How to Paint Rope

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Rope made from natural fibers such as cotton, hemp or jute readily accepts many kinds of paint. Jazz up your rope creations with acrylic craft paint, fabric paint or even leftover latex paint. Spray paint can also be used.

Painting on Rope

Things You'll Need

  • Scrap cardboard or a plastic tablecloth
  • Disposable foam bowls or plates
  • Acrylic craft paint, fabric paint or latex paint
  • Masking tape (optional)
  • Paintbrushes

Step 1

Cover the work surface with scrap cardboard or a plastic tablecloth.

Step 2

Fill foam bowls or plates with a small amount of whatever water-based paint you have on hand. Squirt one color into each bowl, if using more than one color.

Step 3

Wrap areas of the rope with masking tape to make boundaries for the paint. This works well if creating bands of color on the rope, for instance.

Step 4

Rest the rope on the work surface, rather than keeping the bulk of it on the floor or a chair, so gravity doesn't pull the rope downward after you paint part of it.

Step 5

Stretch several feet of rope out atop the work space and paint parts of the rope using a paintbrush. To make the project less messy, paint the top exposed areas and the sides, wait for the paint to dry a bit, then flip the rope over to paint the plain side.

Tip

    • If you prefer to spray paint the rope, work outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Spread a section of rope over an large open box and spray the rope, then turn the rope to paint the plain side. 
    • To paint an entire piece of rope at once, dip the rope into a shallow bowl of paint while wearing rubber gloves. Lift the rope out and hold it so it hangs vertically. Squeeze the rope from top to bottom several times between your fingers to release excess paint. 
    • Clip a length of rope from a clothesline or a hanger, hung away from other items, to help it air dry. Place newspaper or a tarp beneath the rope to catch stray drips.
    • Thin acrylic paint slightly with fabric or textile medium if you want the rope to remain flexible without the paint cracking. The medium also helps the rope absorb the paint.
    • Avoid using synthetic rope such as nylon as the paint does not adhere as well.

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