DIY: Make Your Own Reusable & Washable Coloring Pages

Creative Fun Perfect for Any Weather!

By Sara Yaniga, Macaroni Kid Chicago (Midtown) February 12, 2021

Back in 2000 I was living in a one bedroom apartment full of hand-me-down furnishings and on a tight budget. This is when I first fell in love with the practicality of one particular item.  

Drop cloths.  

Not the plastic ones, but the canvas ones you can find in a variety of sizes at home improvement and hardware stores in the paint department.  My budget for home decorations was limited and I used these affordable cloths to make curtains, slipcovers for furniture and even painted rugs for the kitchen and bath.  Once I became a parent I used them under messy art projects, as picnic blankets, tents, and now, my favorite use, a reusable (washable) coloring page.

I had some leftover canvas after making a slipcover for an oversized chair and was using the scrap piece on the dining room table as a barrier between our daughter's art projects when she accidentally got some marker on the cloth. That's when I had my "AH-HA" moment and realized the best part of these fabric drop cloths was that they are washable!  I dropped it in the washing machine and like magic the marker came right out.

The next day I grabbed my scissors, cut the remnant cloth into squares, took my black sharpie and started sketching out some simple images and gave them to my kids to color with washable markers while I worked on getting dinner ready.  I now had several pages of a "coloring book" that could be used over and over.  I made sure to leave plenty of blank "pages" so they could let their own creativity flow and clipped them together with a giant safety pin I had..  When the pages are full I just drop it in the wash and the images I made with the permanent marker remain and the washable marker is gone - ready for another day.  

(Note: If you don't finish the edges of the smaller pages with a hem or even pinking shears they will fray. We like the frayed edge as much as the clean edge. Also, washable crayons can be used too, but I find those marks need a little stain remover to fully wash out)

Since these fabric drop cloths come in a variety of sizes, and with hemmed edges, I grabbed a new package of them in a smaller size (4 x 5 ft) and created an "Alpha-mat" to allow us to practice our letters and sight words in a more interactive way.

Really the combo of a canvas drop cloth and washable markers can be so many things.

  • reusable book for drawing and coloring
  • a picnic blanket or play mat you can draw on again and again
  • create your own game boards for checkers, chess, etc OR make your own board game
  • backdrop for a puppet or theatre show
  • a town of streets and buildings for your cars or zoo/park for your animals

What can you create?  

Enter here and I will send a subscriber their own blank canvas, washable marker set (and some fun surprises) to begin their own creative play!