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:
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I use EVA mats under rugs … It surely helps be more comfortable!
These are amazing. And that plastic wrap trick. Why didn’t I think of that before. We just bought a house and have been painting non-stop. The clean up is always the worst.
Yes, I would use a drop cloth rug in my house! I have been thinking of making a rug for our hallway but didn’t want to spend a lot of money, but I still wanted it to look creative. Now I have no excuses….thanks for the idea.
Your rugs are fantastic, love the differently angled stripes on each one. Love your ladder also.
Would I use a drop cloth? You bet, I’m going to make bedroom curtains with them and stencil them. I make pillow covers all the time using drop cloth, table runners. Now that I’ve seen your rugs that’ll be next. You did such a great job. I used duct tape on a slip cover I made one time. Didn’t have enuf fabric to cover whole cushion so duct taped them on. Hey whatever works huh? Enjoyed your post. Happy week
How cool! I never would have thought to use a drop cloth. Yours turned out so beautifully! I popped over from Home Stories A to Z– thanks for sharing!
Wonderful way to make a rental space your own….the rug is gorgeous!
You come up with just the cutest ideas, Liz! Love this rug 🙂
Your rugs turned out great! Love the stripes and I never thought about using duct tape on mine!! That’s so easy and such a great idea!!!
Did the paint and texture of the cloth prevent the rug from slipping on the floor? or did you put something under it.
What a fabulous idea!! I love that it’s inexpensive and that you have the freedom to get exactly the pattern and colors you want!
could you tell me an English word for Drop Cloth ? – i have looked for a translation into several languages and there was none. Wikipedia also doesnt recognise the word.
is it the equivalent of sail-cloth ? – sali cloth is used to make the sails in sailing yachts and is also used to make a canopy for verandahs etc. thanks for your reploy
Sure! Drop cloths are a heavy canvas cloth used to protect floors or other furniture while painting. You can find them at hardware stores near the painting section. I hope this helps!
Know in England as a dust sheet, available at most decorating supply shops also the big DIY stores(B&Q, Homebase). Hope this helps, better late than never.
hi liz! i don’t know how i’m just finding your blog now, but i’m loving it and probably spending too much time on it. 🙂
i have 2 notes.
1) i want to second the question from diane about preventing slipping. do you have a rug mat under it?
2) i wanted to offer a tip for future projects or others who are painting stripes! so first you painted your base color all over (Primer/white), and then you laid your tape. if you then paint over the whole thing again with the primer or white, or at least along the tape seams, that will create a barrier. let it dry and THEN paint your colored stripes on and none will seep through! that worked great for me when i painted a fairly intricate argyle wall in my son’s nursery. 🙂
3) ok, i said 2 notes but i lied. i’m SOOOOOO trying this dropcloth rug for under my dining room table! it’s part of an open concept living/kitchen/dining room area, and i think it’ll be nice to frame the space out with a rug, but i need a peculiar shape and size that i’d never be able to find at a store! thanks so much,
Hi Rebecca! I’m so glad to have you here! The rug actually stays pretty well in place with the duct tape underneath, so I haven’t add a mat as of yet. I may still add one just for added cushion while I’m standing at the sink doing dishes, but I’m happy without it! And that is a fantastic trick for painting stripes! Thanks so much for sharing : )
Duct Tape!! You are my hero! Thanks for the turorial, as well 🙂
Duct tape fixes just about anything, right? It worked great for this project! Thanks so much for stopping by, Ginger. 🙂
Ok, so I love this idea and going through the rug hunt myself. This is a stupid question but I have to ask. How washable is this. Have the colors faded? Oh and a little tip for no slipping. Turn over to the floor side and and caulk around the edges. It won’t slide.
That’s a great tip, Mandi! I’ll have to remember that! The colors haven’t faded at all, however since I chose mostly white for mine, it does show dirt more than a dark color would. And as far as washing goes, since it’s sealed really well, I just give it a good scrub every once in awhile. I hope this helps!
Thanks that helps. I went to Big Lots tonight and found a 6×9 canvas cloth for 8.00. And like you I have tons of paint around the house. Once I chose the design I will definitely send you a pic.
Wonderful! Have fun creating, Mandi!
Cute idea! How do you keep them from being a slip hazard?
You could use a no-slip mat underneath just like with a regular rug, but mine didn’t seem to slip too much anyway. Hope this helps!
Can you wash this? Does the duck tape stay in place? Love the idea. I have used drop cloths for everything. I even used it for the back of another rug.
what kind of paint do you use on this?
I just used regular latex paint! 🙂