What is the best way to paint a canvas drop cloth?

We are planning on painting some interchangeable signs to be used outdoors and want to use canvas dropcloth. Does it need to be primed with gesso? What type of paint is best? And should we spray on a sealer?

  4 answers
  • Beth Beth on Jun 11, 2018
    Gesso not only seals the fabric, but gives you a smooth surface on which to paint. So yes, I would use it if you plan to keep these signs and reuse them. It would also help the paint not to crack if you fold them up for storage (the type of paint you use is critical here, too). Use latex products, and seal with a latex sealer -- but roll it on for solid coverage and durability - at least two coats.
  • Beth Beth on Jun 11, 2018
    Sorry, I should have said ROLL them up for storage. Don't fold them.
  • Jewellmartin Jewellmartin on Jun 11, 2018
    Yes, the canvas will need one or two coats of gesso (make it yourself). When the gesso is dry on both sides, stretch the canvas as well as you can. The top of a picnic or kitchen table may be large enough for your sign. Use bungee cords to tie the cloth down at the ends, and clamps along the sides. To seek if the gesso is thick enough on each side, paint your initials in red on one of the corners. Leave it an hour, then see if it bled through.
    Pencil in the stencils and margins of the sign front. Paint the front side, let it dry. Flip the cloth. Check your initials in one corner, adding gesso if needed. Paint the backside, and let it dry. Use spray sealer or brush on the back side. Let that dry. Flip and seal the front side. You are done! ☺️