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How to make oil cloth fabric

Updated April 17, 2017

Oil cloth fabric is a wonderful material for making anything that you would like or need to be waterproof, including raincoats, outdoor furniture coverings or bags. However, the beautiful, shiny texture of oil cloth fabric also makes it an interesting crafting fabric for indoor use. Although oil cloth fabric can be quite expensive to buy, you can make your own at home using simple materials available at hardware, furnishing or fabric shops.

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  1. Determine the size and shape you want your oil cloth fabric to be, and cut a piece of fabric that size. Iron the fabric flat.

  2. Cut a matching piece of contact paper, sized just slightly larger than the fabric -- about an extra 2.5 cm (1 inch) per side. Any overhanging contact paper can be trimmed later.

  3. Position the contact sheet over the fabric, and carefully peel away one corner of the contact paper's backing paper. Smooth the exposed contact paper onto the fabric while peeling the backing paper away. Take care to avoid wrinkling the contact paper.

  4. Trim the excess contact paper away from the edges of the fabric, so that the edge of the fabric is aligned with the edge of the contact paper.

  5. Place a clean tea towel over the contact paper. Set a iron to its cotton setting and gently iron the tea towel to melt the contact paper underneath. Keep the iron moving continuously to avoid burning the contact paper.

  6. Allow the fabric to cool before handling. If there is any separation between the contact paper and fabric after cooling, re-iron as directed above.

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Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Roll of transparent contact paper
  • Tea towel

About the Author

Fred Samsa has been writing articles related to the arts, entertainment and home improvement since 2003. His work has appeared in numerous museum publications, including program content for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and he was awarded a Presidential Fellowship in 2005. He holds a Master of Arts in art from Temple University and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Brown University.

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