Thursday, September 27, 2012

Paint a Rug Party: work in progress

Last week I showed you pictures of my striped rug inspiration; this week I'm getting down to business.

I started with the cream colored 4 x 7-ish Ikea Erslev rug.  I have two of these rugs; they were the rugs in my master bedroom of our last house.  Currently one is in my master bathroom and the other was in my closet.  I pulled the one out of my closet because it was cleanest, and got to work.

I taped down a tarp in the garage and put the rug on top so the paint wouldn't bleed through.

Then lectured myself for taking a three year old to Lowes at 4 pm in the afternoon.  

With a measuring tape I measured the rug into approximate thirds.  With a woven rug its not that easy to make exact measurements; the rug is uneven on the sides and sort of stretchy.

At top and bottom I measured in 18.5 inches from either side, leaving the middle stripe a slightly smaller 18 inches.  I marked the spots lightly with a pen.  I did this multiple times down the rug.  

Then I connected the dots with a long level, drawing two long stripes down the rug.

Once I had the rug divided in thirds, I started taping.  I used two inch 3M painting tape, and I used scissors to make sure that each end edge of the tape was  straight (ie. I didn't rip off pieces of tape).

To make sure that the space between each stripe was equal, I used a small strip of tape as a spacer (see the little strip of tape between the spaces in the picture above?). Thus, the tape is a two inch stripe, and the open stripe is also two inches.  The very last stripe is a wee bit less than two inches, but its not very noticeable.

On the second row I started with the open space, and then the third row was started at the top again.

Surprisingly, it only took me about a half hour to tape the whole thing.

Easy, right?  Now we'll just paint the rug and be done with it, right?

Not so fast.

Since this is going in my master bathroom, where I will walk on it barefoot every day, I would like for it to be soft, not crusty with paint. This could be easily solved with textile medium, which turns regular paint into fabric paint.  Unfortunately, there is no textile medium to be had anywhere around here--I have been to every craft and paint store in the area, and no luck.  I can't find any recipes for making your own textile medium on the interwebs.

Before ordering the medium on Amazon, I thought I'd try other options.

I tried fabric spray paint.  I'd been thinking of trying this paint for various projects, but at $8 for a 2.5 oz bottle, it doesn't seem like it would go very far.

I was right, one bottle does not go very far.

And it doesn't exactly give a lot of coverage, either.

Also, despite being "fabric" paint, it is still on the crunchy side.

Next up, I experimented with fabric dye.  I used a smaller woven bathmat for this experiment, similar to the Erslev rug.

I fastened a spray bottle top to the fabric dye bottle and just sprayed the rug.  The fabric dye was mostly contained by the tape and didn't seep very much (although the spraying went everywhere).  After four days of drying time, the rug is mostly dry and not crunchy.  BUT the dye rubs off on my hands when I touch it, even though its dry.  Grr.  So this doesn't seem to be a very viable method.

I will note that I didn't bother washing the rug and then setting it in the dryer on high heat, as per the fabric dye instructions, because its not something I will be able to do with the bigger rug.  So perhaps that might impact the finish.

So, here we are.  I am debating ordering the textile medium, or just painting the rug and putting it in my foyer instead.  Come back next week and find out what I decided.

See the other participants and their painting processes:

Chinoiserie Chic


  1. From one DIYer to another...impressive level. Now I am glad that you tried that fabric paint. I have been wanting to try it and now you may have saved me some time :-/ . I have a feeling we both may be doing an all black painted crunchy rug.

  2. Your taping job sure is great Lisa! Im sorry about the trials with the paint and hope the next week goes well. Best of luck!
    P.S. your daughter is darling.

  3. Hi,

    I have started stalking your blog after the one room challenge and enjoy your escapades. I
    just wanted to let you know that Anika from Gorgeous shiny things did a post recently where she painted a rug with dye ( hers was kind of spotty). She actually painted it and then kind of sopped up any excess so that it didn't come off and take forever to dry. I hope you go and read it - it might be of some help.

  4. Your sleeping daughter cracks me up, oh the lives of do it yourselfers! I wonder what is in a textile medium? Did you ask at your paint store what they might suggest? LOVE the pattern, one I considered myself, until I got side tracked!
    Cathy @ Room Rx

  5. You are impressive with a level girl! :) It's looking great. And I'd make Michael's order some fabric medium for you. That's crazy that they dont' have any! It took me two Michael's employees 20 minutes to find the medium at my store.

  6. Am I the only one who didn't use fabric medium? Oh well, too late now. Yours is going to look great!

  7. I am amazed that you drove all over creation for fabric medium. I also eyed the fabric spray paint but the price tag and the thought of needing 40 bottles kept me from it. I love the pattern you chose.

  8. Love that you're posting what didn't work too. very helpful! It's going to look awesome in the end. If it were me, I'd just use regular old matte spray paint from lowes :)

  9. The taping is very impressive! I was wondering if the rugs would be crunchy with paint. Too bad the fabric medium is so expensive!

  10. How did Princess fall asleep like that? Does she just sort of lie down and close her eyes? My children would never do that, I think it's sort of cool that yours does and can do that!
    Sara O

  11. I was wondering if you carried your little munchkin in and just plopped her there? :) Too cute! Thanks for sharing all of your attempts, it's going to look amazing!

  12. It looks great so far - the taping is pretty impressive! I didn't realize how crunchy the paint would be until I started painting my rug. Luckily mine will just be in the kitchen!

  13. The rug is sooo looking good. I am glad you are letting us know what types of paints/dyes you have tried. I was curious as to the best options for this. I think acrylic and textile medium is probably the best choice for the crunch factor.

  14. If it were me I'd get the textile medium. You have too much potential not to go for it. Your stripe design is amazing and your tape job looks perfect. I can't wait to see it next week!

  15. I am glad you are so far ahead of me bc I can really use the info you are finding about the paint. That's one of my all-time favorite rugs you are knocking off by the way!

  16. I found my fabric medium at JoAnn's but I am sure you already tried that store. I couldn't find it at first and it took me 30 minutes to find it with the store employee's help and it was at the most obvious spot ever - with all the other acrylic paint in the little bottles. DOH

    Oh oh I saw some fabric paint at Walmart just a week ago.. in the craft section.. try that? Unless you're already done with the rug :)

  17. I am glad that there are people out there like me :)
    I would be on plan H by now and probably ruined 2 or 3 rugs also. I gotta hand it to you though......I have a feeling that you will succeed and it will be fabulous!

  18. wowza great job. love the little kid crash moment too :)

  19. Sometimes it pays to procrastinate so you can learn from others. SO glad to read all this before I started painting! Love the pattern & you must have the patience only I can dream of!


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