DIY Zebra Rugs

Painting, Rugs

On a $25 budget, who wouldn’t like to get this wonderful bohemian (or is it chic) faux zebra rug?

I love animals and would not hurt them, but second hand fur is fair game for me, as is this fabulous faux zebra rug.

DIY Zebra Rugs

OK. Let’s all make a faux zebra rug! Yeah..


Here’s my quick 1,2,3 how to tutorial:

For the main spiel on how to make these rugs, hop over to the site linked below. Here are my notes however.

What you’ll need to make this gorgeous faux zebra hide:

  • 6 x 9” canvas drop cloth, scissors, paint, primer, brushes, pencil, eraser, patience, an afternoon + lead time. Tip: the usually drop cloth size is 9 x 12", giving you enough materials for 2 faux zebra hides…


DIY Zebra Rugs

  • 1. Draw out an zebra hide shape onto drop cloth. Use my sample shape in the image here as your guide. Does not have to be too exact. Approximate likeness will be just fine.

Note that there’s a difference between the left and the right side. That’s what a real hide would look like.

If you prefer to have a perfectly symmetrical shape instead, draw only the left half  of your faux zebra hide shape and fold over the fabric.


  • 2. Cut out your shape (but of course leave the center line of your fabric alone.)
  • 3. Drop cloth is notoriously wrinkly. Use your water spray and slightly dampen the cloth before ironing so the wrinkles will smooth out faster.
  • 4. Give your cotton drop cloth one or two good coat of primer. Gesso (chalk based primer suitable for water based metallic paint) leaves a matte finish. If you want a shiny painted finish, add a coat of white paint. If you are going to walk a lot over this ‘painting’ aka rug, you sure want to choose durable paint.
  • 5. Using the images above as your guide, with a pencil draw the beautiful stripes on the hide of the zebra onto your drop cloth. Take your time to do this properly. Have an eraser at hand.

Tip: If you have an overhead projector, you might like to use that to project the zebra hide lining from your computer screen onto your ‘canvas’. You may need to hang your hide onto the wall for this to work,but it might be the fastest way.

  • 6. Painting the stripes. What’s used here is Painter’s Touch Metallic Gold. “Transfer a bit into a smaller jar which  you can leave open for half an hour to thicken up” suggested Caroline Inge, who came up with the idea of using that particular paint.

Adding a protective finish to your faux hide will dull the metallic sheen of the paint, and will darken your white areas. But a coat with polycrylic or polyurethane will make your rug more durable. So it’s a trade-off only you can decide.


:DIY Zebra Rugs

This paint versus that paint….

First of all, I’m recommending you use gesso as it’s cheap. Untreated cotton like drop cloth soaks up a ton of paint. So, the gesso is the best way to prep your ‘canvas on the floor’.

Next, Caroline is recommending you use this oil-based paint.  However, being an acrylics painter myself, I tend to favor water-based paint.  This paint is particularly designed for faux finishes and  comes in three metallic shades that are all very nice. Both types of paint are however meant to be used on wood instead of drop cloth. So, I don’t know what to say. Both are relatively inexpensive.

Water based:


DIY Zebra Rugs

Note: this is not the gold color that is displayed here, but what I consider a more realistic darker bronze color. Up to you to choose. You’ll need at least 1 quart of white base paint but less of the gold paint.

photo credit | idea source for DIY Zebra Rugs : Caroline Inge for
(sorry, HomeDepot removed her page,

Tags: Area rugs, crafts, diy, diy décor, diy project, paint, rugs, diy zebra rug

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