How to Dye Canvas Drop Cloth

Today, we’re sharing how to dye canvas drop cloth! 

A few years ago, we dyed a large canvas drop cloth to use as a base for the stenciled curtains in our dining room. Those curtains have been one of our favorite DIYs.  It seemed like we were changing up the curtains in that room every few months.

After we learned to dye canvas drop cloth and stencil drop cloth curtains, we realized they were so neutral, they could be used in almost any room in the house! 

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Decorating with Canvas Drop Cloth Curtains

We’ve been slowly decorating room by room, so that our home feels more settled. Part of that process is deciding what kind of window treatments, pillows and slipcovers we want to use in each space.

After we replaced the curtains in the master bedroom for the ORC: Master Bedroom Makeover Reveal, it left us with several canvas drop cloth panels. I knew immediately I wanted to try to dye those curtain panels to match the set of curtains we had created for the dining room too.

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We love the look of washed linen for pillows and blankets.  But sometimes it’s hard to justify the expense given we have mischievous pets, visiting littles and our pillows almost always wind up on the living room floor.  Especially, after a movie marathon.

Thankfully none of that really matters because this drop cloth fabric has the look of washed linen with the durability of canvas. I mean, that’s exciting right?

Let me show you how we dyed our canvas drop cloths to get the look of washed linen….

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Prepping Your Drop Cloth

The drop cloths I’m using in this post can be found at your local home improvement store. I made sure to wash and dry the drop cloths prior to dyeing them.

There are many different dye kits you can use, but  I used Rit Dye in Pearl Gray for this project.  It’s the same color we used for the stenciled curtains in the dining room.

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Review Package Instructions Prior to Beginning

Rit Dye will usually have detailed instructions on the back and inside of the package. So, make sure you read the directions well.

There are several methods you can use (on the stove, washing machine, etc.) to dye fabric.

I decided to dye my drop cloth in an old pea shelling pan which is what I’m sharing with you below. Make sure you start with a clean container that is deep enough to cover the amount of fabric you want to dye.

You also need to make sure you’ve completely covered and protected any areas that may get damaged by dye color with thick heavy tarps.  We’re completing this project outside.

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How to Dye Canvas Drop Cloth Instructions

Using caution and care as water will be hot, place hot water into the container.

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Next dissolve dye color pearls

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and pour fully dissolved dye into container.

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Stir until water and dye are combined.

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The amount of salt you will add to the dye bath will depend on the amount of dye, water and fabric you’re using.

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Make sure the salt fully dissolves in the dye bath.

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Be sure you’re wearing gloves then using caution and care, rinse canvas drop cloth with water

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before submerging the drop cloth into the dye bath. Allow fabric to soak until you’ve achieved desired color.

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We let our drop cloth sit for about an hour stirring and repositioning the fabric every 15 mins.

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Once you have the color you want you need to rinse the fabric until the water runs clean.

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After you’ve done this step you’ll need to wash the fabric with a mild laundry detergent and allow the fabric to dry completely. Keep in mind, the more you wash and dry the canvas drop cloth, the more the dye will fade from the fabric. 

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That said, you can make a throw for the couch, pillow covers, napkins, curtains, a table runner.  Honestly, there are so many great options.

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What I like about dyeing canvas drop cloths is you can make them as dark or as light as you want depending on how long you leave the fabric in the dye bath.

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They also have a nubby texture which makes them feel vintage yet totally durable. You can read about how we made a stenciled pillow for the breakfast nook here. 

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You can also see how we used a dyed canvas drop cloth for the bench in the entry makeover here. It really helped us to create a French Country feel.  

Let us know if you decide to dye a canvas drop cloth! Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,


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  1. Hey CoCo – this is a fantastic idea! Drop cloths are so much more affordable than yards of fabric. With the dye your color choices are pretty limitless too! Thanks so much for sharing your pan method – way better than using the washing machine!

    1. I appreciate it ladies, thanks so much! Let me know if you guys dye anything, I love to see all of your projects. Hugs, CoCo

    1. This would be a great project for bedding, Mary Beth! I can’t wait to see what you put together. Hugs, CoCo

  2. I’m concerned about using a big enough container to do this. Was thinking I’d use the bathtub. Would it dye the tub? Is there a guideline for using the dimensions of the cloth to decide what size (volume) of pan or storage tub to use?

    1. Cheri, I don’t think I would try this in the tub as it will more than likely stain it. On bigger pieces of fabric I’ve used a large storage tub and kept stirring the fabric every 10-15 minutes to make sure all the fabric was covered and dyed evenly. I would check out the Rit website too. It’s called Rit Studio and they have a lot of great information on there. Hope this helps, CoCo

  3. Sue Raddatz says:

    I simply adore your blog! Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

    1. Such a sweet thing to say, Sue, thank you so much! Hope your day has been a great one, CoCo

  4. carla Raney raney says:

    Do you do all the panels for curtains at one time so they turn out the same color? That seems like it would need to be a huge container. I need 8 panels. Which brand drop cloths did you use. I keep reading most won’t bleach any longer since they are not 100% cotton anymore. Is this also true for dying them. I love the gray ones so much!

    1. So glad you like these, Carla! I was able to dye one drop cloth sheet at a time and you’re right it does take a large container. The drop cloths I used were from our local home improvement store but I’m sure they sell them on Amazon or at Walmart too. The ones we bought were considered heavy-weight drop cloths so they were pretty thick. I haven’t tried to bleach drop cloths in a while so I’ll definitely look into how they hold up over time. Our gray dyed drop cloth is holding up well but has faded over time because we’ve washed it a good bit. Rit makes a ColorStay Dye Fixative that is supposed to help with faded but I haven’t tried it yet. Dropcloths are super easy to use and they can be used in so many different and budget-friendly ways. Can’t wait to hear how your projects come together, CoCo

    2. Sacha Chevalier says:

      I just wanted to mention that I dyed some drop cloths with RIT dye about a year ago, and they have held up really well, even with regular washings. I used a dark blue mixed with gray and I dyed mine in the washing machine. I didn’t worry about stirring them too often because I like when the dye comes out a little uneven. I’ve used the fabric for a lot of things, but my favorite was when we covered our porch furniture with them because after 3 months in the sun they faded into a beautiful pattern I couldn’t have replicated if I tried.

      1. That sounds beautiful, Sacha! I’m so excited you’ve had success dyeing drop cloths and I appreciate you weighing in to let us know how they’ve held up for you as well. I swear there is nothing more magical than the way the sun fades fabric. Hope your week is a fun one, CoCo

  5. dolores conrad says:

    Can you tell me if you used 100% cotton drop cloths or polyester?

    1. I no longer have the drop cloth packaging I used for this post, Dolores, but we get our drop cloths from the hardware store. According to their website, the drop cloth is made from “pliable cotton construction.” It does not mention a polyester blend but it doesn’t mention it is 100% cotton either. Hope you have the best day, CoCo

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