Barkcloth fabric — 155 designs from 6 companies available today + vintage, of course!

tropical barkclothBarkcloth is a wonderful fabric for making curtains and pillows for midcentury homes and tropical home tiki bars too. In this update to my original 2011 story, I scanned anew for companies still making barkcloth today. Since 2011, we lost one beloved maker (Full Swing Textiles). Even so, today there seems to be more designs of barkcloth available than I can ever remember. In all, I count more than 150 different barkcloth fabrics on the market, from six companies, with mid century, contemporary, tropical and even googie designs. All things tropical — including tiki — are hot in the design world, and these rooms needs their barkcloth curtains and pillows! 

  • What distinguishes “barkcloth” from other fabrics: As I understand it, the colors are typically printed onto ‘slubby’ or ‘nubbly’ cotton fabric that is typically fairly heavy weight (too heavy weight for apparel, for example). Even given the heavier weight, check manufacturers’ specifications regarding any given fabric’s applicability for upholstery vs. accessory uses like drapery and pillows.
  • And note, in the list that follows, I am pretty liberal about what is allowed to be called “barkcloth.” As always, it’s best to get a sample before you commit and as noted above, check with the manufacturer about recommended uses for the fabric.

#1 Trendtex (Barkcloth Hawaii) — 106 barkcloth designs!

To be sure, Trendtex Fabrics out of Hawaii is the big manufacturer of tropical design barkcloth. As I write this story, they show 106 different barkcloth designs (available in various fabric constructions/weights). That’s a mighty selection! See all the Trendtex barkcloth options on their website HawaiiBarkcloth.com here.

Update and as also now now noted in the intro: As one reader pointed out, there are different weights — some may not have the heavy barkcloth nubbly feel you want. Order samples and/or talk to the retailer first before going big.

Above: Here’s how Trendtex describes their different fabric types — but again, order samples first to ensure you know what you are getting is what you are expecting.

#2 — Hoffman Fabrics — 12 barkcloth designs 

retro tropical barkcloth from hoffman fabrics in robin egg blue

8 retro barkcloth designs

Added to the list in March 2019: 11 screenprinted barkcloth designs by Hoffman California-International Fabrics. This includes eight tropical patterns and three retro googie patterns. These look very promising — I am going to contact the company to get samples to check them out first-hand. Wow: Hoffman Fabrics has been in business since 1924 — run by the same family. They are based in Mission Viejo, Calif. 

#3 — Stylemaker Fabrics

Update: Barkcloths no longer on their website, but I’ll leave this up so that I remember to check again in the future.

#4 — Island Paradise Barkcloth by Sevenberry / Robert Kaufman — 22 barkcloth designs 

tropical barkclothUpdating this story I discovered this new line of  Island Paradise Barkcloth by Sevenberry from Robert Kaufman Sevenberry — 22 designs in all, some available now and some coming to stores in April 2019. While I am not quire sure of the fabric composition — that is: Is it slubby enough to qualify as “barkcloth,” the patterns look quite nice.

#5 — Cloud 9 Fabrics barkcloth — 8 designs currently 

barkcloth modern designFor more modern (rather than tropical) barkcloth designs, Cloud 9 Fabrics is the maker to watch. It seems like every year, one of their designers comes out with a new batch of designs. These collections are time-limited, so if you want ’em, nab ’em. Right now, it’s Homestyle by Eloise Renouf

#6 — Birch Fabric — 10 Charley Harper barkcloth patterns coming September 2019

charley harper barkcloth by birch fabricUpdate April 19 — I see that Birch Fabric will have 10 barkcloth designs featuring Charley Harper prints available in September 2019. These are all mid century modern motifs. I like the idea of a few of them for woodsy paneled rooms, or maybe kitchen valences.

#7 — Buy vintage barkcloth

Paul Frankl pretzel chair
Margie used vintage fabric from Florida Bungalow to upholster the delicious Paul Frankl pretzel chair in her Buffalo home tiki lounge

Of course, when it comes to draperies… or for fabric for pillows… you also can put your vibes out there and wait for the retro decorating gods to send some vintage your way. Watch ebay, etsy, and of course my favorite: estate sales. I have, many a time, bought draperies still hanging from the windows.  

Florida Bungalow(affiliate link) is a well-known collector of vintage barkcloth and has an amazing collection, for example. 

Know, though, that vintage barkcloth is super collectible these days. Pristine sets of vintage barkcloth curtains can cost a pretty penny!

This story was updated from the original published in January 2011. 

  1. Pookie says:

    Hi, I have a Paul Frankl rattan living rooom set with cushions that still have the original vintage fabric. They are in a bad condition now. I need new upholstery fabric but can’t find solid colored barkcloth fabric AND matching tropical barkcloth fabric. Any idea where to find both?hawaiibarkcloth.com doesn’t sell any solid colors now. They used to sell cream and black, but I want other colors.

  2. Fernando says:

    few years ago I bought plenty of fabrics from a person called “Nina” (I do not remember the last name right now)
    Her shop was in her house and she sold barkcloth and thinner fabrics, like poplin. The best ever prints that I have found.
    She closed the shop (in Hawaii) couple of years ago or so.
    Do not know if you are in Hawaii but I am looking for the same type of prints that the barkcloth have but in thinner cotton fabrics.
    Also I bought plenty of Fassett; Kauffman and Timeless treasures with incredible prints and in poplin but seem disappeared now.
    I am in S America.

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Fernando, I don’t tend to write about thinner fabrics — my site is about home decor, so I research heavier-weight fabrics appropriate for draperies, pillows, and also those specified for upholstery. I am not in Hawaii.

    1. Vintage cotton barkcloth can be laundered and dried in the dryer. It’s amazing, I know, but, it was created for the homemaker who used to make her own draperies and wanted to be able to wash them as well. Cotton barkcloth is so durable, it’s still very much alive now, in 2020! I make and sell vintage barkcloth pillow covers and know the fabrics well. 🙂

      Wash on gentle or permanent press in cool water with a mild detergent. Add fabric softener as desired. Dry on a low to medium heat. Feel free to iron barkcloth on high with steam. It can take it!

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