Best Types Of Drop Cloths For Painting Projects

Drop cloths keep paint splatters off furnishings and floors. Don’t start a painting job without first protecting the items in your home or business. When you shop for drop cloths at Chicago Canvas & Supply, you benefit from a great range of fabrics and colors. Plus, we offer bulk pricing to help you save money. Here’s a closer look at what we offer.

Top Reasons to Consider Butyl Rubber Drop Cloths

Before you even start painting, are you going to be removing wallpaper, sanding putty, installing sheetrock, and using joint compound to create seamless corners? Butyl rubber drop cloths are ideal. They keep the dust and mess from getting all over your room. These drop cloths come in a variety of sizes:

  • 5 by 12 feet
  • 5 by 14 feet
  • 9 by 12 feet
  • 12 by 15 feet

Butyl drop cloths clean up with ease. Wipe the cloth with a damp rag or wash it in cold water and hang it outside to dry. That’s all it takes to return the drop cloth to its original state.

The butyl rubber drop cloths are slip-resistant, which makes them handy for placing under ladders and scaffolding. The gripping surface also helps avoid tracking. There are three layers of the rubber coating to make sure these drop cloths are durable and designed to last for years.

Top Reasons to Consider Canvas Drop Cloths

If you don’t need slip-resistant drop cloths, cotton canvas drop cloths are an affordable alternative. The heavy-duty fabric is machine washable for quick clean up after your painting job. They’re absorbent, so if you do spill, you don’t have to worry about the paint getting through to your flooring.

You have several options when selecting the right drop cloth for your needs. First, the drop cloths come in 8, 10, or 12-ounce fabric weights. You also have a fantastic range of sizes that include:

  • 4 by 12 feet
  • 4 by 15 feet
  • 4 by 20 feet
  • 5 by 15 feet
  • 5 by 20 feet
  • 9 by 12 feet
  • 12 by 15 feet
  • 14 by 16 feet

Canvas drop cloths are designed for both indoor and outdoor use. Use them outside to protect shrubs and gardens while painting a deck or house trim. Spread them over your patio while you paint a nearby fence. When you’re done, throw them into your washing machine and dryer.

If you like a splash of color, you can get 10-ounce color canvas drop cloths. The material is 100 percent cotton and absorbs spills to prevent tracking. They’re popular in art studios due to the range of more than 3 dozen colors and a wider selection of cut sizes.

  • 5 by 7 feet
  • 6 by 10 feet
  • 8 by 10 feet
  • 10 by 10 feet
  • 10 by 12 feet
  • 10 by 15 feet
  • 10 by 20 feet
  • 10 by 30 feet
  • 20 by 20 feet
  • 20 by 30 feet

Colors come in just as wide a range. There are multiple shades of green, many reds and pinks, and several blues, browns, and grays.

How Do You Pick Which is Best for Your Needs?

What do you need the drop cloth for? If you’re using it outside, a heavy rubber drop cloth may harm grass and flowers as the rubber heats up in the hot sun. The weight of the rubberized drop cloth can also harm some plants during long painting jobs. That’s why most people prefer cotton canvas drop cloths for outdoor painting jobs.

If you’re painting inside and worry about items like ladders sliding around while you’re many feet above the floor, non-slip drop cloths are safer. If you’re working with clay, stucco, or cement, you won’t want those materials in your drain pipes or washing machine. The ability to wipe up those messes from the butyl finish is a must if you’re doing that type of work before painting.

There’s one more thing to consider. The sizing is estimated. Hems and seams on the final drop cloth may reduce the final measurement by a few inches. For this reason, order a drop cloth that is slightly larger than the area you wish to protect. If your room is 10 feet by 12 feet, a tarp that is 12 feet by 15 feet would definitely cover the entire floor.

Receive free shipping in the contiguous U.S. when you order over $75 in drop cloths. Chicago Canvas & Supply has a large variety of materials, sizes, and weights to make it easy to find the best drop cloths for your needs. Do you have questions? We’re happy to answer them at your convenience through live chat or call us at 1-866-389-2218

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!

Canvas vs. Plastic Drop Cloths

Painters need a number of supplies in order to get the job done, and a high quality drop cloth is just as important to a painter as a paintbrush or can of paint. Drop cloths are placed over flooring and furniture and are designed to protect them from paint splashes and splatters. Drop cloths come in a number of different materials, but canvas and plastic are two of the most popular choices. What type of drop cloth will offer your valuables the most protection? Here’s what you need to know about canvas vs. plastic drop cloths:

Price

Drop cloth prices can vary depending on the size of the item, the quality of its construction, and the retailer. But in general, plastic drop cloths are less expensive than canvas drop cloths. In fact, canvas drop clothes are the most expensive of all drop cloths. It is tempting to purchase the drop cloth that costs the least simply because of its low price, but remember that price is just one of many factors you should consider before choosing a drop cloth.

The Weight of the Material

Plastic is a lightweight material, which makes it easier to throw over furniture. Since plastic is not heavy and bulky, it is the perfect material to use as a cover for odd-shaped furniture pieces. However, the lightweight nature of plastic also has its disadvantages. Professional painters know that when it comes to drop cloths, heavier fabrics are better because they are thicker than lightweight materials. Thick materials are more absorbent, so they absorb more paint and prevent it from soaking through to the furniture or flooring.

It can be hard to throw heavy canvas over a piece of furniture on your own, but this shouldn’t be the reason you decide against canvas. Ask a friend for help putting the drop cloths in position so you don’t feel the need to settle for a material that is easier to handle. Canvas also comes in a variety of different weights, so consider choosing a slightly lighter canvas if you’re concerned about an unmanageable weight.

Durability

Another important factor to consider is the durability of the drop cloth material. Professional painters think of canvas as an indestructible material–and for good reason. Plastic can tear easily, so it is not a good choice if you intend on covering sharp objects that could puncture the material. There’s no need to worry about puncture marks or tears in your canvas drop cloth, however. If you purchase a canvas drop cloth, it will last for years as long as it is stored and cleaned properly.

Slippery Surface

Since drop cloths are placed on the floor, it’s also important to consider the slipperiness of the drop cloth material’s surface. Most canvas drop cloths are designed with a rubberized butyl backing, which will grab onto the furniture or flooring and hold the drop cloth in place. This backing ensures that a canvas drop cloth will not slip and slide under your feet as you walk across it.

Plastic drop cloths are not designed with this feature, so they may not stay in place. This is a major problem when painting outside since a strong gust of wind could send your plastic drop cloth flying across the lawn. Both inside and outside, the lack of grip on a plastic drop cloth creates a dangerous safety hazard. If you cover your flooring with a plastic drop cloth, it’s important to wear slip resistant shoes and watch your step carefully. You should also consider taping the plastic drop cloth down or using weights on the edges of the drop cloth to hold it firmly in place.

Absorbency

As previously mentioned, canvas is a thick material that can absorb a great deal of paint. Plastic, on the other hand, is impermeable, but not absorbent. If paint is spilled on a plastic drop cloth, the paint will run down the length of the drop cloth instead of absorbing into the material. It will not seep through the plastic and ruin your flooring or furniture, but running paint could lead to a huge mess if every inch of your furniture and flooring is not covered with a drop cloth.

Reusability

Professional painters tend to gravitate towards canvas drop cloths because they are reusable. A canvas drop cloth can be washed and used an infinite number of times. But, plastic drop cloths are typically single-use products. It’s not logical for a professional painter to choose a plastic drop cloth since they paint so often, but this is a practical choice for homeowners who only need a drop cloth for a single painting project.

Impact on the Environment

Eco-conscious consumers may want to consider the impact that each drop cloth material has on the environment. Canvas drop cloths are durable enough to use over and over again, so you won’t produce as much waste as you would if you were to purchase a new plastic drop cloth for every paint project. Canvas is also made out of cotton, so it is a recyclable material that is accepted at nearly every recycling facility. Cotton is biodegradable, so it will break down over time even if the drop cloth ends up in a landfill. However, the same cannot be said for plastic. If choosing an environmentally-friendly drop cloth is important to you, it’s best to go with canvas instead of plastic.

By now, you should have a general idea of the differences between canvas and plastic drop cloths. For more information, contact Chicago Canvas & Supply. We are your leading source for textiles, theatre fabrics, tarps, drop cloths, and more. To ask us questions or request free material samples, contact us today by calling 1-866-389-2218 or emailing email@chicagocanvas.com.

Drop Cloth Projects Beyond Painting

One of the products our customers love to depend on are our drop cloths. Whether plastic, rubber or canvas, drop cloths or drop sheets are generally used to protect surfaces during projects. Particularly, painting projects–which is why you might have heard the term “painters drop cloth”.

Most drop cloths are washable and reusable, so there’s a lot you can get out of them. The possibilities for drop cloth projects extend as far as your imagination can go. It’s time to dust off your old drop cloths and see what else you can be using it for!

Drop Cloth Uses for When You’re Not Painting

Since drop cloths are used to protect surfaces, you can use them all the time just for that.

  • Keep unused furniture looking new by protecting them from dust and sunlight.
  • Prevent scratches on your floor during a renovation, while moving, or during parties.
  • Keep your car seats and other furniture clean from house pets.
  • Use for temporary yard work when you don’t have a tarp around. For example, gardening, or raking leaves. (It’s important to note that if you need anything water-resistant, tear- or wind-resistant, do not use drop cloths. They won’t stand up to regular wear and tear like a tarp would).

These are just some of the uses we can think of. What else can you think of? Drop (no pun intended) them in the comments below.

Repurposing Drop Cloths

Because of the durable nature of the canvas drop cloths, they can be used beyond the standard uses. Drop cloths can be repurposed or originally fashioned for a lot of cool projects. For example:

  • Drop cloth curtains – Whether using colored or natural canvas, drop cloth curtains and window treatments are a fun and useful DIY, and a great way to save money on costly décor. Drop cloths are also good to use as divider curtains, whether temporary or long-term.

 

  • Linens – Drop cloths are meant to protect against spills, so why not? You can make table cloths, napkins, bibs, floor cloths and rugs, bed linens and more. Decorate with fabric painting, dye your fabric, and/or sew in some more details.

 

  • Arts and crafts – If you have some extra canvas drop cloths lying around, why not use them to fashion some reusable bags, or create a mural or decorative tapestry for your home? What about creating something fun, like a fort or teepee for kids’ rooms? We’ve even heard of people using a drop cloth as a movie screen projector!If you’re not the creative type, a big piece of canvas can at least keep the kids occupied for a while. This is a good option for old and used up drop cloths you don’t want to keep anymore.

 

  • Upholstery and furniture coverings: The neutral color makes for a clean look. Ideal for farmhouse/rustic and minimalist décor. We talked about this in another topi, so if you’d like to learn more about this, check out our post: Drop Cloth Upholstery 101.
CCS Customer Photo;  Natural Dropcloth  DIY Curtains
CCS Customer Photo; Natural Dropcloth DIY Curtains
Drop Cloth Projects
Chicago Canvas Customer photo: Colored Canvas Dropcloth Couch Cover
CCS Customer Photo; SD Collective: Canvas Drop Cloth DJ Tent
CCS Customer Photo; SD Collective: Canvas Drop Cloth DJ Tent
CCS Customer Photo; Rubber Dropcloth being used for a group activity.
CCS Customer Photo; Rubber Dropcloth being used for a group activity.

If you have a drop cloth project you’d like to share, we want to see it! Leave a comment below, email us or leave a comment on Facebook. 😊

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GG Knows – A Dictionary of Textile Terms

Meet GG, one of the beloved founders of Chicago Canvas & Supply. Although she’s no longer with us, her vast knowledge of industry terminology lives on in this textile dictionary! Each month, we’ll pull from GG’s personal collection of terms—don’t miss out by subscribing to our blog over on the right-hand side of this webpage.

Ready to learn something new? Let’s get started!
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Drop Cloth Upholstery 101

Drop cloth is a versatile fabric that can be used for countless home and DIY projects. But did you know that painter’s drop cloth is also an ideal fabric for upholstery? We’ll show you why drop cloth upholstery has been so popular over the past few years, plus offer a few ways to upholster your furniture at home.

Why Use Drop Cloth for Upholstery?

So, with all the fabric choices out there, why use a drop cloth for your upholstery project? There are a ton of reasons why drop cloth is a great fabric, but here are just a few:

  • Very affordable
  • Durable cotton material
  • Good for beginners and for practice
  • Fabric comes with selvage edge (saving time on hemming)
  • Neutral color will fit many styles of room décor
  • Fabric can be painted on or dyed to desired shade
DIY Drop Cloth Upholstery - Customer Photo
Customer photo via Sandy Welsh

Convinced? Great! If you’re ready to purchase quality fabric for drop cloth upholstery, we recommend our 8-oz. cotton canvas drop cloths.

How to Prepare Drop Cloth for Upholstery

You can prepare your drop cloth for upholstery in 3 steps:

1. Soak fabric in a mixture of bleach + hot water + hydrogen peroxide for a few hours.
The hydrogen peroxide helps neutralize the bleach so it doesn’t ruin the fabric. Thecruxdesign.com recommends a 1:10 hydrogen peroxide and water ratio. About 2 cups of bleach should do it.

2. Wash in washer with hot water + laundry detergent, then dry.
Washing with laundry detergent helps soften the fabric. Plus, because canvas drop cloths are 100% cotton, you need to wash/dry to preshrink the material prior to cutting.

3. Iron the fabric.
This prevents wrinkling and helps for a neat-and-tidy end result.

 

DIY Drop Cloth Upholstery

There are several different methods of using drop cloth to “make over” furniture. You could either upholster your furniture or make a slipcover for it.

Tools to Upholster Furniture

Here’s what you’ll need for your drop cloth upholstery project (via HH&TW blog):

  • 8 oz. canvas drop cloth
  • Cardboard
  • Double-sided tape
  • Hot glue gun
  • Pliers
  • Staple gun with staples
  • Scissors
  • Screwdriver (flathead)
  • Upholstery tacks
  • Upholstery needles and thread
Chicago Canvas Drop Cloth Upholstery
Chicago Canvas Drop Cloths

Let us know how your projects go in the comments below. Have tips on drop cloth upholstery, or your own tried-and-true tutorial you’d like to share? We’d love to know! Email us your tutorials for a chance to be featured on our blog: email@chicagocanvas.com

Happy DIY!

How to Evaluate Drop Cloth Quality

Finally giving up on old sheets and newspapers for protecting surfaces while painting?

Whether you are a professional contractor or a weekend warrior, choosing the correct canvas drop cloth quality can make the difference between success and failure. Most canvas drop cloths are fabricated from Cotton Duckcloth. This has nothing to do with a duck or animal skins.  Duck refers to an even flat weave type of canvas.
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