DIY Decor: Metallic Gold Zebra Print Rug

Posted by: on October 4th, 2012 | 44 Comments
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A DIY Zebra Print Rug in Metallic Gold

Ah, the animal print. Some style decades have embraced this wild pattern, others have turned up their noses. It’s pretty clear that these days designers are again embracing animal prints of all shapes and sizes. Today, you can find no shortage of cow hide rugs, zebra print fabrics, and leopard print fashion accessories. These stylish animal print items can cost more than you’d like to spend, though, so like any great DIY-er, I wanted to find a cheaper option by making it myself– painting it on a canvas drop cloth. I wanted to have some fun, too, with a DIY project. So here is a step-by-step guide to creating your own zebra print rug. But this isn’t any old zebra print — it’s a metallic gold zebra print!

Materials for the Zebra Print Rug Project:

DIY Zebra Print Rug | Trace outline for rug


Draw out the shape of your zebra rug on the drop cloth. I used a cow hide rug that I already own to help guide the shape. If you don’t already have a cow hide rug, don’t worry! The basic shape isn’t too hard to copy.


DIY Zebra Print Rug | Cut out zebra shape


First, I traced and then cut out the basic shape of only one side. This way, I could fold the cut side onto the uncut and un-traced side in order to get a symmetrical shape. If you want to just wing it and are okay with a shape that isn’t perfectly symmetric (and let’s face it, many animal print rugs on the market aren’t perfectly symmetrical), then don’t be afraid to do that!


DIY Zebra Print Rug | Cut out zebra shape



Using the first side as my guide, I first traced the shape with a permanent marker, then cut out the shape with scissors. Now, some slight fraying will occur when you cut this drop cloth, but it’s OK. I actually think this gives the rug the effect of a cow hide in that it has small fiber that soften the edges, like the hair on a hide would.


DIY Zebra Rug | Cut out zebra shape


Once you have the shape cut out, reassess it. I decided that the “head” on the right, wasn’t quite the shape I wanted, nor were the “hind legs” on the left, so I went back and adjusted those spaces.


DIY Zebra Rug | Cut out zebra shape


I was happy with the sides and “legs” of the shape, so I kept them as is.


DIY Zebra Rug | Iron it out

DIY Zebra Rug | Iron it out


Once you have the shape like you want it, iron the drop cloth. This will make both painting the fabric and drawing your striped pattern easier.


DIY Zebra Rug | Paint with base color


Now you can start painting on your base color! I chose just a basic white that I already had, but know that the drop cloth absorbs a LOT of paint, so you will need at least 1 full quart to cover the entire the cloth. If necessary, do two coats in order to completely erase signs of the natural oatmeal color underneath. I used sort of a stippling technique, making quick downward jabs to get the paint down into the fibers of the cloth.

Once your base coat is finally dry, you can begin drawing your zebra stripes!


DIY Zebra Rug | Draw your zebra stripes


Now, I bet this is the step that seems a little intimidating, but one of the things that makes the zebra print so perfect for this project is that it lends itself to a more organic feel. It’s really not as difficult as it may seem to draw. I even practiced a few times drawing a zebra print on a piece of construction paper, just to be sure I could tackle this step!

When I was ready to start my lines, I pulled up a few photos of a zebra rug on my computer and began to draw away. Use a pencil not a permanent marker for this step.


DIY Zebra Rug | Draw your zebra stripes


Just have fun with it — you’re really just drawing wavy lines!

Once your stripes are drawn, you’re ready to move on to painting the stripes. I chose metallic gold because I wanted to bring a little shot of glamour into my space. Feel free to go in any direction with this. A pink zebra would be an adorable addition to a little girl’s room!


DIY Zebra Rug | Gold paint


If you’re using Painter’s Touch Metallic Gold, here are a few things I learned:

  • Leave the paint can open for 30 minutes or so before painting. Because this paint is meant to be used on wood, it has a very thin consistency which enables it to spread out and leave a more glossy finish. Because you will be using this on cloth instead of wood, you want a bit of a thicker consistency so that it won’t bleed. I found that leaving the paint can open for a bit before painting helped it thicken up. Or transfer some of the paint into a smaller container, and let that container sit out for a bit.
  • As the instructions mention on the can, do not brush the paint on too much. In other words, once you apply the paint to the canvas, and fill your entire stripe, don’t continue to brush it out, this will dull the sheen and give it a more brassy effect, rather than a true metallic gold.
  • The instructions on the can suggest not to re-coat, but I did. I found that with the second coat, I was able to go back over some of my earlier stripes that were a bit darker and less metallic and give them a more golden sheen.

DIY Zebra Rug | Gold paint


Above is a dried portion of the drop cloth — see how it has a very shiny, metallic finish? That’s what I wanted.


DIY Zebra Rug | Polycrylic


Now, if you are putting this rug in a high-traffic area and you are worried about scuffing, flaking, or general wear-and-tear, you are welcome to coat it in a polycrylic or polyurethane. I did not completely cover my rug in a poly because I found that when I brushed it onto one corner of my rug, it dulled the sheen a bit, reducing the reflecting quality of the gold. If that doesn’t bother you, then definitely proceed with a top coat.


DIY Zebra Rug


Once your final coat is dried, give it a full day to cure. Then, experiment with it in your home! You may find that you like your animal print rug in an unexpected space!

DIY Décor is a series about small, affordable design and décor projects for home and garden.


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Leave a Comment

  1. Indecor says:

    Look difficult in the beginning but the end is so nice
    Really cool DIY project, will try to make

  2. jessica Ibarguen says:

    Very cool! I’m wondering about those slipcovered wingbacks- do you have a slipcover tutorial?? thanks

  3. Dalhsie says:

    Just wondering how the rug has held up?

  4. sarah says:

    Did you maybe want to tell us what it is actually painted on?

  5. Paula powell says:

    Could u make a palm tree the same way?

  6. Julie Massey says:

    this is the best idea I have seen in a long time! I want an animal print rug for a nice reading area in our new home, but of course ran out of budget about a week after we moved in :) Can’t wait to do this project with my young adult daughter!

    • Craig Allen says:

      Congratulations on your new home. We hope you get time for the zebra print rug soon.

      Thanks for writing, Julie.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  7. Sylvia marie says:

    Minwax is one of my favorite sealers.I’ve been using it for years. HD has the best price in town,so I suggest to customers go there first.

  8. Rug Love says:

    [...] [home depot] [mfamb] [lbd] [...]

  9. [...] このイメージを見てください › EJOBOO【無料求人掲載no.1】 家庭の倉庫/を通して [...]

  10. [...] didn’t think it was this easy to faux your way to a zebra skin rug, did [...]

  11. [...] 写真元 Carolineさんの作品 [...]

  12. fuzzy dunlop says:

    fantastic!!! how did you make/where did you buy the fantastic prints?!?!

  13. [...] DIY and photo credit to: [...]

  14. Great minds think alike! I made the same thing back in Aug of 2012 and followed all these steps to the T!

  15. [...] looked so wild! If you’re feeling adventurous or love animal print, this zebra print rug by The Home Depot is right up your alley. For a cooler toned color palette, use silver instead of gold paint. And if [...]

  16. [...] this fabulous faux zebra rug tutorial which I will try soon myself. Here is another faux cowhide project & here is another [...]

  17. Sherry says:

    Great, easy project! I know I’m a bit late to the party (ha) but I’m interested in the rug in the first 3 or 4 pictures (under your project). Does Home Depot carry this rug?

  18. Richelle says:

    This is so neat! I’m going to have to give it a try. Just wondering if you painted the table in the background yourself as well? If so what is the color/technique used?

    • Hi Richelle!

      Thank you so much! I hope you try the project, and be sure to let me know how it turns out!

      Unfortunately, no I did not paint the table myself, sorry!

      Editor at The Apron Blog

  19. lindsey says:

    dang thats really really good good job :) i love it <3

  20. kim says:

    Very cool idea. I think this would look nice even in an oval shape or rectangle instead of making the shape of a hide.

    Where are the prints from in the final room image?? Can you give a tutorial on those? So pretty!

  21. Best In Show says:

    [...] know Home Depot has a home improvement blog called The Apron? Caroline recently posted this awesome DIY metallic zebra hide rug that I’m totally [...]

  22. LOVE THIS!!! It looks amazing Caroline! I might need to add this to our dining room :)

  23. Brent says:

    Could you please tell me the specific paint color used on the wall? Thanks.

  24. Abbi says:

    This looks so awesome! I need to try this project for our house. It looks so do able!

  25. Lynn Coulter says:

    Caroline, I love this!

  26. Julie says:

    Any information on the double art piece in the last picture?

  27. This is BEAUTIFUL!!! Well done, Caroline! I can’t wait to try it out =)