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How To Make Vintage Feed Sack Fabric

If you are like me and love the vintage feel of old feed sack fabrics, here is an easy way to make your vintage-like material out of a drop cloth. You can use the fabric for so many projects.

Finding vintage feed sacks is rare and can be expensive. Therefore, I wanted to create a vintage look without the cost.

This project is perfect for re-upholstering a deconstructed chair, tea towels, pillow covers, and more.

vintage feed sack fabric from a drop cloth to reupholster a chair.

What is Feed Sack Fabric?

Feed sack fabric is a type of fabric that was originally used to store and transport animal feed.

The fabric was typically made of cotton and was often printed with colorful patterns. In the early 1900s, feed sack fabric became popular for making clothing and other household items.

Feed sack fabric was also seen as a way to reuse and recycle materials.

During the Great Depression, feed sack fabric became even more popular. With limited resources, it was a way for people to save money on clothing and other household items.

Eventually, companies would use the feed sacks to advertise their wares or use solid plain fabrics to store and ship everything from coffee beans to seeds.

Today, feed sack fabric is still popular among vintage lovers and DIY enthusiasts.

Vintage feed sack with gathering basket hanging on the wall.

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Why Should You Make DIY Feed Sack Fabric?

First, good quality feed sacks are hard to find because the test of time has taken its toll on these fabrics. Most feed sacks are now made of some form of plastic.

If you are lucky enough to find a great feed sack, it may be difficult to have enough material for a larger project.

You can make an unlimited supply of DIY Feed Sack Fabric using inexpensive drop cloths.

Many feed sacks are now cut into smaller pieces for quilting and other craft projects.

I recently found a good supply of solid-colored sacks and haven’t decided how I’ll use them yet.

white & pink vintage feed sacks on a deconstructed chair.

Prepare The Drop Material For the DIY

Begin by cutting some lengths of your drop cloth. If you want a lot of fabric to look like old feed sacks, you can use the whole drop cloth. I only need a small amount, so I cut approx.—a yard of fabric.

Drop cloth fabric on deconstructed chair.

Keep in mind, if you like flea market flips like me, you may want to use your fabric for multiple projects.

How To Age Fabric?

If you want your fabric to look like authentic old feed sacks, you will want to stain or dye the fabric.

You can use several methods for aging the drop cloth fabric, including tea, coffee, and bleach.

stain drop cloth fabric with coffee

Since this project was going to be a coffee bean bag, I used instant coffee to dye the fabric.

First, add a small amount of coffee grounds to the water. You may want to stain your fabric in a sink, especially with a larger quantity.

stain drop cloth fabric with coffee

Be aware the coffee may stain your sink, but a little bleach or Bar Keepers Friend will quickly remove the stain. Because I didn’t want to stain my white sink, I used a pot for this small amount of fabric.

Drip your fabric into the coffee water and then rinse until you no longer see stained water coming from the rinse water. Then, dry your fabric.

Create A Stencil REMINISCENT Of An Old Feed Sack.

Depending on what type of vintage feed sack you want to make, you will want to create a stencil. Since I wanted a coffee bean sack, I googled old coffee companies and then created a stencil using some of the signage from that company.

Make a stencil to make a DIY Feed Sack Fabric.

Since I have a Silhouette Cameo, I cut my stencil using card stock paper. You can also use a Cricut explore. If you don’t have access to a stencil-cutting machine, you can use individual letters to create the signage for your feed sack.

I have done this in the past with great success. You can purchase stencil letters in a variety of sizes and fonts.

Apply Your Stencil

Once your fabric is dry, it’s time to apply your stencil. Use painter or masking tape to hold the stencil in the desired spot. In this instance, I am only using black chalk paint.

Make a stencil to make a DIY Feed Sack Fabric.

This would also be adorable with different colors. You will want to purchase fabric paint or if you are using acrylic craft paint, be sure to add a fabric medium so your paint will be soft and pliable. Annie Sloan Chalk paint is perfect for this project because it doesn’t require a fabric medium when applied to the fabric.

Place Stencil Randomly on the Fabric

Using card stock for your stencil does limit its durability. If you plan to use your stencil multiple times, I recommend using actual stencil material to cut your pattern.

To make your feed sack feel authentic, place the stencil randomly along the fabric and use a light hand when stenciling some of the letters.

Randomly stencil the design on the drop cloth fabric to make DIY Feed Sack Fabric.

I recommend using a stencil brush to apply the paint. You want it to have the appearance of faded old sack fabric.

Here is what my completed length of fabric looks like. Notice that some areas appear faded with age.

Randomly stencil the design on the drop cloth fabric to make DIY Feed Sack Fabric.

Once your fabric is dry, there are many things you can use it for. It would be perfect for pillow covers.

I used mine to reupholster this $5.00 thrift store chair. If you’d like shopping thrift stores, check out 10 Tips for Successful Thrift Store Shopping.

Feed Sack Fabric Thrift Store Chair .

Drop cloth fabric is less expensive than most fabrics and allows for a rustic feel.

This is a Tea Towel from that same fabric.

DIY Feed Sack Fabric Tea Towel

I also shared this deconstructed chair post to help you avoid mistakes I made.

Feed Sack Fabric covers a thrift store chair.

More Drop Cloth Projects


I hope you enjoyed this Tutorial on How to Make Feed Sack Fabric from a Drop Cloth. Please let me know if you are inspired to make your own. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

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DIY Easy Drop Cloth Project to make vintage inspired feed sack fabric to use in DIY projects.
DIY Easy Drop Cloth Project to make vintage inspired feed sack fabric to use in DIY projects.


Monday 15th of May 2023

What a cool idea! Love this one!


Thursday 25th of May 2023

Stacy, Thanks for stopping by.

Kim | Shiplap and Shells

Saturday 13th of May 2023

What a great tutorial! I love your chair Rachel.


Monday 15th of May 2023

Kim, I'm so glad you liked this.

Wendy McMonigle

Thursday 11th of May 2023

What a great way to add charm and character to a chair. Love it Rachel.


Saturday 13th of May 2023

Wendy Thank you so much.


Thursday 11th of May 2023

Just added this fantastic project to my Friday faves post going out tomorrow! I love the way this came together and how it feels authentic and vintage inspired too. We need some budget-friendly ideas for Loblolly and I'm falling in love with drop cloths all over gain. Big hugs, CoCo


Saturday 13th of May 2023

CoCo, This project made me want to do more with drop cloths too.


Thursday 11th of May 2023

I really enjoy this project and the chair is lovely. I plan on redoing the dining chairs in this manner. What I would like to know is what weight of drop cloth do you recommend? So many blog posts mention using this cloth for curtains, runners, pillow covers etc. When I went to get some there was such an array of weights and I was not sure if it made a difference. Thank you.


Saturday 13th of May 2023

Barb, I used a medium weight. Not the cheapest and not the heaviest.