Canvas floor cloth - anyone ever attempted this? Tips?

I have a newly redesigned craft room and the old carpet did not fit, and it was really not appropriate anyway.

I hate to buy new for a craft room…paint will end up everywhere at some point, it always does. And I use the floor to layout quilts, patterns, large cardboard pieces, Gelli prints, etc. Best flat place in the house.

I’ve been looking at painted floor cloths, which seems to be a great way to go, flat, smooth, easy to clean. But I don’t like any of the ones I can afford. It’s just canvas, paint, and a sealer coat or two. What could be easier?

5x7 is the size I am considering if I can get canvas that size. Any comments?

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Do you think something smooth will slip around? I know I have that problem with my wooden floors…I have to buy the under carpet stuff to keep them from sliding and it is almost as expensive as the carpet!

I have some indoor/outdoor carpet from Wayfair that is really flat. When it gets dirty, you can hose it off. They are relatively inexpensive.

Most I’ve seen either suggest a non slip backing like shelf liner or use poster hanging putty blobs around the edges. My main problem is design. I’m very picky as I have to look at it all the time and I just haven’t found a rug I like at a price I’ll pop for.

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I have done it. Many many years ago and it worked well. I used a heavy canvas, water based household paints and about three coats of varnish.

It’s actually a really old technique and paints and varnishes are much better nowadays than then. I’d say dive in, it’s easy and very satisfying and they are very hard wearing.

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:grin:, worth a go

Ask a professional house painter or contractor to get one for you…or give you a used one. You could just paint over a used one.

Also, if there is a discount fabric store or fabric warehouse near you, that’s another place to look.

Painter’s dropcloths give you a lot of fabric pretty cheap, but quality varies. I just got one from walmart thats very loosely woven. I bet home depot has better quality.

When I planned to do a floor cloth*, I asked for paint on freecycle, and got a bunch of different colors of latex housepaint.

We painted the subfloor (the plywood floor you see when you remove the carpeting) in our last house, and I can attest that a good polyurethane finish made for floors holds up very well.

*I love planning, and research, and shopping, but sometimes don’t actually get around to doing the project.
Don’t judge me.


Harbor frieght is another source. 10oz to 12 oz is best. I bought a drop cloth cheap for a sign. Very loosely woven and didn’t hold up well in the weather. Also, they are sneaky about whether it’s 100% cotton or not. Apparently “cotton” includes anything that looks remotely like cotton these days. I got a polyester “100% cotton” shirt once. I returned it.

I’m not home so I can’t check, but I think there’s a paintable non-slip backing you can put in the back. I seem to remember buying a can way back when I also planned to make one (you’re not alone, @steiconi!) several years ago.

I have seen where people will used silicone caulking on the backs of rugs to give them the (non)slip.

I bought 2 pieces outdoor rug material-by-the-foot at one of the home center chains a couple years ago and then painted it with craft paint mixed with textile medium. They have held up quite well to all the weather and wear & tear. I cut stencils to get my design and they worked very well for that. Not sure they’d be a surface I’d want to do my crafting on, though. I also work quite a bit on the floor and these might have too much give for that.

I do second (third? fourth?) checking out canvas drop cloths and will suggest an actual paint store where supplies tend to be more serious/professional and staff tend to actually, really know their stuff. (former specialty painting contractor here)

You can paint liquid latex on the back for a non slip surface.
It’s also good for making molds and casting rubbery parts, as well as monster makeup.

I have not done floor cloths, but my go-to for painting tents is 50/50 latex paint & water, which works reasonably well instead of textile medium for large spaces that don’t have to be super flexible.

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Great tip, I want to paint our canopy.

60" wide 10 ounce canvas for $5.49/yd

I have painted a couple Christmas floor cloths in the past. I used canvas from the art supply store and primed it with a few coats of Gesso before the final design. This was a project my tole paint chapter had going. We used the Americana craft paints for the design and sealed it with 2-3 coats of brush-on varnish. There is a backing you can get to brush on too that helps with the slippery underside. Also I have a tree skirt I started made the same way. That’s in the U.F.O. bin.

I found a strip of canvas in my stash. Got it thoroughly wet with hot water and laid out in the blistering 98 degree sun to dry. Was dry in a very short time!

Next I will paint a primer coat or two, sand, etc. Then try some paint techniques on it. I need to know what to expect when I do the actual floor cloth. I am getting excited about this. I need this kind of project right now. Useful, fun, messy, and new.


I saw this when searching. Interesting idea. I think I still like the canvas because it can be rolled up easier.

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And I am working on this…

It’s a test piece for a painted floor cloth. Two layers of primer and a sanding. One more to go. Then I can start experimenting.

Learned lessons already.

  • I didn’t iron well enough, we will see how that translates.

  • I didn’t use primer because I am out, so this is just a white latex, I think primer would have given a better surface


I’m looking forward to your post once you have one finished. I’ll be interested to learn your tips!

Update. I purchased all the material for a rug and then realized that what I really needed were fatigue mats for my counter and ironing board.

I think I will wait and make a couple of nice canvas rugs for our new 3 season porch if it ever gets built. We are on schedule for this fall, but who knows. It’s been a long process.

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