How to tie down a tarp without using grommets

Published: February 3, 2021

Vivid blue plastic tarp with water droplets on its surface. Photo by Anthony McLaughlin/Shutterstock

Whether canvas, coloured polyethylene, or clear plastic, a tarp is indispensable for outdoor storage, protecting everything from boats and woodpiles to half-shingled bunkie roofs. The only trouble with tarps is keeping them from shifting, flapping, or blowing away, because the tie-down grommets are never where you need them. You can buy clips and clamps for this purpose, but what are the odds you’ll have one in your pocket when it comes time to cover the sailboat for the season? 

For a nifty tarping solution, just look down, pick up a small stone, and make a rock “button.” Push the rock up from the underside of the tarp, then lasso it with a slip knot in your tie-down rope. Pull tight, and you’ve got a solid grommet replacement that can be located anywhere on your tarp and won’t tear even flimsy plastic sheeting.

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