How to Paint a Drop cloth Rug

This painted drop cloth rug is a beautiful and simple Aztec wonder. It is created simply from a drop cloth and paint. Take an afternoon and create yourself a beautiful cloth for under your table.

Note: this project costs as much as you would like to spend on the materials. You can come in very cheap with an inexpensive drop cloth and leftover paint.

Create a painted drop cloth rug. Easy to follow tutorial to make this budget-friendly DIY.

Paint a drop cloth and use hand made sponges (these are just sponges cut into geometric shapes) to create your own Aztec inspired design. This one is for my soon to be made-over Dining Room (to see the finished room go HERE).

Drop cloth Rug Supplies:

  • drop cloth ( I recommend THIS one)
  • sponges (plain kitchen sponges will do just fine)
  • paint (you won't need a large amount. Try to have 3 different colors for the accent and 1 base color. I prefer THIS PAINT.
  • roller (if you choose to use one for the base coat)
  • paint brushes (you can use the cheap sponge, if you like)
  • clear sealer (if desired)
    Note: You do not need to use a specific kind of paint. Outdoor or porch paint will hold up the best but you can absolutely use interior paint. If the rug turns out amazing (which it will!) and you do not want it to EVER be ruined then think about spraying a clear coat on top of it to withstand traffic and washing better.
make a dropcloth rug with paint. Full tutorial.

Instructions for drop cloth rug:

1. Iron the drop cloth as best you can.

Don't worry too much, many of the wrinkles take care of themselves when you paint. Just get the worst offenders out, if possible. Most drop cloths come folded up in the package. Those folds need to be taken out as best you can.

2. Paint the base coat.

Use two good coats of base paint (the one pictured above uses orange) before you get started with your design. Don't duplicate this color within your later design or your full design won't show up. There is no need to let coats dry in between painting each one because you are just trying to get the drop cloth to soak up the color. It won’t seep underneath because of the plastic underside. But, be sure to let the two base coats dry after the 2 coats are applied and before you put in your design.

3. Cut your sponges.

To make a design like the one pictured, use multiple variations of triangles. And a small square. Use what will work for what you are trying to achieve.
With this type of design, it’s best to go with a basic, geometric shape. You will just build basic shape on top of basic shape on your rug. Keep it geometric and orderly. Or, perhaps you have a plan and are going to go crazy. Go for it.

4. Use a pencil and lightly draw guidelines.

Give yourself a basic idea of where to put the stamps. It doesn’t need to be detailed. Just an eyeball. It's hard to "undo" paint. Being a bit prepared and planned will save you time in the long run!

5. Apply stamps.

Be sure to work bit by bit. If you're trying not to mess up, do the pattern in order (section by section) rather than one color at a time. But, do what feels right to you. If you mess up, cover it back over with orange paint, let dry...try again.

6. Seal.

When you have your pattern and everything dries..seal with a clear sealer.
This is the part that allows you to use whatever paint you want or is on hand.

Be aware that this rug is more of a "floor cloth" in texture, if you've experienced those, and works FAB on carpeted floors or with padding underneath. This is also a fantastic way to cover a current rug that needs updating. For many places in your home it is perfect. In your mud room you can just sweep this off and not have to pull out the vacuum. You can make a beautiful "rug" for under your dining room table that can handle food and use with ease.

drop cloth rug. Full tutorial.
make a rug with a drop cloth and paint. Full tutorial.

If you don't want to make your own here are a few of my favorite Aztec inspired rugs for you to buy:

Other great projects that you can do with drop cloths:


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34 thoughts on “How to Paint a Drop cloth Rug”

  1. This rug is amazing! I also really love that dark blue wall color in the photos. Do you happen to remember what color it is? :)

  2. How is it with the chairs and table? I am thinking about making one for under my dining room table, but my husband is concerned that it will be a hassle with the chairs sliding on and off. Any thoughts?

  3. Hi! I love the rug! Congratulations! What type of paint did you use? I'm dying to give it a shot but I don't want to mess up by choosing the wrong type of paint.

    1. I used traditional latex paint. I think mine was Valspar. Another time I used outdoor paint and think it might be holding up better. But really, you can use traditional indoor paint just fine. Throw a coat of clear spray paint over the top of it for good measure, if you like. Good luck!! Be sure to send us a pic of the finished product so we can ooh and aaah!

  4. Gorgeous! It is similar in color and pattern to a wonderful old, tattered Oriental rug that belonged to my great grandmother! I am definitely going to give this a try for a bedroom I'm redoing! Thanks for sharing.

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