically the treatments, like waterproofing.  If your canvas is a branded material, then match that brand with your patch.  Similarly, if it’s waterproof, make sure your new patch is also.

  5. Hem the edges of your patch before installing it over the hole.  This helps keep your patch from fraying once it’s installed.

  6. If your hole or rip was made from friction on the inside, then patch the inside first with a durable vinyl.  This will protect your patch from facing the same fate as your original canvas.  You’ll want to follow the same tips for patching the outside of the canvas after you have reinforced the inside layer.

Bonus Tip!  Consider pre-washing your canvas if you are worried the patch may shrink and pull at the seams.