I used drop cloth for this project. Drop cloths are cheap and I love the texture of them.
You can bleach them to make them whiter and softer. I normally just sit mine in a tub of bleach and water for a few hours, stirring them every now and then.
Be sure to use 100% cotton for best results.
Before getting started, I protected my table with a sheet of cardboard in case the pens bled through. Drop cloths are thick, but I didn't want to take any chances.