Painted Floor Cloth

If you’re looking for an inexpensive floor covering idea, a painted floor cloth is a great way to add style underfoot while on a budget. Floor cloths can be stylish and are easy to care for. Today, I’m going to share some simple tips and techniques to help you in making your own inexpensive floor cloth.

how to make a painted floor cloth


Floor cloths actually originated in France back in the 1400’s and were often stenciled or painted with various patterns by the “lady of the house.” (That would be me!) They were often referred to as “crumb cloths” and were frequently used in the kitchen and under dining tables. There’s a little history lesson for you, now let’s get on to the good stuff!

There are a few tutorials out there for making your own floor cloth, and if you want to get a little fancy, check out Martha Stewart’s tutorial on how to make canvas rugs. But if you’re like me – limited on time, patience, and free-hand art skills, then you have come to the right place!

 To make my floor cloth, I purchased a large canvas drop cloth at Lowe’s for a little more than $10. I measured the size I needed for my room and cut the painter’s dropcloth down to size leaving about an extra inch on the sides. And since I’m a no-sew kinda girl, I broke out my Stitch Witchery and hemmed the sides like I did for my stenciled table runner. Easy peasy!

For the next steps, you will need lots of space. I covered the garage floor with an extra large plastic drop cloth and laid out my canvas cloth. Using a measuring tape, a level, and painter’s tape, I marked off my design. Be sure to press the edges of the tape down very well so that no paint can seep under the edges.


 Rather than using a stencil, I decided to go with a classic stripe pattern. The drapes in our dining room already have a stencil pattern and I wanted a simple and timeless design – especially since this was my first attempt at painting fabric!


Now, you’re ready to paint. When painting fabric, it’s best to go with a flat finish paint. I used Valspar’s Volcanic Ash for this project and applied it with a paint roller. You’ll need about 2 coats and be sure to let it dry between applications.
You should end up with something that looks a bit of a mess, like this :)



Just hang here with me, ’cause it’s going to get better! After the paint is completely dry, you need to seal it. I went all out on this step and used the Varathane Floor Finish Polyurethane. This is the best (in my humble opinion) but whatever you choose, be sure it is a water based polyurethane for this project.



Remove your painter’s tape (and hopefully you have beautiful straight lines)! Apply 2 to 3 coats of the sealer to insure the best protection of your floor cloth. Again, I used a good paint roller and was sure to let the sealer dry completely between applications.


Once your floor cloth is completely dry, you can apply a rug tape or a rubber backing using silicone or liquid rubber from your local craft store. Then you’re ready to put down your new floor cloth!



A few more tips and pointers:

  • At first, your floor cloth will be very stiff after painting and sealing, but over time it will soften up.
  • You will definitely need some sort of rubber backing or tape to keep this in place. I highly recommend placing it around the edges if no where else, just to insure the edges do not curl.
  • This is an easy care floor covering! We have two large dogs and an almost two year old that are always tracking in dirt, mud, food, you name it! Matt has always thought rugs are best when they can just be taken outside and hosed off. With this floor cloth, we can do just that! Hose it off, or just use a wet mop and PRESTO!! Like new again!! ;)


Looks like we’re one step closer to transforming our dining room into a more functional space for our home! I’m pleased with how this floor covering turned out. It’s been about two months since I finished this project and I’m happy to say that it continues to hold up well! While it may not be a plush rug underfoot, it is functional, adds style, and was easy to complete with a small budget! A painted floor cloth, while it may not be for everyone, can still make for a great temporary fix until you find the perfect rug!



Have you ever tried painting your own floor cloth? What tips do you have for painting fabric? Share your tips!

I’m sharing this tutorial over at Savvy Southern Style, Shabby Creek Cottage, StoneGable, and Design, Dining, + Diapers, Blissfully Ever After Paint It Challenge – Osie Moats
Weekend Bloggy Reading get your craft on

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  • Kris {Driven by Décor}

    That’s awesome Ellora!! It’s a very timely post because a friend of mine at work was just asking me about how she could do something like this – I will forward on this post to her!

    • Ellora @ Creatively Southern

      Awesome! Glad to help and thanks so much for sharing!

  • kelly @ view along the way

    What a great idea! I LOVE the navy and white crispness!

    • Ellora @ Creatively Southern

      Thanks Kelly! Blue is my favorite color and I try to refrain from using it in every single room in the house! :)

  • bridgett

    Ellora! So glad I found your blog! This is a great idea, and fabulous tutorial! I’ve been wanting to cover some of the hardwoods in our kitchen from slight water damage but didn’t want a full blown rug in their! Thanks for sharing! Would love for you to share at the party tonight! Your newest follower! xo Bridgett

  • Michele

    I <3 stripes too. Pinned to my stripes board. Shared a Facebook like. Like me back at

    • Ellora @ Creatively Southern

      Thanks Michele for sharing! Stripes are so fun aren’t they?

  • Lauren

    Just stopping by to invite you to my link party. I would love it if you would link this up. You did a great job.

    • Ellora @ Creatively Southern

      Thanks so much Lauren! I’ll be sure to stop over at your blog and check it out!;)

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  • Amanda

    Wow, I think this is very cool! And so inexpensive, too. It looks great in your dining room. I found your link from Serenity Now. (Oh, and I’m a no-sew girl too! :)

    • Ellora @ Creatively Southern

      Thanks Amanda! Thank you for stopping over and commenting. YAY for another no-sew girl!! Maybe one of these days I’ll take the time to learn to sew, until then – Long live the Stitch Witchery!! :)

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  • Ellora @ Creatively Southern

    Thanks Bridgett! So glad this was helpful to you. I just checked out your blog and you have some seriously amazing projects! I can’t wait to go thru and see them all! I’m your newest follower too! ;)

  • vmg206

    How fun! I just bought a drop cloth to try painted curtains. I will have to try this floor cloth, too~!
    PS I LOVE your dining room curtains!
    ~ Megin of VMG206

    • Ellora

      Thank you! I’d love to see how your curtains turn out. And thank you for your kind words on the curtains. They came from Target for about $20!

  • Dawn

    What a great project. I love this and would love to try it in a Laundry room of mine. One question. Do you use the poly on both sides of the cloth or just the top? Love your post. (

    • Ellora

      Hi Dawn, Thanks for your question! I only used the poly on one side. The poly actually soaked through to the other side so be sure you use a big plastic drop cloth under it, but it works great that way! You’ll also want to be sure to use some rug tape or put some silicone on the underside to help keep it in place. That’s a great idea to use it in your laundry room. I might just have to remember that when I get to making over that room in our house. Thanks for your kind words and let me know how yours turns out!

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  • John & Kathy

    Great idea!! I bought the painters drop cloth and wondered do I need to pre-srink the canvas before painting?

    • Ellora @ Creatively Southern

      Hey John & Kathy! I did not pre-shrink mine. I didn’t wash it because I wanted to keep the stiffness to it. Thanks for commenting! I’d love to see what you do with your painter’s cloth!

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  • Ellora @ Creatively Southern

    Thank you Tom! I’m glad you found the post helpful. I think the curtains are a great idea and I’m sure they will turn out well!

  • Ellora @ Creatively Southern

    Absolutely! I would just be sure to put several good coats of polyurethane on it so it will weather longer. Great idea!