10 Tips For Using Drop Cloths While Painting

Using drop cloths for painting is a seamless way to cover up furniture and belongings that you do not want to be ruined or contaminated with paint or any products you are using for your project. Drop cloths come in all kinds of sizes, patterns even, quality, and price ranges. You can purchase them in bulk, as well, which can be more cost effective, of course.

There a few different kinds of drop cloths, but natural cotton, canvas, butyl (rubber coated) and plastic and paper drop cloths are common. In general, Canvas drop cloths are reliably durable, reusable, and are especially great because they can also be used outdoors. Canvas is probably the most common choice of drop cloth for professional painters. Fortunately, canvas can be washed and reused. Additionally, canvas cloths may be made from recycled fabrics which makes them an environmentally friendly choice.

Butyl drop cloths are another option that are rubber coated and are slip resistant, so this is a nice added bonus! Butyl drop cloths are also helpful for covering and keeping bushes protected outdoors.

Plastic drop cloths are a more economical option, and plastic is very light; it can protect against dust, wind and dirt too. It’s true that this is the most cost-effective option, but some types of plastic drop cloths are for one time uses only. Remember, if you do decide to purchase a reusable drop cloth, that it’s also an investment in them since they are something you can use time and time again.

If a painting job is on the horizon for you, use these ten tips to reduce your stress while completing the project! If you keep these things in mind, you can go about the job with less worry about something getting damaged along the way. After all, you are aiming for a new look, (or to maintain your current one) and the last thing you want is any of your valuable, personal belongings being affected.

  1. When ordering your drop cloth, check that the size of the drop cloth is appropriate for your needs. Drop cloths are often sold and come in their cut size, meaning that any hem or seam should be accounted for when considering the size you need. For example, if a piece of fabric is 6’ by 7’ to begin with, once it is sewn, it may be slightly less, say 5’5” by 6’7”. So if you ordered a 6’ by 7’ drop cloth and that is it’s cut size, it
  2. When using a drop cloth, make sure you place the same side face down on the furniture each time so you aren’t getting any paint or particles on the furniture itself.
  3. It will probably be best to find a drop cloth that is larger than the size of the furniture or piece so the piece can be fully covered with ease. This can give you a peace of mind knowing that the full piece is protected.
  4. If you have a longer term project, it could be a good idea to get a colored drop cloth that matches its surrounding environment — or quite frankly is something you want to look at for an extended period of time!
  5. Canvas drop cloths are a great option if there is likely to be more mess, since they are durable and tightly woven. (If you want to preserve greater storage space, though, canvas drop cloths are not the best option for you).
  6. Plastic drop cloths are an excellent choice for covering up very large pieces of furniture, kitchen cabinets and windows since it is lightweight. Keep in mind that it is not as absorbent as canvas, for example.
  7. Before you are ready to use a drop cloth, make sure that the space you are covering has been cleaned first. This way, you won’t trap any excess dirt underneath — this may be especially helpful for a long term project.
  8. Tape (masking tape is a good option) the bottom, sides, or loose pieces of the drop cloth onto the wall or the piece of furniture it is covering. You do want to consider this based on each piece, though. You might not want to tape a piece of plastic drop cloth to a kitchen cabinet, but rather to the wall or a piece of furniture near it, so if there is spillage, it can run off, instead of onto the cabinet. Another way taping can be used is if you have a piece of furniture near the wall (bulky or light). If a couch is covered with a drop cloth, and you are painting the walls in that room, you can tape the lower part of the drop cloth (near the floor) to the wall so anything coming from above doesn’t hit the floor.
  9. If you have a small project and do not require a super sturdy option, you can always use paper to cover something. Paper is more slip resistant that plastic, for example, but do keep in mind that it is more likely to rip! As such, paper is not a good alternative for any serious or laborious painting project.
  10. Once you have finished your project, allow any paint on the drop cloths to dry completely. If you’re using Canvas or plastic drop cloths, use cold water to wash, and then fold and store your cloths for the next use!

Hopefully these tips can provide as useful guidelines for you as you tackle your next painting project. While the tips shared today were focused on helping you with drop cloths for painting projects, it never hurts to remember to dress for the occasion. Whether you are completing the project on your own, or have hired someone to do it, don’t forget to not wear any valuable, or well liked clothes in painting zones; and good luck!

Paracords vs. Tactical Ropes vs. Braided Utility Ropes

Ropes are used in countless different ways. Some people use ropes to tie down a tarp when camping or to provide support when climbing, whereas others use ropes in craft projects or as bracelets or belts. If you plan on using a rope for your next outdoor adventure or art project, it’s important to learn about the different types of rope that are available so you can choose the right one for the job.

The three most common types of rope are paracords, tactical ropes, and braided utility ropes. Each of these ropes is known as a general utility rope, meaning it has a number of different uses. But, this does not mean that each of these ropes is the same. Here’s how they compare:


Chicago Canvas’s paracord is a kernmantle nylon rope, which means its interior core is protected by a tough, woven outer sheath. This layered design makes paracord durable and capable of carrying a significant amount of weight. Tactical cord has a similar layered nylon structure, however it has a four-strand interior core, whereas paracord has a seven-strand interior core. Braided utility ropes, however, are not made out of nylon, but rather multifilament polypropylene.

Break Strength

Break strength is a term used to describe the amount of weight that the rope can safely support before it breaks. It’s important to research each type of rope’s break strength before deciding which one is right for you—especially if you plan on climbing or camping with it.

All three of these ropes are capable of safely holding hundreds of pounds of weight. The tactical rope has a break strength of 275 pounds, which is impressive, but not when compared to the other options. Braided utility rope is capable of supporting up to 300 lbs. of weight, but the paracord’s unique layered design makes it the strongest of them all. This rope can safely support up to 550 pounds of weight without breaking. If you are in need of rope for climbing or camping, it’s best to choose paracord since it can support the most weight.

Environmental Elements

Since many people use ropes outdoors, it’s important to know how each rope will hold up when exposed to environmental elements. Fortunately, each of these types is incredibly resistant to harsh environmental elements. Sunlight, rain, wind, and other environmental elements will not damage paracords, tactical ropes, and braided utility ropes. All three of these ropes are also mold and mildew resistant, so you will not have to worry about fungi growth even if the ropes are left in moist environments.


Another factor to consider is the price of each rope. The price of each rope can vary depending on a number of factors, including the length, color, vendor, and availability. But in general, braided utility rope is the cheapest per foot. Tactical rope is not far behind braided utility rope in price, but paracord is the most expensive of the three.

Don’t make this decision based on price alone. Keep in mind that price is only one of the factors you should consider when deciding on a rope. Many people are willing to pay the price for paracord because of the benefits that it offers.


The color of the rope may not be important to someone who plans on using it to climb or camp, but it is important to those who want to incorporate a rope into their next arts and crafts project. Braided utility rope comes in two different colors: black and white. Paracord and tactical utility rope are both available in a wide range of colors, air force gold, neon green, and every other color in between. Some paracords and tactical ropes are sold in packs that contain ropes in several different colors. If you are interested in a bright or unusual colored rope, it’s best to choose either paracord or tactical utility rope.


It’s hard to tie knots with thick ropes, but thin ropes are not nearly as strong or durable. For this reason, it’s wise to consider the thickness of each rope before making a final selection. Paracord is about 3/16 of an inch in diameter, which makes it thick enough to securely hold up to 550 pounds without breaking. However, the size may make it more difficult to tie tight knots with this rope. Tactical rope is smaller than paracord, measuring in at about 3/32 of an inch in diameter. This makes tactical rope ideal for tying knots or making lanyards or survival bracelets.


The weight of the rope is another factor to consider when narrowing down your rope options. None of the ropes are necessarily heavy, however braided utility ropes are known for being especially lightweight. In fact, the multifilament polypropylene material that is used to create braided utility ropes is so lightweight that it can even float on water. If you are looking for the lightest rope possible, the braided utility rope is the best option for you. However, if weight is not a priority, any of these three ropes should work well.


Fortunately, all three types of ropes are widely available at most craft and outdoor stores. You should not have to search high and low in order to find the rope you need for your next outdoor adventure or crafts project.

If you’re interested in purchasing a paracord, tactical rope, or braided utility rope, contact Chicago Canvas & Supply for more information. We are your leading source for ropes, textiles, theatre fabrics, tarps, drop cloths, and more. Feel free to contact us to request a free sample of our high-quality products. To place a request for samples, contact us today by calling 1-866-389-2218 or emailing email@chicagocanvas.com.

How Does Rip Stop Nylon Work?

Rip stop nylon is not a household name like cotton or silk, but it is a fabric that is commonly used in the entertainment industry. As its name suggests, rip stop nylon is a type of fabric that is incredibly resistant to rips and tears. In fact, rip style nylon is designed to prevent small rips and tears from spreading and completely destroying the entire piece of fabric. Because of its durability, rip stop nylon is often used to create tents, sails, sleeping bags, and even military parachutes. But, this fabric is also ideal for set designers and photographers that need a long lasting stage backdrop or banner.

How Rip Stop Nylon is Made

To understand how rip stop nylon works, it’s important to learn the history of nylon itself. Throughout history, people have turned to nylon when they are in need of a durable fabric. Nylon is a synthetic material that was first used to create toothbrush bristles in the late 1930s. The interest in this material began to grow once it was used to create women’s pantyhose, which are often referred to as nylons. But, the demand reached its peak in World War II, when nearly all of the nylon produced in the U.S. was used to create parachutes and other gear for the military. It was during this time that rip stop nylon was invented. The companies that were manufacturing parachutes for military members were looking for another fabric that could replace the use of silk in their products. They wanted a fabric that was just as lightweight as silk, but much more durable. The result was rip stop nylon, which is now widely used to create countless products for consumers.

Rip stop nylon is a lightweight material that consists entirely of nylon fabric. But, rip stop nylon is not standard nylon. Rip stop nylon is created by weaving nylon threads through a piece of fabric (typically cotton, polyester, or nylon) that serves as the base material. The nylon threads create an interlocking pattern that makes the material far more durable and resistant to rips and tears. If part of the fabric does happen to rip, the interlocked threading will stop the rip in its tracks and prevent it from spreading.

How to Spot Rip Stop Nylon

It’s possible that there are products made out of rip stop nylon in your home or garage at this very moment. Many common household items are made out of rip stop nylon, including equipment or furniture covers, tarps, kites, sleeping bags, camping equipment, and flags. It’s easy to spot rip stop nylon–that is, as long as you know what to look for.

The main difference between standard nylon and rip stop nylon is the interlocked threading that increases the durability of the fabric. The interlocked pattern is not visible from a distance, but if you get close to the fabric, you should spot the nylon threads weaving in and out of the base material. The interlocked pattern typically adds a three-dimensional texture to the fabric that is hard to miss. If you see or feel this interlocked pattern, this indicates that it is a rip stop nylon instead of standard nylon material.

Other Features of Rip Stop Nylon

A high resistance to rips is not the only benefit that rip stop nylon offers. Rip stop nylon is also fire retardant, which makes it the perfect backdrop for photo shoots and plays. This fabric is available in a wide variety of colors as well, so you should not have any trouble finding the perfect shade to complement your set. Black or white rip stop nylon is ideal for photographers or set  managers that want a subtle, solid backdrop that will not distract the audience. However, there are also bright and bold colors available, including teal, royal blue, yellow, orange, and silver.

Even though this fabric is strong, it is also surprisingly light. Set managers and photographers love how easy it is to set up a rip stop nylon backdrop. There’s no need to call for backup or try to find an extra set of hands–it’s so lightweight, it can easily be handled by one person.

The fabric is available in several different thicknesses. The thinnest option is somewhat sheer and fairly breathable, which makes it ideal for clothing and athletic uniforms. Thin rip stop nylon is also softer to the touch with more flexibility, whereas thicker rip stop nylon fabric is more rigid and coarse. Although thin fabric is ideal for clothing, it is best to use a thicker rip stop nylon as a photo shoot or stage backdrop.

Some varieties of rip stop nylon are waterproof, too. If you are planning on using the fabric outdoors, it’s best to look for one that is waterproof so it is not damaged if it happens to rain.

Rip stop nylon is also affordable–especially when compared to other textiles and fabrics that are used as backdrops. This material is priced by the yard, so you never have to pay for fabric that you won’t use. Don’t let the low price fool you–this is not a one-time use fabric. This fabric is durable enough for repeated use as long as it is stored properly between uses.

There are countless benefits to using rip stop nylon as a backdrop for your next photo shoot or play. If you’re interested in purchasing high quality rip stop nylon, contact Chicago Canvas & Supply now. We are your leading source for textiles, theatre fabrics, tarps, drop cloths, backdrops, and more. To place a request for free material samples or to learn more about our many products, contact us today by calling 1-866-389-2218 or emailing email@chicagocanvas.com.

FR vs. IFR for Stage Curtain Fabric

What Is The Difference Between Flame Retardant And Inherently Flame Retardant Theatre Fabric?

Fabrics are an important element in theatre and arts. However, determining the proper type of fabric can sometimes be challenging, especially when it comes to differentiating between Flame Retardant and Inherently Flame Retardant.  While they only differ by a few letters, there is a definite difference between the two.

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