Saturday, January 29, 2011

How to make old school oilcloth!

As I poured through pages and pages of oilcloth facts for my books introduction I found this great exert from Catharine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s The American Woman’s Home, or Principles of Domestic Science (1869). The book is classic take on home ec, the famous sisters introduce the vision of the kitchen as the core of the home. With in the book they suggest using oilcloth for such things as shelves, drawers, and room dividers and of course on the floor.

Here's the 411 on how to make old school oilcloth... “To procure a kitchen oilcloth as cheaply as possible, buy cheap tow cloth and fit it to the size and shape of the kitchen. Then have it stretched and nailed to the south side of the barn and, with a brush, cover it with a coat of thin rye plaster. When this is dry, put on a coat of yellow paint and let it dry for a fortnight. Then put on a second coat.” (Harrison, 1972, 126) The handbook suggests that the oilcloth maker let's it dry for 2 months to make it last for years. 

I don't know about you but but since I don't have a barn I think I am good with the ready-made stuff! 

1 comment:

Maria Stahl said...

I have made oilcloth. :) I used cotton duck (actually it was pillow ticking). Stretched it over boards like a painting canvas, then painted it with shellac in several coats spread over a couple of weeks.