I’m officially on the DIY train. My mind is swimming with fun, pretty DIY projects all the time now. But this project? This was born out of necessity.
We had some areas on our living room floor that needed to be covered for various reasons. We needed an inexpensive solution, and I remembered seeing some tutorials for dropcloth rugs. Rugs are expensive, and I didn’t want to risk ruining another one that I spent a lot of money on (the cat ruined the pretty jute one a few months back). Since I knew the solution would A) be temporary and B) need to be cheap, dropcloth seemed like the simple solution.
Another upside of dropcloth rugs is they can be thrown in a washing machine. Considering ours are placed right by the front door, this is important. I wanted to try a couple different approaches to it, so I painted one and dyed the other. If you want to try this yourself, here are tutorials for each method. At the bottom I’ll break down a little of what worked, what didn’t, and my overall thoughts on how these turned out. (I didn’t get any supply/process photos of the dyed rug as I did it alone, at night, by myself. Sorry!)
1 canvas dropcloth
Paint brush (I suggest foam)
Cardboard, plastic or other dropcloth (to use under rug while painting)
1. Wash and dry dropcloth
2. Lay flat over cardboard or a second dropcloth, as the paint will seep through.
3. Tape off painting pattern.
4. Paint your pattern. I found that two coats were necessary as the canvas will soak up some of the paint. Use a dabbing motion to get good solid color.
5. Allow to dry, then carefully pull off tape. Some slight paint bleeding will likely have occurred.
6. Cut and tie yarn into tassels, enough for two ends of the rug. I used a method similar to this.
7. Sew tassels along the ends of your rug.
Fabric dye (I used this Rit dye in Denim)
Large bucket or bin (or your sink or bathtub)
Salt (most fabric dye requires added salt for cotton fabrics. Check instructions.)
1. Wash dropcloth. Do not dry, as the dropcloth will need to be wet for the dying process.
2. Follow directions on your dye package for dying instructions.
3. For an ombre effect, like I did, dip the ends of the fabric (the area you want to be darker) in first, then halfway through the dying process, lower the fabric several more inches into the dye for the area that will be lighter. I loosely followed this process. (Apt. Therapy)
4. Following dye instructions, rinse the fabric until the water runs clear, then wash and dry the fabric.
The painted dropcloth was definitely the easiest. I dyed the other one by myself in the bathtub and it was a lot of work (the dropcloth gets so heavy in the water and the dye gets everywhere) for not the best turnout. I really wanted the color to be darker, and despite using the hottest water I could and keeping the fabric in the tub for around 30 minutes, it came out much lighter than expected. The painting was also time consuming, but part of that was because I was doing such a large rug. Also more time consuming than it was ultimately worth, was the yarn tassels. I love how it looks but it took at least 4 episodes of OITNB to create and sew on all those tassels.
Note the actual size of the dropcloth when you’re purchasing. For the painted one, the big text on the package said 15’x4′, but if I’d looked closer it had the actual dimensions in smaller text and was actually only 3’8″ wide, so it didn’t cover the entire area I was hoping it would. Also, because of the strange dimension I needed, I ended up cutting and sewing both dropcloths to get the exact dimensions I was looking for.
I’d say the DIY dropcloth rug is best suited for a smaller scale rug, for an area of the home that just needs something simple to protect the floor. It won’t sit well on carpet, and if using on a slippery floor, be sure to use a rug pad for safety. Both of these methods would be fantastic for a smaller rug.
Overall, I’m glad I gave these projects a go, and happy with how they turned out, as it was better than the alternative in my case (an uncovered, ugly floor!) Now, fingers crossed for new flooring next year!