How to Paint a Drop Cloth

Written by monica patrick
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How to Paint a Drop Cloth
Single and multicoloured dust sheets make good photography backdrops. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

The traditional use for dust sheets is to protect furniture and floors during a paint job, but they make a good paint medium too. Hang painted dust sheets as murals, or use them as photography and theatre backdrops. Made from sturdy canvas, a dust sheet will absorb liquid paints well to create the illusion of a pastoral scene, a night sky or a fantasy land.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Broom
  • Clothesline
  • Painter's tape
  • Pencil
  • Projector
  • Foam cup
  • Sponge brushes
  • Craft paint
  • Foam plate
  • Cotton cloth
  • Measuring tape
  • Hot glue
  • Wooden dowel

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  1. 1

    Sweep or clean the floor you will be working on. The area should be large enough to accommodate the dust sheet size. Pick an area that does not have a lot of foot traffic. If spray painting your cloth, hang it on a clothesline outdoors.

  2. 2

    Tape down the edges of the dust sheet with painter's tape. This tape removes easily and does not leave glue residue behind. Taping down the cloth will keep it from moving when you paint it.

  3. 3

    Draw the image on your dust sheet using a pencil. For complicated drawings, use a projector. Trace the projector image on to the dust sheet. Pin up the dust sheet on a large flat wall, then focus the lens of the projector on the cloth. Adjust the projector's magnification to make the image larger or smaller.

  4. 4

    Pour craft paint into a large foam cup. Dip your dampened sponge brush in the paint. Paint the images, changing the paint colours and sponge brushes, as you need to.

  5. 5

    Add some paint to a foam plate. Wad up a cotton paint cloth in your hand. Dip the wad into the paint. Press the cloth, in its wadded shape, onto the dust sheet. This method is good for creating a sky or interesting textured looks like marble.

  6. 6

    Allow the paint to dry overnight. Remove the painter's tape.

  7. 7

    Measure the top edge of the dust sheet and cut a wooden dowel to equal length. Hot glue the top of the cloth to the top of the wooden dowel. The wooden dowel should be on the underside of the fabric. Press down the material gently to adhere the dust sheet to the rod smoothly.

Tips and warnings

  • Store your painted cloth on a large wooden dowel or shower curtain rod.
  • Do not wash or dry a painted dust sheet. This may wash away or wrinkle the image.

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