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Water Proofing Mildew

Tipis do not require preconditioning: The tipi has very steep sides and water will not be able to accumulate on the canvas. Your tipi may shrink due to weather conditions, but it won’t shrink much and it is nothing to worry about. However, if you intend on leaving it up for longer longer periods of time, we suggest you waterproof it. You can use Thompson’s Water Seal for weatherproofing. And, there are other ingredients you can add to the sealer that can help with very bad weather conditions.

Use one gallon of Thompsons water seal to One pint of Mineral spirits mixed in a hand pump garden sprayer to water treat your tipi. A very thin coat works best, please be careful not to saturate the fabric.

One of the most common problems that occur in canvas is mildew. Even if the tipi is made of a fabric that is mildew resistant, it will mildew if left damp. Mildew is very destructive to cotton fabrics as well as other materials. Mildew usually forms when tipis are put in storage when damp. But, it can also start for no apparent reason. Mildew can start in a very short time and under certain conditions of humidity and temperature. If mildew has started to grow, it can be stopped from spreading by thoroughly drying the tent, preferably in the hot sun. If you can not do that, here is a something my Grandmother taught me: “Take a bottle cap of bleach mixed with 16ozs of water in a spray bottle. Spray effected area to kill the fungus, Apply as needed.” You can use a lemon to kill mold as well. Cut a lemon in half and then rub the lemon on the moldy area and turn the cover up so the Sun will hit it as much as possible. The lemon juice will not only kill the mold, it will also take out the discoloration. Once the mold has been treated and the fabric is dry, wipe off the fabric with soapy water, lemons have acid that can possibly eat away the fabric.

Use one gallon of Thompson’s Water Seal mixed with 1 pint of mineral spirits. (There are two kind of spirits, A dark one and a clear one.) The dark spirits make the canvas looks like a cow hide, and the clear one gives it more of a buckskin / “Braintan” look. Both are fine for use. This mixture will cover up to a 16 foot tipi, but you will probably need more for larger tipis. You’ll need a GOOD pressure sprayer too, the same kind you’d use to weed your yard or fertilize the grass. You can get all of these at hardware / garden supply stores. Lay out your tipi cover on flat ground and spray one thin coat evenly over the entire tipi, straps and smoke flaps, Let it dry for about 6 hours. Try to do this so you’ll have time to set it up after 6 hours and then let it air out over night. This treatment will last about 2 years even if you leave it up all year round. Repeat as needed.

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