Building It by David Erik Nelson

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Building It

  1. Lay out the long, rectangular canvas tarp on the floor horizontally, fold it in half once crosswise, and then again (also crosswise), so that it is a rough square with four layers of fabric. Your 4′ by 15′ tarp is actually a bit smaller than that (the finished size—the actual size of the tarp once it’s been hemmed at the factory—is usually closer to 3 3/4′ by 14 3/4′), so this square is roughly 44″ tall by 47″ wide. Now fold it once lengthwise, along the vertical axis, resulting in a packet of cloth that has eight layers and is 44″ tall by 23 1/2″ wide).

  2. Starting at the folded edge, measure 5″ along the top of your folded canvas and mark this point. Draw a line from your mark to the opposite lower corner (the longest possible line that ...

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