painter’s dropcloth.

I don’t know where my mom came up with the idea, but a few years ago she made tab curtains for her living room out of painter’s dropcloth. Thick, heavy, cream-coloured canvas hanging from black iron rods with finials. They reached the floor, and with the weight of the fabric, looked quite professional. The colour of the fabric let in a warm, filtered glow of light during the day, but was thick enough to give privacy even at night.

They looked similar to this, but cream-coloured and touching the floor.

Painter’s dropcloth is dirt cheap compared to canvas at the fabric store, and especially compared to ready-made or custom-made curtains. There is a bit more nubbiness to the fabric than fabric store canvas, but it makes for nice ‘texture’. I usually find it at places like Home Depot in various sizes.

For a 6′ wide window like mine, it would be $20 for enough dropcloth to make two floor-length curtains (to meet in the middle). It’d be about another $15 for a decent-looking curtain rod.  You just have to be willing to put in a bit of time to sew the curtains. If you were feeling really adventurous, fabric dye would cost about another $5-10, depending on how saturated you want your colour (be sure to wash the fabric before dying to avoid uneven colour distribution). I do most of my dying the easy way in the washing machine. RIT dye has instructions in the box.

I’ve also used dropcloth to recover a futon mattress and to make an apron. The weight of the canvas works far better and looks much nicer than quilting cottons (or worse, a bedsheet draped over the futon). Canvas tote bags are classic and durable. Dropcloth would make a casual tablecloth (think outdoor dinners in the summer) or sunshades for your deck, diffusing the intensity of the light instead of putting you in the shade. It’s naturally water-repelling, but to prevent mildew I’d use a petroleum-based (not silicone) waterproofing sealant for any outdoor uses.

Canvas is the perfect summer fabric, so get going on all your projects before it’s over!

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7 Responses to “painter’s dropcloth.”


  1. 1 Kevan April 3, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    Brilliant. Me and Kendra are looking for curtains for our bedroom to block out the evil sunlight during the light summer mornings. This could be awesome. Thanks for the tip!

  2. 2 jjMichael April 20, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    No. But now i will. Thanks for that.

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