Every winter your doormat takes a real beating and you have to trade it out for a new one in the spring. Fortunately, doormats are inexpensive. Floor rugs, on the other hand, can cost a pretty penny, which may explain why you don’t have any in your outdoor spaces. While a rug would make a wonderful addition to your patio or screened-in porch, you can’t afford to replace it like you do your doormat. You would have to select one in a neutral shade to complement any future changes in decor and you would have to take extra care of it to ensure its longevity. You don’t have the patience for either. Fortunately, there is a way to make less expensive rugs for your outdoor spaces from inexpensive canvas drop cloths.

To turn a canvas drop cloth into a rug, you will first need to purchase an appropriate sized cloth. You can purchase one the size you need or cut one down to size. In addition, you will need:

Plastic sheeting



Painter’s tape

Paint pans and liners

Rollers and paintbrushes

Porch or deck paint

Floor sealer

Before you get started, you will need to determine a design for your rug. Almost anything will work from simple stripes to bold polka dots to whimsical bursts and swirls. You can stencil the designs or draw them freehand.

When you are ready to apply the design onto your rug, you will first need to prep the worksite. Lay down some plastic sheeting, then iron the drop cloth if needed. Place the drop cloth onto the plastic sheeting, and using a pencil and level if needed, mark out your design. Stripes are easy to make with a level. Polka dots can be made by tracing around cans of varying sizes. For those who are not comfortable with freehand work, stencils are ideal. Whatever design you create, make sure you use painter’s tape to mask off any areas you do not want painted.

When you have prepped the design, you can start the painting. Rollers are easy to use. However, for a freehand design, you might just need several paintbrushes. When you have finished the painting, you will need to remove any tape remaining and give the paint ample time to dry.

Your drop cloth area rug will be exposed to the elements and undergo a lot of wear and tear. To ensure the paint stays intact, you will need to seal it. Once the paint has dried, apply a coat of sealer over it as recommended. Then give the sealer ample time to dry and cure before putting the rug into place. To ensure the rug does not slip, attach it to the surface with double-sided tape.

It’s easy to turn an inexpensive drop cloth into a beautiful outdoor rug. You can probably make several rugs for less than it would cost you to buy one ready-made rug. And when your homemade outdoor rugs take a beating and no longer look the way they should, you can use them once again as drop cloths.

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