Barkcloth 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 screen-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.
#1 Trendtex (Barkcloth Hawaii) — 106 barkcloth designs!
Also distributed by #2 Diamondhead Fabrics
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.
But wait! Diamondhead Fabrics is the U.S. mainland-based distributor for Trendtex barkcloth fabrics, and Diamondhead has some designs that Trendtex does not. And vice versa, that is: Trendtex also has many designs that Diamondhead does not.
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.
#3 — Hoffman Fabrics — 12 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.
- Tropical design barkcloth from Hoffman Fabrics
- Check out their retro barkcloths too
- Note: This company is a manufacturer, see this page on where to find their fabrics retail.
#4 — Island Paradise Barkcloth by Sevenberry / Robert Kaufman — 22 barkcloth designs
Updating 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
For 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
Update 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
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.
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.