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Waterproofing a Blanket

Don't let yesterday's rainstorm dampen your plans for a picnic. You can waterproof a cotton or wool blanket by adding a protective backing of water-resistant fabric such as ripstop nylon or oilcloth, and safely lounge on damp grass.




  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Snap kit


  1. Step 1

    Cut fabric to the exact dimensions of the blanket, adding 1/2 inch on all sides for hem. Fold edges of backing under 1/2 inch, and place 2-inch-wide twill tape on top; machine-stitch both inside and outside edges of tape around entire perimeter, mitering tape at corners.

  2. Step 2


    With a hammer or mallet, fix snaps along edges of the backing and the blanket (snap kits with instructions are available at sewing stores): Center a snap in the twill tape at each corner, then attach snaps at intervals of 10 to 12 inches around the whole border. Attach the "male" half of snaps to the backing first; then mark the placement of the "female" half of snaps carefully on blanket for a good fit, and attach snaps. The backing may be detached when it is not needed.

Martha Stewart Living, June 2001



Reviews (38)

  • maribee 28 May, 2012

    Couldn't you also use a vinyl/flannel-backed tablecloth?

  • grammakinder 23 May, 2012

    The snaps, and removable plastic will help solve a problem. My new washing machine does not have a warm water rinse. When I try to wash plastic baby bibs or tablecloths, they become stiff in the cold water, and they rip. With the snap feature, I can separate the blanket from the plastic, and wipe the plastic! Great idea.

  • contributor_marthastewart_com_JoFray 23 May, 2012

    1. Photo 2 and Photo 3 appear to be identical
    2. You illustrate the EASY part of the process, not the challenging part.
    3. You don't make suggestions for appropriate waterproof materials - vinyl? Plether? oilcloth?
    4. You don't give any tips for machine sewing slippery fabric.

  • Lapensee 26 Jul, 2011

    This is great wanted to make one but did not think of snaps, will make it possible to wash in the laundry.

  • hamp23 27 Jun, 2011

    I went cheap and used a shower curtain liner. They come in great colors(Walmart) and hold up great!

  • WeeFolkArt 14 May, 2010

    I love this idea. I'm thinking this would be a perfect blanket for indoor picnics on rainy days. In this case, the waterproof backing would protect your floors from spills, too. I'll be linking on Facebook. Thanks :)

  • VirginiaOMalley 24 Jul, 2008

    I'd probably just use snap tape. It's great stuff - already has the snaps attached at intervals. It would save you a huge step.

  • azgrandma 24 Jul, 2008

    Idea for the beach--unsnap the blanket, turn inside out. Then stuff with pails, shovels, balls and other items that need to be cleaned when you get home. Line the whole mess up on the patio and hose down.

  • aingael_mama 22 Jul, 2008

    OOORRRR, you could use one of those flannel backed table clothes as the waterproofing on a blanket. The flannel would sort of...Stick it to the blanket and eliminate any aggrivating bunching!

  • sherlene 22 Jul, 2008

    Oops! Sorry about that!

  • sherlene 22 Jul, 2008

    You guys still have drive ins? Do you mean theaters or fast food?

  • sherlene 22 Jul, 2008

    You guys still have drive ins? Do you mean theaters or fast food?

  • sherlene 22 Jul, 2008

    You guys still have drive ins? Do you mean theaters or fast food?

  • sherlene 22 Jul, 2008

    You guys still have drive ins? Do you mean theaters or fast food?

  • blabush 22 Jul, 2008

    I used tarps to make some for my daughters play group workrd great - made them then grometted them together so the top can be removed and washed

  • almost 21 Jul, 2008

    what about using a shower curtain for the waterproof part?

  • chervargas 21 Jul, 2008

    Terrific idea. I'll use a plastic tarp for the "waterproof" part. I'll use it for picnic table covers...most outdoor tablecloths have flannel on the underside....but usually the tables have disgusting stuff on them that I don't want the flannel to grab. Having the plastic will be great while having a nice cloth to dine on, and it will be washable.

  • macesmeme 21 Jul, 2008

    I was just thinking over the weekend I needed to make something like this for when we take the kids to the drive-ins!

  • saralsea 21 Jul, 2008

    I like this project but I'd be interested in hearing how waterproof these blankets really are. I spend 9 months of the year in a state of "its raining" or "its just stopped raining", and with the exception of plastic, most materials will wick water when you sit on them. Maybe these blankets are for areas where it rained yesterday but it was 80degrees at 9am this morning. Maybe I could sew plastic sheeting to the back of the oil cloth.

  • meemaollie 21 Jul, 2008

    I think I could use this idea for when my granddaughters play Softball on cold,rainey nihgts! it would keep me warn and dry!

  • karenv123 21 Jul, 2008

    I like it could you use a shower curtain ? I can get one of those at a doller store.

  • Anna_Marie 21 Jul, 2008

    cprfr: thanks for sharing your project directions...a great idea, as is this waterproof blanket.

  • cprfr 21 Jul, 2008

    I make a similar project. I use 2 yds. 54n n n n n n wide outdoor canvas. Cut an equal piece of vinyl. Place the fabrics right sides together, sew three sides. Turnout. In the center of the open top, I attach a 24n n n n n n by 1n n n n n n webbed belt strap. Fold the top edge of the blanket in sew across, near edge. Repeat sewing n n n n n n n n n n inside of first stitching. Top stitch around blanket. Attach 2 n n n n n n Dn n n n n n rings to end of strap. To close, fold in thirds, roll up, wrap with belt, close using n n n n n n Dn n n n n n rings. I make a matching tote bag.

  • lbuser 21 Jul, 2008

    To Sillys - I would think these same instructions would work great for "sand-proofing" as well as water-proofing. Just unsnap when your adventure is done or when you get back to your car and shake out the sand before you get into the vehicle. Voila, no sand. I think I am going to use the oil cloth with a beach towel idea for my grandkid's trips to the lake. Thanks for the idea.

  • fallenleaves 21 Jul, 2008

    THANKS DPPRESLEY!!!! Jack's Country Store is great!! I have been looking for oilcloth in a variety of patterns and was not having any luck and oh the good things they have other than oilcloth! Thanks again!

  • scrapbookdi 21 Jul, 2008

    It would be a softer cushion to use a blanket with the waterproof fabric. I think this would me a great gift. I was looking for something for my Christmas gift exchange for my scrapbooking friends. We exchange handmade gifts every year.

  • lindenhouse 21 Jul, 2008

    Why not just use the oilcloth or nylon AS your picnic blanket?

  • jansquires 21 Jul, 2008

    I Googled "oilcloth" and found several suppliers

  • Bushkowski 21 Jul, 2008

    Is there anyone from Ontario, Canada who knows where to get oilcloth? I see all these wonderful projects but I can't find the main supply.

  • 3311942 21 Jul, 2008

    Make that a flannel-backed vinyl table cloth.

  • 3311942 21 Jul, 2008

    Why not just buy a flannel-backed table cloth?

  • Sillys 21 Jul, 2008

    Oh holy mackerel ! You could even create some type of beach blanket from this idea !!! Any suggestions, Martha, for sand-proofing it?

  • jcress57 21 Jul, 2008

    I would think the snaps are on so you can remove the blanket for washing

  • ses59 21 Jul, 2008

    The snaps are so you can remove the backing from the blanket when you do'nt need it on there. And have your blanket back for normal use

  • janadec9 21 Jul, 2008

    I'm confused...what are the snaps for?

  • kellimaier 30 Jun, 2008

    I was just wishing for something exactly like this!

  • dppresley 25 May, 2008

    You can buy various nylon at Hancock Fabrics or JoAnns. Oilcloth can be ordered online. I have ordered it from a couple of different websites, but I think that Jack's Country Store has the best prices and shipping rates. Good luck!!

  • kilikina73 11 May, 2008

    I love this idea (and plan to make these kinds of blankets as baby shower gifts) but am having a hard time finding ripstop nylon or oilcloth at local fabric stores. I have found waterproofed canvas, but it is pretty thick/bulky. Can you advise on where to buy nylon?