Friday, April 5, 2013

DIY Drop Cloth Rug

So I had a dilemma.

I wanted a rug or mat or something for my living room floor. I really love rugs and the color and character they give to a room. The right rug really pulls everything you have together and makes it cohesive. 

However (here comes the dilemma part), there was virtually no money to put toward this. Have you seen how expensive rugs are?! You are talking big, big bucks. I had been searching all over Pinterest and DIY blogs trying to find a way to make a rug or hack something to get what I wanted. A lot of bloggers were buying rugs from Walmart or IKEA (which I don't have) and then painting them. Even still, the rugs they were buying to even start the project were $50+ and I didn't even have that much. Plus, if my project were a complete bust (which has been known to happen with some Pinterest projects I've done) it would have been a big money suck... and I would have cried and hated myself for days.

Rugby Cotton Mat
Via Pottery Barn Kids

I pretty much wanted the impossible... something to look like the above $500 PB rug without the price tag and more for like.... $20. Impossible, right?

Then I found this tutorial and inspiration struck. Ten dollar drop cloth canvas plus some paint, fabric medium and tape. Could I really, possibly, maybe replicate my PB rug? Yes! I can and I did. And so can you! Here's the lowdown:

You will need:

1 6' x 9' drop cloth canvas from Lowe's or Home Depot
3 sample bottles (or <1 quart) of your choice of paint color
painters tape (I used Scotch blue painters tape)
fabric medium

1. I washed and dried my canvas (this was hard because I wanted to start immediately, but I knew it would shrink a little and I didn't want to paint it and then have it shrink).

2. I measured my canvas (which had shrunk quite a bit... 7 inches!) and found that it was about 101" in length. I figured that I wanted my stripes to be 5" wide, and left 1" for error :-) I measured every 5" and left a little tick mark with a pencil so I would know where to tape.

3. So I taped my stripes (which probably took about 100x longer with two little girls running around...) and then waited until nap time to paint :-)

4. PAINT! I used more paint that I though I would and actually had to go back to Lowe's to pick up another sample bottle. The canvas soaks it up! I mixed the paint with fabric medium just because I thought it would be better knowing I would definitely be washing it from time to time. The ratios for paint:medium are on the bottle, but I didn't use more than half a bottle. I pushed down on my painters tape before I painted each row just to make sure that it stuck really good and I didn't have any paint going underneath. Overall, the tape did really great and I had very few problems with any paint going underneath it.

5. I waited overnight and it was totally dry by morning. The fabric medium says to heat set it (which I will probably do at some point) and to wait 7 days before washing.


Here's the budget breakdown:

drop cloth - $10
3 sample bottles of paint - $2.69 x 3 = $8.07
tape (already had)
fabric medium (already had)

Total = Less than $20!

Overall, its perfect for me. I didn't need a rug (or at least a plushy one), it was more for looks. It's grounded by my furniture so it doesn't move around much at all. If you had hardwood floors, you would probably want a rug pad.

Best part? Less than $20. Best part? It's WASHABLE. Best part? LOVE IT. Basically its just the best.

Are you ready to try it? Would you do stripes or some other design?


  1. Thanks, Kara!! Maybe when we're in a more permanent place, I can try this! :) It really pops in your living room... brightens it up and makes it so cheerful. Thrilled for your fun project that worked out well!

  2. Looks so cute! I'm just wondering if you're having to pull it back into place and how it has down with foot traffic. I'm tempted to try this, but just wondering if the canvas is too light for a high traffic area?

    1. Sorry I'm just now seeing this! I don't think it would work well for a high traffic area, unless it was anchored down with furniture really well. It definitely isn't as flat as a rug, but for a cheap option it is great to bring color and layers to a room!

  3. How has it held up to washing?? I'm thinking I'm going to make a couple of these for my place but I KNOW I will need to wash! Luckily I work at Lowes so I can get the paint cheap :)