13 July, 2009

Make Your Own REAL Oilcloth

I've mentioned here before that I love oilcloth. It's retro look and feet yet practical use makes in an invaluable fabric for any crafter or sewer alike. But have you ever wondered how to make oilcloth? Well, I have. And I'm going to share it with you. Why? Because our choices of fabric styles are limited with retail oilcloth, and now you can go out and either design your own oilcloth fabric, or purchase fabric and turn it into oilcloth yourself. And that makes your oilcloth possibilities limitless!

A little background These days, oilcloth is actually made with a petroleum based coating. But back in the old days of our grandmothers and their mothers before them, the real stuff was made from cotton duck, canvas or linen fabric that was coated several times with linseed oil to give it a waterproofish finish.

Aside from all the limitless design possibilities that go along with making your own oilcloth, genuine oilcloth as made here is actually biodegradable in a landfill and the retail oilcloth is not (because it's not actually "real" oilcloth). And that also makes this project GREEN for all you environmentally conscious crafters.

What You need

-Heavy cotton duck or canvas
-Wooden stretcher frame
-Staple Gun
-Linseed Oil and paintbrush
-Oil paint or oil dyes if you want to create your own design


1. Stretch fabric onto frame for stability and smoothness

2. Create a design by tie dyeing, stamping or painting with oil dyes or paints

3. With long brush strokes, cover entire piece of fabric on the good side, let dry, repeat

4. Add design between coats of linseed oil and keep coating and letting it dry

5. Once it's good and coated, remove from frame, trim edges and use as desired

If you want to make an entirely water resisitant piece, make the item and dip it completely in linseed oil, let dry and repeat.

source: curbly.com


Miss Madras said...

You always have the most interesting and creative crafts to share. I may actually have to try this one.

lisagh said...

DUDE! That is hard core crafting! I'm impressed.

Monogram Momma said...

Are you kidding? It's not like I'm whipping up, say, tunics for myself which is tres time consuming! This one sounds EASY!! I'm going to try it with some fabric scraps I've got around here, but I'm going to do the dunk method.

Monogram Momma said...

Thank you so much, Miss Madras!

lisagh said...

I still stand by the idea that together, you and I could conquer the world! (craft-wise, at least!)

flipt studio said...

If you read the comments on my post from Curbly, you'll find out many valuable things about using linseed oil. Also, check out the comments on ApartmentTherapy-New York's posting of my Curbly project. It's not as simple as it may sound.

Monogram Momma said...

Thanks for the extra info, Shelly! It is much appreciated!

Brie said...

Wow, can't wait to try this, thanks :)

KK said...

Ok I want to see photos of you doing this. It sounds fun but its quite the committment too. I found a site with a good selection of oilcloth. If I can fid it, I'll be sure to pass along the link later.

suburban prep said...

Too ambitious for my soul.

Momma Dee said...

How do you maintain the fabric after it has been made into projects such as placemats or aprons? Can you wash these items in the washer, or do you just sponge them off?

Sarah said...

Is it possible to use this technique on only canvas or duck or can you use it on preprinted fabric - like decorators fabric or cotton?