Sometimes called painter’s canvases, drop cloths are plain-woven canvas fabric sheets used to contain debris and paint spills during home renovations. But we found that they’re perfect for DIY decorating anywhere—even the dining room.

Drop cloth dining room overall

In this retro baby blue and pink dining room, deep golden yellow accents (rather than a lighter, sunnier hue) help welcome the wheat-beige color of natural canvas into the scheme.

Stenciled drop cloth runner

Washable drop cloth is a smart choice for a stenciled table runner that may take a few spills. The same would be true of personalized placemats.

Tip: When stamping or stenciling, use a stack of paper towels to dab off excess paint. Doing so prevents paint from coming off the stamp in globs or oozing under the stencil and causing sloppy results.
Here’s how to make an easy dining table runner.

What You’ll Need

  • Canvas cotton drop cloth
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine and matching thread
  • Plastic drop cloth or other nonporous surface protection
  • Wide masking tape
  • Craft stencil
  • Stencil adhesive spray
  • Disposable plate
  • Acrylic crafts paint
  • Fabric painting medium
  • Stencil brushes
  • Paper towels
Drop cloth stencil detail

Iron drop cloth fabric to remove creases. Cut a piece of fabric 20 inches wide by 2 feet longer than the length of your table, plus 3 inches for hem. Turn raw edge under ¼ inch all around; press. Turn under another ½ inch on each edge; press well. With sewing machine, topstitch around the hem on all sides.

Place fabric face up on your protected work surface and secure with masking tape. Stretch the fabric tightly as you tape each side.

Spray the back of stencil with adhesive. Apply stencil to center of fabric. Gently pat and smooth stencil in place to ensure stencil is well adhered to fabric.

Stenciling drop cloth runner

Pour a small amount of paint onto plate. Mix in an equal part of fabric painting medium. Pick up a scant amount on a stencil brush. Tap loaded brush onto a stack of paper towels. Using a tapping motion and light pressure, apply paint to stencil. Make sure all stencil openings are covered; fill in where necessary. Let dry. Without moving the stencil, apply three or four more coats until desired opacity. Let dry and remove stencil. Move stencil and secure in place for the next repeat, matching the registration marks if necessary. Continue stenciling until the design is complete.

Painted dishes

Set your table with pretty dishes you paint yourself with ceramic markers. Baking the dishes in the oven makes the color permanent. See how to create a personalized set of dinnerware here.

Painted drop cloth baskets

Sewing a canvas circle to a sleeve forms a soft basket. Adjust the measurements to create multiple sizes, and use them to contain a glass of flowers or brunch baguettes. Fabric paint designs make it your own.

What You’ll Need to Make 4 baskets:

  • 5 x 8–inch, 51/2 x 8–inch, 5 x 10–inch and 81/2 x 10–inch
  • 4 x 15–foot heavyweight (10-ounce) painter’s canvas
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Sewing machine and matching thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins and needles
  • Pencil or tailor’s chalk
  • Fabric paint markers
Drop cloth bread basket

For 5 x 8–inch basket, from canvas cut one 6-inch circle and one 21 x 17–inch piece. From interfacing cut one 6-inch circle. Fuse interfacing to wrong side of circle bottom. With a sewing machine, use a serge or zigzag stitch to finish raw outer edge of circle, if desired.

With right sides together, sew a ½-inch side seam on the rectangular piece, creating a tube for sides. Press seam open. With wrong sides facing, fold tube in half, matching raw edges. Baste around bottom edge on seam; finish raw edge.

Divide and mark circle bottom into fourths. Divide and mark bottom edge of tube sides into fourths. Matching the markings of the circle to the markings of the sides, stitch together using a ½-inch seam allowance. Turn to right side. Turn down top cuff as desired.

Drop cloth vase cover

Using a pattern or drawing freehand with pencil or tailor’s chalk, draw design. Trace design with paint markers. Look for design inspiration in online graphics sources or adult coloring books.

For 51/2 x 8–inch basket, from canvas cut one 61/2-inch circle and one 22 x 17–inch piece. From interfacing cut one 61/2-inch circle. Repeat steps.

For 5 x 10–inch basket, from canvas cut one 6-inch circle and one 21 x 21–inch piece. From interfacing cut one 6-inch circle. Repeat steps.

For 81/2 x 10–inch basket, from canvas cut one 91/2-inch circle and one 29 x 21–inch piece. From interfacing cut one 91/2-inch circle. Repeat steps.

Stamped drop cloth curtains

Using a tube of clear silicone and a block of wood, create an original stamp to add flair to plain curtains.

Designer know-how: Multiply the width of the rod by 1.5 to get the finished width of the fabric so there’s enough fullness in the curtains.

What You’ll Need

  • 6 x 9–foot or 9 x 12–foot canvas cotton drop cloth (depends on window size)
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine and matching thread
  • Grommet kit
  • Hammer
  • Wood block
  • Pencil
  • Clear, paintable silicone
  • Plastic drop cloth or other nonporous surface protection
  • Fabric paint
  • Disposable plate
  • Small roller
  • Paper towel

Measure area from curtain rod to floor and the width of rod. Multiply the width by 1.5 so there’s enough fullness in the curtains; add 7 inches to length measurement to accommodate hems and grommet placement. Divide width measurement in half to determine width of each curtain. Cut two fabric panels to desired size.

For side hems: Fold side edges back 1/2 inch; press and fold over again for double-fold hems. Pin hems and stitch in place.

For top and bottom hems: Fold edges over 1/2 inch; press; fold over again for doublefold hems. Pin and stitch in place. Turn top and bottom edges over to create 3-inch hems. Pin and stitch in place. Iron panels. Add grommets to top of each curtain panel, following manufacturer’s instructions.

With a pencil, draw design onto a block of wood. (It’s helpful in aligning your stamp to mark the top of your design on the back of the wood block, or use the tip of the wood block corner for the top as we did in our design.) Squeeze a bead of silicone onto the wood, following the sketched design. Maintain an even pressure to ensure silicone is applied in an even thickness around the design. Let dry thoroughly.

 Stamped drop cloth curtain detail

Lay curtain panels face up on protected work surface. Squeeze dollop of paint onto plate. Saturate roller with paint and roll off excess onto paper towels.

Apply roller onto stamp design, covering all areas with paint. Turn stamp over and align top of stamp with top edge of the panel. Press firmly and remove. Reapply paint and align the stamp top with bottom of the first stamping.

Continue until entire edge is stamped. Apply a second row, varying the starting point as we did or beginning at the same point as the first row for a more linear-like overall pattern. Let dry.

Photography by Chris Hennessey

© Caruth Studio