Sign up for my design email and enter for a canvas rug giveaway!

the right canvas for your canvas rug

Raw Canvas rug material
canvas floor cloth
100% Cotton Canvas

So you’re ready to make a canvas floor cloth and need to buy canvas. 

A canvas floor cloth needs a good canvas. When you purchase canvas be sure it is 100% cotton. Cotton canvas may also be called numbered duck. Canvas actually has a closer weave than cotton duck but either works well for canvas floor cloths.

What are the numbers and what do they mean?

Numbered duck has to do with the weight of the canvas. The higher the number the lower the weight.

For a small canvas floor cloth that measures less than 3 feet by 4 feet #10 and #8 work best. If you can’t find those weights #12 can work.

For larger pieces, the best to use is #8, #6, and #4. These weights will provide long use and less wear and tear. They will also lay flat without using putty to tack it down as it is very heavy.

We’ll talk about where to get this canvas in a minute.

So you’ve found a #4 canvas and wonder will my sewing machine work? If your machine can sew through a few layers of denim you can sew this canvas. Use a heavy needle. You should buy a small piece first to check it before buying a lot of material for a large rug to try out your machine.

canvas floor cloth

For lighter weights, a home machine should be no problem.

I live in Costa Rica and have one option for heavy cotton canvas. After weighing I’ve figured that is a #11 which isn’t even made anymore in the US. I use this for all sizes of rugs. 

Canvas is very delicate.

Yes, delicate! It wrinkles easily and once you have wrinkles they will not come out! So buy your canvas on a roll! Always ask for it to be rolled and never folded. If you purchase online make sure to have it shipped rolled!

Tubes will be your best friend when you buy the canvas, preshrink, iron, paint, varnish, and lay your canvas floor cloth down on the floor.

canvas floor cloth
Preshrinking cotton canvas

Depending on what the width is of the canvas you find be sure you buy at least 6” more in all directions, length and width, to allow for shrinkage. For larger pieces, you’ll want 12” more in all directions.

You can get primed canvas at the art store.

This is a thin canvas with a gesso primer. It’s not really suitable to make a canvas floor cloth out of but you can practice sewing and painting this canvas. Try different painting techniques and your colors and design. It also saves time on the priming of the raw canvas, preshrinking and laying down the base coats.

To search for cotton canvas look for a company that makes awnings or canvas bags. Sailmakers also use canvas but make sure it’s cotton, not a synthetic fabric. I found some companies online.

Using the best canvas you can find is well worth the effort to find it. With all the love and energy you’ll be pouring into your floor cloth you’ll want it to last.

Sign up for my Canvas Rug Crafters email and get monthly tips and information about the tricks I’ve learned over the last 13 years of making canvas floor cloths in Costa Rica.


5 thoughts on “the right canvas for your canvas rug”

  1. Thanks so much
    Had not realized, after making 3 floor
    Cloths, the weight was not heavy enough.
    Your tips have been very helpful

  2. I have seen antique painted canvas floor covers and they were amazing. I never thought I’d find an expert on the subject in the 21st century. I will definitely check out your website. I feel like I have just won a prize.


Leave a Comment