Saturday, July 23, 2011

All Dropcloths Are Not Created Equal

Lately I’ve noticed a big difference in the fabric being used to make the fabric dropcloths that everyone loves. These are usually made of cotton and have finished hems. The larger ones will be seamed together at some point. I’ve found that by sticking to the 6 x 9 or smaller size I usually get one nice piece with no seams. These are sometimes referred to as “poor man’s linen”. I love them because they resemble an old vintage grain sack in texture. I always bring mine home, wash them, and toss in the dryer. This softens them up and then they have a nice, comfy feel. I use these to make pillows, slip covers and table runners.

Below I’ve listed some pictures and descriptions of my recent experiences purchasing drop cloths.

This was the only fabric dropcloth available at my local Home Depot this week. It is approximately 6 x 9 ft (the package states 6 x 9 and then states “actual dimensions 5 ft 9 in x 8 ft 9 in”). Since I’m using these for curtains, I haven’t laundered them. The color is a bit darker than the ones I’ve used for pillows. This is more of a flax color and you can see a very slight hint of other colors in the weave. It is also a blend of cotton, polyester and "other fibers". The weight of this fabric doesn’t seem to be quite as heavy/thick as the ones I normally use. Without washing these, it’s hard to compare exactly. I may be wrong, but I don’t think these are the same dropcloths Home Depot carried last time I looked. These were $10 each. There were other size available.

This is my most recently purchased dropcloth from Wal-Mart. I’ve purchased dropcloths from Wal-Mart before and was pleased with the texture and color. That is until I purchased this one. I knew as soon as I spotted it that something was different. Since it was shrink wrapped it was hard to know for sure, and the fabric content wasn’t listed on the packaging. For starters, this one had very fine orange lines running through it. Since I was purchasing this dropcloth to use for a tablecloth, and I needed it immediately, I went ahead and bought it just to save the trouble of going to Home Depot or Lowes. Oh yeah, and the walls in my kitchen and dining room are about this same color of orange. But that’s another story for another day. I laundered it as soon as I got home. This dropcloth obviously has some poly in it. It has a sheen to it and is not like the linen, feed sack texture of all the other dropcloths I’ve used. It most likely will retain its function as a tablecloth. By the way, if you have a long rectangle table, fabric dropcloths make wonderful tablecloths. I’ve used others, sans orange stripes, for all occasions. I love the versatility of them. At around $10, they’re less expensive than the regular fabric tablecloths I see in stores.

This is a Paint Essentials brand dropcloth I ordered through Amazon. These are a lighter color than most of the others I’ve found in stores. These are also made from a cotton duck canvas fabric. I usually order them in multiples or combined with something else in order to get free shipping. If you do the Swagbucks thing, these can be your best deal with less or no money out of pocket. Don’t let the less than perfect review on Amazon concern you. Turns out the people that bought and reviewed these were actually using them for dropcloths when painting! Go figure. Seems the paint will actually go through these and get on your floor or whatever you are covering and that made some people unhappy. As a note, if I am stenciling a design on these, or doing a citrasolv transfer, I do place a piece of cardboard or cereal box underneath it just in case the paint or ink bleeds through.

Last, but not least, is the dropcloth from Lowe’s. I don’t have one of these on hand at the moment, but I’ve used them before and was pleased with the texture and color. I got this picture from their website and the description states they are a “Super heavyweight tight cotton weave”. 
I’ve found that size for size, the prices on these are comparable. It’s the quality of the fabric that differs. Based on my last purchases from each of these stores, I most likely will not buy from Wal-Mart or Home Depot again. I like the whiter, tighter weave of the dropcloths from Amazon. It really just depends on what qualities you are looking for in a drop cloth. Oh, and by the way, we use plastic drop cloths when painting our furniture. We wouldn’t want any paint leaking through to the floor!


  1. Thank you for the great drop cloth review! I have always wondered what the
    differences in them ~

  2. That's some interesting info on Home Depot's drop cloths (and the others), Robin. I haven't bought any in a few months, but I've always like the quality of HD's. I hope they haven't changed suppliers because for the 8 oz. 6x9 ones I had been buys were great.

    P.S.--Love the new look of the blog!

  3. Thanks ladies! Erin, I was a bit surprised when I saw HD only had the one kind because I thought I had found other there before too. I need to get to a Lowe's soon just to make sure I can still find the good kind in case I don't have time to order.

  4. Erin,
    Thanks for the info, I've wondered about and if there was a difference between them. I always shop at Lowes but have looked at them at Sherwin Williams but have yet to purchase any.

  5. I'm getting read to make drop cloth curtains and I have a question. Do they make the curtain rods sag ?

    1. Hi! Mine didn't sag, but I used a smaller drop cloth. Mine were about the size of a table cloth.

  6. Thank you so much for this review! I'm making drop cloth curtains for our pop-up camper, and your review saves me SO much time and money. I really appreciate you putting this on here. I'm thinking I'm going to go with the Paint Essentials drop cloths from Amazon. Thanks again.

  7. Thank you for your input on this matter. I've used drop cloths from Harbor Freight for pillow backs and draperies. They pill badly right away, so I've been steering clear of them, but have had a specific request for a throw style slipcover for a sectional. I will be using these from Amazon.