View Full Version : Making your own silnylon

Dingus Khan
01-15-2007, 19:12
Hey all!

My local wallyworld has in their dollar bin some dark green SOFT nylon material, about 15 yards. I burned it right there in the store and it melted, so as far as I am concerned it is nylon and not some ripstop poly/fabric (right???) I have never felt nylon like this before, it does not crinkle or have that traditional slipping noise when rubbed together. Weird, had to burn it to believe it.

Since it is 1$/yard, i would be a fool to pass it up, (stuff sacks anyone?). I am planning on buying it to attempt at homemade silnylon. Knowledgable posters in the past have hinted that cutting silicon sealant with gasoline, soaking and dry your nylon = silnylon... :-?

Is there a definite concensus as to Yes this works" or "NO - dont' waste your time (or nylon!)"?
Anyone try it in the past with success?
If so, what ratio did you use with the solute (silicone) and solvent (gasoline or I have heard paint thinner works too)?
Tips, tricks links and reviews would be great as I would like to do this soon. I am also willing to simply try it, expecting miserable and painful failure if there have been few attempts at this in the past (I will post any results from my testings of course)

As always I will look forward to hearing from you.


Dingus Khan
01-15-2007, 19:18
hmm, this a good start http://www.hammockcamping.com/Free%20Reports/Silnylon.htm
except it is based on the fact that you are starting with silnylon to begin with.....:confused:

01-16-2007, 14:02
yeah, you can make your own. i do the same thing. somewhere out there, and i can't remember where, is a recipe for the liquid silicon coating. the thread had to do with tent floors.

DON'T USE GAS! it stinks. use mineral spirits. i think the recipe is 3:1 by weight. start with a tube of DOW silicone sealer emptied into a large coffee can. add 3x that amount (by weight) of mineral spirits. stir till you're tired. go do something else, like get a snack. then come back and stir some more. it takes forever, but eventually it will all dissolve. hang your product (like a tarp, for example) out on a clothesline, with the bottom edges staked down almost vertically. paint each side with a wide foam brush. personally, i do both sides, but one would be sufficient, as it soaks through. takes a few hours to dry. i do it in the morning, then bring it in at night to cure a day or so in my garage (gotta air it out later though, from the smell). some people sprinkle it with talcum powder afterwards, but i've never had a problem with it sticking... just have to let it dry thoroughly.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
01-16-2007, 16:31
My experience is the same as Seeker's except I make smaller items before coating and then dip them in the mixture (much easier to sew nylon than silnylon...)

01-17-2007, 01:02
Seeker ,

Do you mean this thread/ website-


01-17-2007, 18:31
that's it! thanks! (and why i can't ever remember 'basecamp' is beyond me...:o )

01-17-2007, 21:09

I would coat a test piece with the silicone mix first. Then make a small cut on the edge, see if it tears easily all the way across the material. This happen to me but I was only buying a few yds at a time to test before I could spot the good stuff. I hope this does not happen but if it does you have practice material to learn how to sew and get ready for the real deal.

Good luck to you


For cheap Silnylon try Noah Lampert- http://www.noahlamport.com/
Call for availability and samples.
Min order 10 yds at 2.75 a yd ( $5.00 cutting fee) about $32.50 plus shipping

Dingus Khan
01-17-2007, 22:20
Thanks Mike,

That was a great link for novice to seasoned DIYer's. I did the 1:3 ratio with (as a test) almond coloured GE Silicone II caulk with the fabric that I bought - approx 1.3oz/yard nylon... rough calculations included.
I mixed the silicone + mineral spirits for about 20 minutes (!!!) and just dipped a square foot into it which probably was not as good of an idea as painting the stuff on...

It dried very quickly and because of the almond colour, came out, well, looking as if something had been applied to it... Very slick although not as "crispy" as my purchased silnylon. It is still curing and I have not tested it for water-proofness or durability.

Playing around with the fabric I did notice that if you pull it on the bias (diagonally in reference to the gridwork) it elongates a bit, this is probably normal but I hope this does not affect the functional uses that I have intended for it.

Thanks for the help, now all I have to do is learn how to properly sew nylon or silnylon!!
Should be fun

01-18-2007, 19:43

Yeah, I use a brush for test pieces- also the GE Silicone II (clear) is the best caulk to use.
When I do the real coatings , I use a silicone spray on one side, so the main mixture does not seep through then use a small yellow foam roller to apply while the material is hanging- start at the top then use a flat plastic spatula ( hardware or paint supply ) to scrap the excess. The spray side does not have a sticky- paste feeling, you could also use a water repellant( scotch guard). I made some bivy bag covers this way for our down bags.


Dingus Khan
01-20-2007, 00:59
Well, my test strips have both held water all day, not a drip! Unfortunately I did notice that the backside of each was damp. I was a little concerned since even though they did not leak water, items placed up against the material would have eventually become damp, but not wet. I only applied one coat, will try with 2, and thanks Weldman for the tips!
Funny last note though, neither one of my testers was sticky or tacky, they were both pretty slippery, although not as much as real silnylon.

Will be testing again tomorrow this time with the brush/roller method!