Looking for a new rug, but don’t want to spend a ton of money? Learn how to make a DIY rug from a drop cloth with this easy tutorial! You can make any color, pattern, shape, or size for WAY less than store prices!
Okay, so here we are at the tail end of our little kitchen makeover, and there has been one project that I’ve kind of been avoiding. As I told you before, we’re only renting this house, so major renovations like flooring, cabinets, and countertops are out of the question. I’m stuck with this multi-color speckled kitchen floor for now, so I’m trying to make the best of it!
When we moved in last year, I purchased a small rug to set right in front of the sink (you know, one of those super cushy ones for all those hours I spend a week doing dishes!). But it always looked out of place to me, and I really wanted to find a long rug that would stretch the length of the cabinets! I thought it would a) cover up some of that ugly floor and b) flow better with the kitchen. But I had a heck of a time finding any I liked and an even harder time finding one within my budget! (which frankly, isn’t very much!)
Then while browsing Pinterest one day, I happened to stumble across an awesome tutorial from Makely School for Girls on how to make an outdoor rug from a drop cloth! I had seen this idea before, but Lindsay did a fantastic job on hers, so I decided to give it a try! Since the rug was going in my kitchen, I wasn’t worried about having something plush and comfy, and once sealed, the drop cloth would wipe off so easily. Lord knows there are a lot of spills in my little kitchen!
You won’t BELIEVE the results I got for less than $15!
I started by purchasing a 4′ x 15′ heavy canvas drop cloth from Menard’s for $14.57. They have a few different sizes available, but since the rugs I wanted to make are more like runners, the 4 foot wide drop cloth was perfect. If you’re looking to make a larger area rug, they also have a 9′ x 12′ cloth for only $18.47! I washed, dried, and ironed the cloth when I got home to remove the wrinkles.
First, I took my handy dandy measuring tape into the kitchen and measured how big I wanted the rug to be. Then I cut the drop cloth to those measurements, adding a 1″ margin on each side, and laid it on a plastic drop cloth to protect my floors while painting. Kind of ironic that I need a drop cloth to paint a drop cloth on, right? It’s all part of the DIY magic!
Priming the rug was the first step, and I chose to use a bucket of gesso I already had on hand. Gesso is used by artists to prepare or “prime” their canvases for painting, so it makes the perfect primer for these canvas drop cloth rugs! A big shout-out to Leoma Lovegrove for sharing her art supplies with me! Gotta love having a famous artist in the family : )
P.S. Want to know an AWESOME painting trick?
Line your trays with plastic wrap (I like to use Cling Wrap) for less mess to clean up when you’re done painting! Just wad it up and throw it away! I’m ALL for anything that means less paint mess to clean up!
Okay, so on goes the gesso… two coats on both sides. And let it dry overnight.
You can also use regular old paint primer from the hardware store too. I just already had the gesso on hand. And rollers work the best for this project! I like the foam ones!
You may notice a rough texture on your rug after the primer dries, but just give it a gentle sanding with some sandpaper and your rug will be soft and flexible again. Just vacuum or wipe down the rug really well to remove any dust before painting again.
Then comes the fun part: choosing a design to paint! You can certainly paint your rug one solid color, but I was in a stripes kind of mood the night I did this project, so that’s what I did! I first painted the entire rug in my favorite Heirloom Lace white paint, then I marked some stripes with painter’s tape and painted a few sections with a lovely gray-beige color. The tape wouldn’t stick perfectly to the canvas no matter how hard I tried, so the lines weren’t as perfectly crisp as I would have liked. Nothing major though! I just used a small angled foam brush and some white paint to touch up any bleed marks. You really couldn’t even see the bleeds when standing up, but the perfectionist in me got down on hands and knees to fix any little spots. This was definitely one of those times I wish I still owned a pair of knee pads!
Once the paint was dry, I applied 3 coats of polyurethane, again with a foam roller, to seal and protect the rug. I used Varathane’s Matte Finish Poly so the rug would have a nice, soft finish. Regular polyurethane dries with a really glossy finish, so I like using this stuff for most of my projects! Just make sure to give proper drying time as directed on the package.
Since my rug had raw edges from cutting the drop cloth, I finished them by folding under the 1″ margin I added earlier and securing with… Yep, duct tape! There was no way I could (or wanted to) sew through all those layers of folded heavy canvas and paint, so this was the next best thing! You won’t see the underside of the rug anyway, so I just ran a strip of tape along each edge and a couple extra pieces to secure the corners! How’s that for easy?
And TA-DA! A rug made from a drop cloth!
I seriously cannot tell you how much I love this rug! It took a few days to complete (only because of drying time), but it was super easy to do and only cost me the price of a drop cloth! I already had the paint, gesso, and duct tape on hand! The rug does have a few wrinkles right now, but I think with time and more than a few feet walking over it they will smooth out.
Don’t you just love the stripes?
It adds a bold pattern to the kitchen, but the neutral colors keep it from being too overwhelming.
Since I already had all the supplies, I decided to make a second rug for the little area by my pantry too! More stripes… but in a different way!
Perfect next to the DIY decorative ladder I recently built!
So, TELL ME: What do you think? Would you use a drop cloth rug in your home? What colors would you paint it?
Check out these other great DIY projects:
Let’s Keep In Touch!