Drop Cloth Zebra Rug

You want to know how I made the zebra rug?

Whats Ur Home Story: faux zebra hide rug

As promised here is the tutorial.

You’ll need:

  • A canvas drop cloth
  • Printed pics of zebra hides that you can find online
  • Pencil, scissors
  • Dark Brown or Black Acrylic paint
  • Fabric medium
  • Acrylic sealer (optional)
  • Brushes
  • Rug pad (optional)
  • Needle and thread (to finish off the edges)
  • Plastic drop cloth or something else to prevent the paint from seeping onto your floor/carpet. I used packing blankets that I had.

I used a 6 x 9 drop cloth from Home Depot. I have heard from other bloggers (who did drop cloth rug projects) that you cannot beat the Home Depot /Lowes quality. So try to stick with those brands. As I prefer the dark brown over a taupe look I used brown acrylic craft paint (Craft smart espresso) directly over the drop cloth. If you like the black and white look then you will have to first paint the drop cloth white and use black paint for the stripes.

how to make a drop cloth rug

Now for the process;

  • Fold the drop cloth on the vertical. Measure and cut the drop cloth to size. I wanted at least a 4 x6 rug so I cut off a 5x 8 section.
  • Draw the outline on the drop cloth using the zebra hide pics as a reference.

how to make a zebra hide rug

  • Leave an inch or two of trim allowance and cut out your shape.

faux zebra rug tutorial

  • Now using your printed image as a guideline draw the stripes with the pencil.

diy zebra rug tutorial

  • Here is a closer look.

how to make your own zebra hide rug

  • Hurray the toughest part of the project is over! Now the fun starts, painting. Mix your acrylic paint and fabric medium in a 2:1 ratio (more details in this post) and paint away. I tried using a foam brush but found that using a regular artist brush gave me more control. If you spill over the lines or drop some paint then you can adjust your stripes accordingly. You can also go back and cover any uneven spots. This is such a forgiving pattern.

diy zebra floor cloth

  • Here is another progress shot. Please ignor the mess around the rug. Just keeping it real, the kids were playing while I was slogging away. :)

drop cloth zebra rug

  • When you are done painting you’ll end up with this. By the way it took me may be 4hrs over a period of 2 weeks. I just worked on it when I had time.

drop-cloth rug

  • A closeup of the stripes as it dries;

zebra floor cloth

  • Once the paint is dry follow your fabric medium directions and heat set the paint.  If you are going to use the rug in a not so heavy traffic area or a room which does not get much kid abuse then I would recommend skipping the next step, sealing. Based on the fabric medium directions, the paint is washable at this stage. So any minor spills/stains might be ok. But I cannot guarantee that the paint will not fade with frequent washings if it is not sealed.
  • To seal, I used a a polycrylic water based sealer (Minwax clear satin finish). I did not use an oil based sealer because I’ve heard somewhere that oil based ‘things’ might increase the chance of a fire in the dryer. So, just want to be on the safer side. I applied a light coat with a foam brush. As soon as I started applying I noticed that the sealer dulled my paint color a little bit, which I didn’t like.  This was the reason for doing a light coat vs. a dense coat with a roller.

sealing a rug

  • Another issue with the sealer is that it gives an uneven shine to the rug in day light.  In hindsight maybe doing a thicker coat with a roller might have been a better idea. Test on an extra piece of painted drop cloth to see if it dulls the paint color before you try on the real thing. Let it dry overnight.
  • I sewed the edges by hand with the basic running stitch folding the seam at my outline.  When it came to the corners I just cut the seam in sections for a better finish.

drop cloth rug

  • Voila, she’s all done! In the end the rug measured 5 x 6.5 ft.
Whats Ur Home Story: how to make a zebra rug


Here is a close-up shot.

Whats Ur Home Story: DIY zebra rug, DIY Drop cloth Rug

Take away: You could add a rug pad if the rug is going to go over a hardwood floor. It has been working great in our carpeted office without the rug pad. If you want to attach a rug pad then I would glue it down to the backside with a fabric glue spray before you finish the edges. When you sew the edge you would be sewing through the rug pad too. This will ensure that the pad stays in place.

Even after cutting out a 5x 8 piece from the drop cloth I have enough fabric left over to make 2 throw pillows.

Source Details

Canvas Drop Cloth -$10.98 – Home Depot
Espresso Acrylic paint – $3 approx (I think it was $0.60 each, 5 bottles) – Micheals
Acrylic sealer – $8.98 – Home Depot
Fabric medium – Already had
Brushes – Already had

Total -$22.96

Isn’t that the best $23 I spent?

how to make a drop cloth zebra rug tutorial




  1. Amu says

    This is awesome. I am not so fond of the hide rugs but this one looks amazing. Thanks for posting the tutorial, I might try making one some day.


    • whatsurhomestory says

      Thanks Amu. I was also not into animal prints till last yr until my daughter who had come shopping with me as me to pick a zebra tank top (of course it looked really good). I was sold from that moment on.


    • whatsurhomestory says

      Thank you Jae. :) LOL! You could using a sewing machine. I didn’t want the stitch to be obvious that I way I went with hand sewing. It is nothing fancy just the plain running stitch. I have seen others suggest hot gluing but I’m not sure how that is gonna work if I have to put this in the dryer some day.


  2. says

    I adore this. I’ve been looking for images of painted drop cloth rugs because I really want to try it and this is by far my favorite. I wonder if I could pull off more of a cow hide pattern?

    • whatsurhomestory says

      Thank you Amy. I looove how it turned out. Hmm… a black and white cow hide might be easier to pull off. With the brown ones, might be difficult to pull off the varying shades of brown.


    • whatsurhomestory says

      Thanks so much for stopping by Brooke. It was a really fun project and was easier than I thought. Do share yours when it is done.


    • whatsurhomestory says

      Thanks a ton Leti! And thank God for the translate button! So in love with a lot of your projects. The jewelry tray is genius.


  3. Niffy says

    I was actually researching stenciled rugs when i came across yours…Planning to make one for my daughter’s room..:)

    • says


      It is holding up pretty well. It is in our office room. The only thing I would do differently is when sewing the edges, i would use iron on tape to secure any extra fabric to the underside of the rug.In my case with the constant traffic the extra fabric keeps unfurling from under the rug. I just iron it down once in 2 months or so. To clean, we just vacuum it. It is not in an area where there is a chance of a food spill, so not sure how it would fare under a dining table per se.

      Hope that helps. do let me know if you make one.