Introducing floor cloths! I had seen a painted floor cloth rug in a kitchen once and I got to thinking, if I painted a cloth myself and coated it with a protective layer, maybe, just maybe I could make a "rug" that would't be ruined by the occasional accident. So I looked up a few tutorials online, Martha has a good one, and decided to go full in on a painted floor cloth version of a West Elm rug I really like. I painted an oversized canvas drop cloth and cut off the excess to create smaller door mats too!
To create a painted floor cloth, you'll first need to decide what size you want and then find a canvas drop cloth from a hardware supply store that is a bit larger than your final rug. Be careful if you are going large, as most drop cloths over 8x10 have seams down the middle as you can see from mine. I didn't mind and painted right over it, but it could cause problems down the road.
Time: 2-3 weekends
Heavy canvas drop cloth
Tarp to protect your workspace
Artist's Gesso (this is so important!!!)
Double sided carpet tape
Smooth foam rollers
Latex paint in various colors
Iron or press your canvas to remove any wrinkles and to smooth out any seams. Then lay it down on a tarp in a dry safe workspace where it can remain undisturbed for a couple of weekends. I painted my in my basement.
Prepping your canvas:
You'll need to gesso both sides of your canvas. To do this use a paint brush or a scraper to cover the raw canvas in the artists gesso. This is important because gesso primes the canvas and prevents it from absorbing ridiculous amounts of paint. Plus it stiffens the fabric. I tried to skip this step on the underneath side, by just using white latex paint and the canvas just kept soaking it up. I got so frustrated and it took my 5x longer to get a coat done. Seriously, this is the most important step!
After the gesso dries, you can sand the surface lightly to smooth out the surface, but this is optional. Next, roll two coats of white latex paint over the entire surface. I painted both sides for added durability.
After your white based color has dried, use masking tape to create your design, whatever you tape over will remain white, and then you'll paint your colors, its just like paint by numbers. Working with Julia my cousin, we started from the center of the rug and taped off lines. We just eyeballed the pattern and layered strips of tape, or used a .25" roll of tape to create thick and thin lines. I wasn't too worried about the center, just made sure that all of the triangles ended in points.
Next, paint each alternating triangle in a different color using two coats. I used two shades of grey (left over wall paint we had from our house) and an accent of you guessed it, yellow! When we taped off the design, we purposely made thin triangles for the areas where I wanted the yellow accent to go.
Finishing the edges:
With the varnish dry, you're now able to trim your rug to size and finish your edges. I decided I wanted the bullseye of the rug to be off centered so I cut from the top and the right side of the rug to trim the excess. Flip your rug over and using sharp scissors, a pencil and a yardstick, measure a straight line and cut the canvas leaving about 1.5" extra so you can fold over the edges all the way around.
Next, measure 1.5" from the edge and mark a line. Adhere one side of the double sided carpet tape along this line and then fold over the excess rug and adhere to the tape. This will create a nice crisp seam with weight to it so the edge of your rug doesn't curl up. Flip back over and you're done!