Roundup: 8 Great Uses for Oilcloth

Roundup: 8 Great Uses for Oilcloth

Susie Nadler
Mar 20, 2009

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The other day we stopped by Mendel's Far Out Fabrics on Haight, and the woman at the desk was sorting through hundreds of oilcloth swatches. We'd forgotten what a huge selection of oilcloth Mendel's carries, from graphic modern prints to more traditional colorful florals; just rifling through them made us want to get going on some spring and summer projects. Oilcloth is perfect in so many contexts at home because it's waterproof and incredibly easy to clean. Click through for eight fun oilcloth projects we found...


1 This old photo comes from Oilcloth International, the largest oilcloth importer in the country (owned and operated by women). It's fun to flip through the swatches on their site.

2 Martha has tons of oilcloth projects online, but these are our two favorites. The oilcloth pocket board could be great in a kitchen or home office as a family message center; and the oilcloth coasters are an easy way to use up scraps (plus they'd be beautiful for a bridal or baby shower).

3 One of the amazing properties of oilcloth is that the edges won't fray, so you can make simple crafts without sewing. These placemats from Make Grow Gather were cut out with pinking shears.

4 You can apply the same principle to an easy tablecloth—no need to hem! This one comes from Twig & Thistle. We like to use oilcloth under a self-service bar at a party, too, to minimize sticky spills.

5 For a slightly more involved project, try making oilcloth outdoor pillows. These examples come from Lama Designs, but here are some instructions for making your own from Associated Content.


6 Use oilcloth to line drawers or shelves in the kitchen or bathroom, where spills are inevitable. This example comes from A Little Busy.

7 For a pop of color in a casual room, what about stretching oilcloth over frames and hanging them as wall art? We like this idea with any fabric you're fond of, but oilcloth is a great seasonal choice for spring and summer.

8 Craftstylish has a great idea for making an origami-inspired oilcloth collapsible pet dish for traveling. Great to have in the car, in case your doggie needs water after a hike!

Mendel's is our favorite oilcloth source, and if you're not in SF, you can buy from them online! The etsy shop Oilcloth Addict also has a great selection.

Got any other oilcloth ideas you'd like to share?

Photo of oilcloth frames: Flickr member kristykay22, licensed under Creative Commons.

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