3 Ways To Waterproof Canvas Drop Cloth

The function of canvas drop cloths is to protect surfaces during activities.

Canvas isn’t waterproof which means paint and other liquids can leak through and create a big mess if you’re not careful.

waterproofing canvas drop cloth

While it’s possible to find waterproof canvas, they aren’t common.

To make your canvas waterproof, you can use a waterproof spray, wax, or ironable vinyl:

1. Use Waterproof Spray

One of the simplest ways to make your canvas drop cloth more water resistant is to use a waterproof spray.

It’s worth noting though it won’t be completely waterproof but rather water-resistant.

canvas drop cloth with waterproof spray can in the foreground

Before you begin, place your canvas on a plastic sheet to protect your floor from the adhesive spray. After you set up, gather the materials required:

  • Mask
  • Gloves
  • Brush
  • Adhesive spray
  • Waterproof spray

Now that you’re ready, follow these instructions:

  1. Wear gloves and a mask because the sprays could be harmful or cause allergies
  2. Remove any dust or particles from the canvas tarp using the brush
  3. Spray the adhesive spray on the canvas as the first coat. Allow for the spray to dry. The drying time varies depending on the spray’s brand
  4. Spray the waterproof spray after it has dried and let it sit for a day. You can apply a second layer after it dries

As you can see, this procedure is simple to perform and produces excellent results.  Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:


  • Easy to perform
  • Compatible with different materials
  • May provide UV protection


  • If you launder your canvas drop cloth, the water resistance will most likely wash away. As a result, you’ll have to reapply after each wash.
  • You may need to spray more than one layer
  • The spray may finish faster.

2. Use Wax

The second-best approach for making a canvas drop cloth waterproof is to use wax.

canvas drop cloth with tin of wax in the foreground

Here are the materials that you’ll need:

  • Gloves
  • Brush
  • Wax

Once you’re set-up, follow these steps:

  1. Wear your gloves and place a plastic sheet to avoid making a mess. Then, place your canvas on the plastic sheet
  2. Brush any dust off the canvas
  3. Melt the wax and place it in a container
  4. Apply the wax to the canvas
  5. Allow the canvas to dry completely for 30 to 60 minutes


  • The wax is non-toxic.
  • Durable and will stay on for a long time as long as it’s not washed.


  • Wax repels most other types of coatings. Therefore, you won’t be able to use a waterproof spray on it.
  • Time-consuming to apply.

3. Use Ironable Vinyl

Iron-on vinyl is available at many fabric stores.

This material is excellent for waterproofing and doesn’t alter the look of the canvas beyond adding a plastic sheen to it as seen below.

canvas drop cloth with a plastic sheen due to being treated with ironable vinyl

Here are the supplies you’ll need if you pick this method:

  • Brush
  • Scissors
  • Iron-on vinyl
  • Clothing iron

Now that you’re ready, here’s what to do:

  1. Remove any dirt from the canvas using a brush
  2. Make sure the canvas is placed completely flat and free of wrinkles
  3. Cut the vinyl to the size of your canvas. If the vinyl is too small to fit on the canvas, cut multiple pieces and combine them later
  4. Remove the paper backing 
  5. Place the adhesive side on the right side of the canvas
  6. Set your iron to a medium setting and run it over the paper
  7. Remove the paper once you’ve finished ironing. The heat from the iron would have dissolved the vinyl’s adhesive and glued it to the canvas


  • Simple procedure
  • Widely available


  • Take a long time to do
  • Peels off easily

What is a Canvas Drop Cloth?

Canvas drop cloths protect surfaces from spillages.

They are washable and reusable.

Drop cloths are available in several materials, including plastic, rubber, and canvas.

There are typically thick and heavy-duty making them ideal for the protection of furniture when painting and decorating.

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