How to Paint a Drop Cloth Rug & Nursery Update

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Yay! I finally finished another part of sweet Baby G’s nursery. I can’t wait to get it all done and do the final reveal. Now that she’s sleeping in there, I’m really excited to get it finished and looking put together.

Can I just say that it takes 10 times as long to do a project with a newborn? Cause I just need to tell somebody that. When Miss A was born I didn’t have a blog or do many DIY projects. I was employed full-time outside the home and thoroughly enjoyed a full 3 months of maternity leave to do nothing but cuddle a newborn. Dare I say, I was bored then?

This time around is much different. I am a work-at-home mom with a preschooler and a newborn. I have no time to do anything but survive around here. Somedays I look around and think, if we can just stay home and make it through another day alive, well, fed and warm, then I’ll call it a success. We’ve had many successful days around here. Set the bar low, people.

DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

OK, so this rug. I loved the swiss cross rug in the vision board I put together. But I didn’t want to spend the cashola. So, I found a much cheaper solution with the same stylish impact. Ace Hardware challenged us to break the rules with our post this month. Is there a rule out there that you can’t paint a rug? Well, if there is, then I broke it. Whether or not it’s a rule, it’s definitely an unconventional way of covering your floors. 🙂 I thought it would be a great way to DIY a fun pattern for the nursery!

What you’ll need:

– Drop cloth (I got a 12 x 9 foot drop cloth and folded it in half to make a 9 x 6 rug.)
Super 77 Spray Adhesive
– Paint (I used Whisper Softly from Ace Hardware’s Valspar paint line.)
Purdy paint brush
Frog tape

Step 1 – Prep.

You’ll want to wash and dry. That will make sure that if you ever need to wash it, which I’m sure you will, it won’t shrink on you. Then iron the heck out of it. My mom ironed mine while I took a nap. Thanks mom!

Step 2 – Fold it in half.

I highly recommend having someone help you with this step and the next two. My mom and I folded the drop cloth in half and matched up the corners and sides as best we could. (Like I said, I got a 12 x 9 foot drop cloth and folded it in half to make a 9 x 6 rug.)  Since drop cloths don’t exactly have straight edges, just do the best you can. Then we pinned the sides and about 6 inches from the folded seam. And then we ironed the folded seam. This was key for the next step. Thanks Mom for being a hand model.

DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

Step 3 – Spray adhesive.

We took the folded drop cloth outside and laid it down in the garage. Lucky for us it wasn’t too cold outside last weekend. We had spread out a sheet and some newspapers to put under the drop cloth. This kept us from getting spray adhesive on the garage floor, which I imagine would have been a sticky disaster. And it kept our drop cloth from getting dirty. We opened up the folded drop cloth and sprayed the adhesive all over one side of the drop cloth. It I had it to do over again, I would have sprayed both sides, but you live and learn.

Step 4 – This is tricky. Stick the two sides together.

DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

Once I had sufficiently sprayed one side, we carefully laid down the top side over the bottom. This step definitely needed two people. We started in the middle and made sure to press out any wrinkles as we went along. Sometimes we had to pull the sides apart and start a section over, but nothing too bad. The wrinkles you see in the picture above were from the sheet underneath.

I can’t imagine doing this one by myself. I would have pulled my hair out.

Step 5 – Plan your design.

DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

I used my Silhouette Studio software to map out my design. I had to make sure the crosses would be as centered and evenly spaced as possible. The math kind of hurt my brain. 🙂

Step 6 – Tape off your design.

I used frog tape to tape off my designs. And I used a long board from my scrap wood pile as a straight edge. Make sure your board it actually straight before you start using it. I started with another board and after a few lines, I realized it wasn’t straight. Ugh.

DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

Actually I ended up having to take up tape three times during this process because I kept getting confused about how far apart the lines should be. The math was a little much for this mom with newborn brain fog, but I finally got it all done! Taping was definitely the most time-consuming part of this project.

DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

I had a little helper with me for most of this part. She’s cute, but isn’t a big fan of being put down. This was the calm before the storm. Hence the DIY projects taking 10 times longer than they used to. 😉

DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

Note: I highly recommend doing all of this on top of another rug, like I did. Yeah, it was inconvenient to work in the middle of the living room with my family all around, but my knees thank me for not trying to do this on the hard wood floor. 

 Step 7 – cut away unnecessary tape.

Once I had all of the lines taped down, I cut away the tape I didn’t need. I used my box cutter, which worked great. Just make sure to only cut through the tape and not cut the drop cloth, too!

DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

Yay! Now it’s time for painting!! You can finally see the design start to take shape.

DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

Step 8 – paint!

DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

I grabbed a sample pot (which is a pint) of Whisper Softly from my local Ace Hardware. It’s a pretty neutral that looks white, but has green undertones and makes it look slightly gray in the right light. I thought it was the perfect name for a paint color in a nursery. And I think I’d like to paint a wall this color at some point – not in the nursery, but somewhere.

Whisper Softly from Valspar | DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

Painting on fabric can be a bit tricky. You want to make sure you press down the tape really well, and never paint toward the tape lines, only away from it. Otherwise the paint will be pushed up under the tape and you won’t have straight lines.

DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

This project took the whole pint of paint.

The last thing to do is just remove the tape after the paint has tried. And voila! You have a pretty, fun canvas rug!

DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

It was hard to get a picture of the whole thing because it’s so large.

I love it! I can’t wait to finish all of the nursery projects and get them all in the room together.

DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |
DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

Now, I will say that the painted crosses are a little stiff. I’m thinking about sanding them with my orbital sander a bit to soften them. Another good idea would be to add fabric medium to the paint before putting it on the canvas. I used fabric medium when I painted my curtains, which helped to make the fabric part less stiff. Just some after thoughts.

DIY Painted Drop Cloth Rug |

I also plan on stitching the sides of this rug once I get a chance. It sticks together fine with the spray adhesive, but it could be pulled apart if I tried.

What do you think?

Would you try this type of “rule-breaking” rug?

What kind of design would you choose?

I have only a few more items on the nursery to do list and then it’ll be done!!

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  1. We REALLY want to paint the tile in our 50’s bathroom. White seems like the safe option, but I’m thinking of breaking the rules and painting it something more fun!

  2. I don’t really adhere to any rules, but I plan on painting my bedroom ceiling something other than white this Spring. Something light but noticeable.

  3. Oh I love to break the painting rules and make the walls unique! We are just going to start one of the bedrooms…not sure what to do yet…so I am looking for ideas!! I love how you did the rug!

  4. Well me and my dad are currently making a shelving unit for extra storage space, and I’d like to break his rules of only painting things blue in our house!

  5. I love all of your painting tips! I’m going to get Ace’s cabinet paint and give it a try! Hmmm…I guess for me- not very adventurous- we are moving into a home that’s a bit of a different style than all our stuff. So we are going to use paint to break the rules of the existing home look! And I cannot wait!

  6. I love to break rules like “don’t paint a bright color in your bedroom, it will keep you awake”. One rule I NEVER break is “Do your prep work”. It is so much better in the long run if you are painting a clean, sanded, primed surface.

  7. Love the rug!… If there is a rule to be broken when it comes to painting, I’m sure I’ve broken it. I usually just dig in and do it! Wonderful and generous giveaway! Thanks for hosting it! 🙂

  8. I love the idea of using painters tape to create patterns. I would love to try this on a old pine floor in my hallway. Thanks for the great giveaway! I need paint!

  9. I just used chalk paint to paint an accent wall in my dining room. Love how it turned out, but not the ‘typical’ thing to do with chalk paint!

  10. I would totally break the rules! This rug is darling! I’m picturing a green background with taupe x’s and o’s for my back porch. Thanks for the tips! It seems easier to do when someone else has already done it, and shown you how! <3

  11. I love to break the rules with paint. There is nothing like finding a piece of furniture/ decor that needs new life. It is amazing what a splash of color can do. My favorite rule break so far was transforming a twenty year old screen into a beautiful wardrobe mirror.
    Thank you for the chance to work more magic.

  12. Are there painting rules? I just do what I like regardless. I recently painted a powder room bright aqua and I love it but my husband isn’t so excited about it.

  13. LOVE this!!! I already did a V stripe pattern on a drop cloth in my daughter’s room, but I think I’m going to do this cross pattern on the drop cloth rug in my baby boy’s nursery- because it goes with the WWI red cross theme! Great job! XO

  14. I don’t really know… I’m a rule breaker when it comes to recipies and sewing patterns, but I don’t have much experience painting, so I probably wouldn’t break the rules.

  15. I’d love to break the painting rules by doing an ombre room but with a bold color. I’d only do one wall though so as not to over power the whole room.

  16. I have considered painting a rug for my front porch (stencil on an cheap indoor/ outdoor solid color rug)- it’s on my to do list. I love your idea of setting the bar low each day- with a 3 and 5 year old I can totally relate- so many things I want to get done and before I know it the day is done!

  17. I actually plan on painting curtains in our nursery. I’m in love with these thick nautical striped curtains I found, but they are way out of our price range, and not black out or room darkening. I can paint stripes 🙂

  18. I couldn’t find the pillows I wanted for my daughter’s room, so I plan on painting quotes and patterns on some plain throw pillows myself.

  19. My daughter’s room is getting a complete makeover. She is painting everything in it, including the ceiling to match the walls. Not exactly breaking any rules, but it’s something I never tried before.

  20. Love the rug and the idea of it. I paint everything. The hardest thing I find doing is prepping so the paint adheres. Great giveaway!

  21. Your rug painting project turned out beautifully! I really like that the piece can continue to work as the child grows and can even be utilized in another room, if needed. Well done

    1. So excited about the rug, I forgot to add how I would break the painting rules! I would shift the design to where the pattern repeat would be viewed on the diagonal, with overlap to the edges. The beauty of this rebellious notion is that the diagonal placement could draw the eye out further, thus expanding the perceived size of the space.

  22. I’ve thought several times of painting the ceiling in our guest room a bright, brilliant color. I’m afraid my husband would have a fit, so I won’t. I really love the idea of a colorful ceiling .

  23. Hi…thanks so much to you and ACE Hardware for the generous giveaway! I went to your facebook site and loved the idea of adding shelves to a closet. Wrote down all the directions and will be doing this soon. Your little girls are just adorable…Thanks again, From a Mom of five Sons! Diane

  24. I break the rules by not using tape around the edges. Instead I carry a wet wash cloth and wipe when I get paint on the trim.

  25. I love your rug idea. I think I would paint a large floral pattern on a drop cloth for my own home. I would need to chalk mark it on the cloth first. I am also wondering if another type of rug backing would make it a little thicker and more substantial? I have two teenage boys who are fairly rough on floors. 😉

    Great job! Your nursery is coming together beautifully!

  26. Love the rug!!!

    I’m thinking about ‘breaking’ a personal rule and painting my son’s ceiling dark for a star wars room, ahhh ;-/

  27. I would choose a different color of paint for each room and paint the ceilings colors I liked. I did in in our last house and it broke my heart when we moved.

  28. I am not very creative on my own I would just find something like what you did and follow the leader or paint a really cute mural on the babies ceiling!

  29. My painting rule break would be to paint without primer when painting over dark color.

    (On one of your giveaway entry I accidently wrote the wrong name on one of the instagram. It should be ranajdurham instead of rana31287. thanks for the giveaway.)

  30. I’m not sure that I would break any painting rules! I just don’t have it in me! I’m the type to watch YouTube how-to videos before I do anything just to make sure I’m doing it correctly!

  31. I have a question. You folded and pressed then opened and sprayed adhesive, then painstakingly refolded be careful to get all the creases out. Why not fold it and stick all four sides? You can avoid the adhesive spray and I think it would stay together. If not you could always do a “x” stich in the center of each cross and when painted it would not show. It appears as though you have this on top of a carpet. Will you use any kind of carpet tape to hold it in place? I will be moving to FL in the not too distant future and I could see doing something creative like this on the part of the lanai that is under cover and has furniture. You could really make it your own vision instead of your typical outdoor rugs. I have used drop clothes for table clothes and have transferred farm animal pictures onto it, since I just love all the cows, chickens, roosters, lambs, pigs that are out there right now.

  32. I have broken the rules in several places in my home! My most recent was to paint over an existing pattern on an entry rug. Love it now!

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