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. Would this work for an outdoor area rug? I have a screened in porch I would like to put a rug in. But can't find the right size.

    1. It would if it doesn't get alot of rain on it and you use an outdoor paint. If it gets really wet out there I would be concerned about the water not drying out on the rug. Because you are using a dropcloth that is intended to keep paint or liquids from soaking through it could be difficult to dry off if it was more than your spray from rain. I hope that helps!

  2. love this rug! Just finished mine! I was wondering if it is safe to machine wash? It got a little dirty while I was painting it.

    1. You know, I don't think I would machine wash it. Maybe on hand wash? I would just give it a good wipe with a bit of soap and warm water in a corner to test (should hold up fine) and go that route. HOnestly, great question!! It is outdoor paint but sometimes that paint chips off and flakes when it gets wet and abused.

  3. I first wanna say I LOVE IT! I've been thinking of doing this for a while now but don't have the guts to do it :-P
    I know you said you didn't seal it, but could you tell me what you would use to do so?

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