Design By MLE

DIY: The Basics

Design By MLE

DIY:  The basics of creating your own floorcloth

The canvas
  • I recommend using #10 or #8 (not ounces), heavy weight canvas.  You can get 
    this in some art supply stores, canvas makers and on line at http://www.
    allenscanvas.com (my favorite).
  • If it is primed, you are ready to go, if not, this is how I do it:
  • Nail/tack the canvas to a frame – I use the wood floor of my workshop
  • Using high-quality exterior latex paint, one coat on one side and two coats 
    on the side you are going to decorate

Now you are ready for the fun
  • Use latex craft paints, fabric (no big pieces), decoupage, ribbon, etc.
  • I recommend ModgePodge or similar glues that are transparent when dried
  • Don’t worry if some of the glue shows, it should blend in when you poly your 
    floorcloth

The edges
  • I like to leave about three-inches between the edge of the canvas and my 
    design.  When the design is finish, but before the polyurethane, turn under the 
    floorcloth’s border and attach it to the back with carpet tape.
  • You can also sew the edge, I recommend that if you do so, you do it before you 
    paint – then the stitches won’t show as much.

Protecting your work
  • Apply seven coats of latex polyurethane.  I recommend that the first coat be high 
    gloss.  This seals it better and the colors are true, and then you can tone it 
    down if wanted with other versions
  • Test any materials other latex-based to see if the polyurethane yellows it.  This 
    is important.  If there is a discoloration, one way to safeguard it is to cover the 
    part with ModgePodge or some other glue before putting on the polyurethane.
  • After the seven-coats are dry, one last process.  Use a good “Butcher’s-type” 
    wax for a final coat.

Books for more details and inspiration
  • The Weekend Crafter: Painting Floorcloths: 20 Canvas Rugs to Stamp, Stencil, 
    Sponge, and Spatter in a Weekend by Kathy Cooper (Nov 1, 1999)
  • Floorcloth Magic: How to Paint Canvas Rugs for Decorative Home Use
   by Lisa Curry Mair (Jan 10, 2002)
  • The Complete Book of Floorcloths: Designs & Techniques for Painting Great-
    looking Canvas Rugs by Kathy Cooper and Jan Hersey (Mar 28, 2002)
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