Home » EARTH DAY! You Can Accomplish This Before Your Effing Head Explodes: DIY Cheap “Zebra” Hide Rug

EARTH DAY! You Can Accomplish This Before Your Effing Head Explodes: DIY Cheap “Zebra” Hide Rug

Hope everyone had a happy weekend.  Especially glad to hear our friends in Boston are safe and are hopefully starting a much more normal week today.  

Friday while I was watching some of that craziness play out in the news, I made a zebra rug for under Mac’s table and chairs.  I’m tickled with the way it turned out and IT’S AN ANIMAL/EARTH FRIENDLY PROJECT so I thought I’d share it with you IN HONOR OF EARTH DAY.


If you recall, I’m attempting to make the entire first floor kid friendly without making the place look like a damned nursery school.  And last week, I decided since Mac’s table and chairs were occupying the spot we normally use for the high chair, it might be a good idea to slide his table and chairs in front of the sofa.  The table and chairs are covered with black chalkboard paint so they aren’t some garish plastic monstrosity.  They are way more kid-friendly than my antique coffee table (which has gone into hiding for the next decade).  The height of the table isn’t too bad if we need to use it as an actual coffee table in a pinch, and it allows an adult to sit comfortably on the sofa while Mac plays at his table.

What does Mac do at this table?  Everything.  And I’m quite hopeful later this summer when he’s a little older, that will include watercolor paints and other art projects.  This naturally led to concerns about the floor.  I don’t want it all minged up with glue and paint and clay.

So I thought it might be fun to make him a drop cloth that didn’t look hideous. . .

You can do it too – even if you don’t consider yourself “crafty.”  I SWEAR!!


1.  Lay out a length of laundered drop cloth on the floor.  You can get drop cloth at any store that sells painting supplies.  The drop cloth comes in various weights.  I used a heavy-duty cloth because that’s what I had on hand but you could use any weight.  I will say the heavier weight doesn’t seem to require ironing.  (BONUS!)

2.  Use a pencil or disappearing fabric marker to very lightly trace the outline of your “hide.”  It doesn’t have to look authentic.  I would suggest making the original outline larger than the finished rug by a few inches on all sides – just in case you want to trim more to refine the final outline.

3.  Use scissors to cut out the outline.  (I used pinking shears to cut down on the fraying).


4.  FRAYING IS AN ISSUE.  So you need to figure out how you will finish the edges of the drop cloth.  You might be able to use a product designed to stop fraying.  If you’re really handy, you could probably make or purchase some binding to sew around the edges.  I took a piece of muslin, traced the same outline, put both pieces “right sides together, and sewed them together around the edges, leaving a hole to pull the entire thing right-side out.  Then sewed the hole shut.  All the raw edges are hidden this way, and the “rug” has a nice backing to it.

5.  Once you have those initial steps completed, it’s time for the fun part:  painting the pattern.

6.  Again, you really can’t screw up an animal print pattern.  You could even get an older child to help you.  I pulled up a picture of a real zebra hide online and studied the stripe patterns.  Keeping the image handy for reference, I laid the drop cloth out on a large table.

7.  I used a heavy bodied black acrylic paint and watered it down just a little.  This keeps the paint from being too thick or too thin.


8.  I started painting my stripes in the dead center of the drop cloth and worked out from there heading towards the ‘bottom’ first and then finishing with he ‘top.’  The painting did take a little more time than I anticipated but you could certainly make fewer lines, make a smaller “rug,” or perhaps pick an animal pattern that is less precise – giraffe? leopard? if time is a factor for you.


9.  The paint shouldn’t leak through the drop cloth.  But you’ll want to check periodically just to make sure you’re not loading too much paint onto the cloth.  Don’t worry if the paint doesn’t fully cover in all places.  I think it looks more authentic in a less perfect state.

10.  Hang the drop cloth to allow the paint to fully dry and it’s ready to go.


11.  I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again.  I don’t typically use fabric paint.  Any acrylic paint that is not the “washable” kind should stick to the fabric perfectly well through multiple washings on “cold.”  I mean, when you get paint on your good clothes, you can never get it out right?  Or is that just me?

12.  COSTS?  I had all materials on hand so our cost was zero.  But I would estimate to make a “rug” about 6 foot long by about 4 foot wide you might need $10 to $20 worth of drop cloth (heavier weight costs more) and one big tube of heavy bodied acrylic paint – which might cost you $12 to $18.  You’ll also need a smaller sized paint brush and whatever supplies you choose to use to keep the edges from fraying.  You can probably make a small rug for as little as $15 and a large one for about $40.  Not too bad for something that looks neat and is very kid and pet friendly!


Go paint yourself err your kid a fancy splat mat!  I’m thinking about making a dog bed cover too!  

If you have questions or try the project, please be sure to comment or email.  Sharing is caring.  🙂



4 Responses to “EARTH DAY! You Can Accomplish This Before Your Effing Head Explodes: DIY Cheap “Zebra” Hide Rug”

  1. Meghan says:

    OH who doesn’t love ZEBRA!?

    P.S. I’ve nominated you for an award. xoxo

    Meghan recently posted…Liebster Blog Award #2My Profile

  2. I really, really love this! Now I’m inspired! I’ll just add it to my ever-growing “I’m going to make that one day” list. 🙂

    • admin says:

      I’m glad I inspired you Katy. I also have A HUGE list of “to dos” that never seems to get TO DONE. I will mention that after I posted this, I googled something like “DIY zebra rug” and there are TONS of similar tutorials – some of them even more involved and lots of variations on the project. (I NEVER have an original idea! GAH!) So if you need more inspiration, a Google search will get it for you. Good luck! Let me know if you try it! Have a great day.