How to Paint a Drop Cloth Rug & My Honest Thoughts On The After

You know what gets me excited about pinterest? A hoard of creative genius minds who come up with brilliant alternatives to expensive store bought decor!

Today is one of “those” posts. I was really intrigued by painted rugs, and when I started June’s room (see it HERE) I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to try out this DIY…. At the bottom of this post, I am going to give you my honest opinion on how it has held up and if I would do it again.

This baby cost me like $15 to make because I already had the paint and the spray adhesive. The only thing I had to buy was the actual painter’s drop cloth rug itself! The size I used was a 6×9 feet.I folded it in half, so it is now 6×4.5 feet. For this method, you need to get a drop cloth that is double the size you want it to be width -wise. That way you can fold it down the middle, resulting in a thicker rug.

I pre-washed mine with some borax to make it brighter. Also, if you ever plan on washing your rug, pre-shrinking in the wash is a must! After it’s dry, iron your drop cloth until there isn’t a wrinkle in sight.

Next, decide where you will be folding your drop cloth over. Once that is determined, spray with your 77 scotch adhesive (this is the one I used HERE) like crazy. I really should have put some sort of (don’t laugh) drop cloth under the “rug” while I was spraying this stuff because it got all on the floor when I sprayed the edges and created a sticky mess! Also, make sure to follow the directions on the can for best adhesion.

Next is the tricky part: Fold it over onto itself like closing the pages of a book. Do this carefully to minimize wrinkles. It gets harder as you go. The best way to do this is to line up the corners (and have at least one other person there to help you) and slowly press it together going inwards. Use an iron to ensure that there are no wrinkles.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t do it right the first time and had to pry it apart to get all the wrinkles out. By the second try I had it figured out.

After it is all ironed, you can sew the edges together if you like. That’s what I planned on doing, but I was so excited that I skipped that part and started painting! And guess, what? I still haven’t sewn it together yet. Haha! It’s still stuck together after 3-4 months of use though!

To create my pattern, the easiest way I could think of was to use an actual 2×4 board and tape along the edges.

Make sure the tape is really adheared to the fabric by rubbing the roll over it.

Because I wanted the painted & unpainted stripes to be the exact same width, I subtracted an additional “invisible paint strip” from the middle of the first stripe, and laid the board down from that pen point.

You can see where the board overlaps the painters tape in the above photo. Add an additional line of tape all the way up & across the center of the X.

Mark the center because these are the stripes that we aren’t going to paint.

Repeat this process, rotating from “full board stripes” to “overlapping board stripes” until your whole rug is taped up.

Cut off the overlapping tape that is in the middle of the X.

Here is what my painter’s tape rug looked like when I finished. Whew!

Now it’s time to paint! Yay! I’ve read tutorials where people suggest all sorts of unique fabric paints and such… but I just used what was on hand, which was latex paint.

The one mistake I made while painting was starting with a wet brush. Those first few strokes started soaking though the second layer of fabric, and prevented it from being a solid white stripe in that spot (it looked blotchy) Lesson learned, work with a dry paint brush!

We did two coats of paint all together, and then we peeled it all off. All our edges were sharp & clean looking. YES!

A little illustration of me peeling it…

I was going to get those rug stripe things that keep it in place, but I’m glad I didn’t, because it doesn’t move around enough to need one.

Now for my honest thoughts about how this Painted Rug has Held Up:

1) Do you wash it?

I was scared to wash it, but it got so dirty (dirt sticks to the painted stripes) that last week I gave in and threw it into the wash on a gentle cycle on cold. I was concerned that the folded edge would become separated, but it actually held together quite well. The paint didn’t crack or get beat up by the wash either, which is good. I was going to air dry it, but it was too cold outside, so I put it in the drier on the air dry setting and it came out looking great. Before I wash it again, I am definitely going to sew the edges together so it won’t come undone.

2) Will it last?

This isn’t a heavy weight rug. You are better off buying a nice one for high traffic areas like hallways and living rooms. But it is perfect for June’s room. I honestly love it! It’s upstairs and away from the elements, so it has stayed in really good condition so far.

3) What would you do differently?

Again, I think I would just go ahead and buy a rug for spaces that get lots of foot traffic, but the ways I can see to improve this would maybe be playing around with different types of paint and sewing the edges together so it will be more washer machine safe.

4) Would you do it again?

For the right space, YES!!!! I love this rug so much!

If you have any questions, lease feel free to comment below and I will try to add them to this list of FAQ about Painted Drop Cloth Rugs.

Above is the rug right after it was washed. A little wrinkly, but it still works great!

Anyway, have a great day everyone!

thank you for stopping by!

  1. Ashley S

    November 10th, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I like the rug a lot! I love chevron though πŸ™‚

  2. Hannah @ We Lived Happily Ever After

    November 13th, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    I love chevron too! I want to do a horizontal stripes one for my baby boy's nursery!

  3. Elizabeth McDowell

    November 11th, 2014 at 4:04 am

    This is so cute! Great to find another milso blog!!

  4. Hannah @ We Lived Happily Ever After

    November 13th, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Aww! Thanks! XO

  5. Jyoti Dwivedi

    February 10th, 2015 at 11:01 am

    i like this rug so much πŸ™‚

  6. Jyoti Dwivedi

    February 10th, 2015 at 11:01 am

    i like this rug so much …:-)

  7. Anonymous

    July 31st, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    I'd love to change my outdoor dΓ©cor for my camper. I think this is a less expensive way to change my outdoor rug (I've never changed it because it cost too much). I think I'd use some kind of sealant to help protect it from the elements. My mind is in overdrive now! Thanks for the idea!

  8. Mommie Kat

    September 12th, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    So cute!
    How do you stop it from slipping everywhere?

  9. Hannah @ We Lived Happily Ever After

    September 15th, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Thanks! We have it on carpet at this point, but you can get a rug mat, rubber strips, or even tac it on the corners. Hope that helps!

  10. charlee

    March 31st, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Love this tutorial! Curious what type of paint did you use? I'm also planning for a baby's room so hoping I can use the No VOC eggshell I already have lying around.

  11. Hannah Hathaway

    March 31st, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    I just used latex paint- you want something that isn't flat paint, because of staining. Mine is till holding up fine after 4-5 washes too. πŸ™‚



    June 16th, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Seal with. Clear polyurethane. Great for endurance…

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