Done gone painted my rug

Last year I tried to find the rug I wanted for about 6 months. I never really did, but I did have a thought- what if I got a carpet remnant bound and then painted it? I could get exactly what I wanted, in the colors I wanted. I immediately got a rug after that. I went to a local carpet warehouse and talked to them about what I was going to do and got some good input, as well as a great deal on a remnant. They bound it for me and my total cost was about $250 for a 9' by 12' rug. Such an amazing deal for a rug that size, even if it was just plain grey. They even gave me several largish scraps for free so I could try some different painting methods out.

I've thought about what I wanted to do with it for about 6 months. I wanted to bring in some green and some blue as well as cream, but I really couldn't decide on a pattern. I thought about something floral, but ruled it out because I kind of wanted something less traditional and lots of fun. I thought about something geometric and that really appealed to me because it would be simple and still look really nice. I had lots of ideas, but nothing I actually wanted to commit to (obviously, since the rug was blank for 6 months).

Then, just a few weeks ago, it hit me. FAUX BOIS. That's French for "fake wood," pretty much. I've seen it around a lot lately, like this quilt here and this post at Design Sponge. I absolutely loved it here, when Mandy painted a floor. But even then it didn't occur to me as a rug design. Then it hit me (it was totally a cartoon light bulb kind of moment) and a few days later I got to it.

Before I started, though, I decided to search "faux bois rugs" and some awesome stuff popped up. I liked this one a ton and decided that's what I'd go for. A few hours of painting and here it is:
 I pretty much love it. I free handed it all and just went with whatever. It worked ok, but in retrospect I do wish I'd planned a little more, maybe by making a template and then marking the rug with a grid using painter's tape. Even with all the little weird bits, I still love it.
I also love this effect:

 Because of how the living room is lit, as you walk in the pattern looks very subtle. You almost don't notice it. Then you sit down on the couch and it's like BAM!

Here's how I painted my medium pile rug without making it all crusty and unpleasant to the touch. Before I perfected my method, I experimented with both latex and acrylic paints, mixing in different things, applying it different ways, and post application treatments. I could have kept experimenting, but I found one that worked and I was out of carpet scraps to experiment on so I stuck with it.

These were my materials:

Acrylic paint, textile medium, water, sponge brush, PAPER TOWELS, and a stiff bristle scrub brush. Nothing too crazy, right?

1.  I mixed the paint and textile medium as per the instructions on the textile medium bottle, which I believe were to mix 2 parts paint to one part medium.

2.  Then to that mix I added some water. I always just eyeballed it, but I would guess it was about 4 parts paint mix to 1 part water. Give or take.

3.  Then I painted. Every 4-5 feet I would stop and take some slightly damp paper towels and scrub over the line(s) I had painted. I did that to take up excess paint and to spread around any uneven bits my brush had left. THIS STEP IS THE VERY MOST IMPORTANT ONE. Seriously, scrub and scrub with those paper towels. Also make sure you're following your lines as you scrub so you don't spread paint to parts that aren't supposed to be painted. I think I used a whole roll of paper towels for my rug.

4.  Then you let it all dry overnight. It will be at least a little stiff the next morning. Some parts might feel pretty bad, even. Don't despair, though!

5.  This is what the stiff bristle brush is for. You have to get down on your knees and scrub the lines and break those little paint covered carpet fibers apart. I thought I'd have to go over everything, but after some very thorough vacuuming there were only a few parts that needed extra attention.

And there you have it- a painted rug that's not flat woven and is still soft and awesome. The possibilities with this are endless- what if you wrote lyrics to a favorite song or words to a favorite poem on a rug (you could use a washable marker to write things out first, then trace over with the paint)? I don't think I'm finished painting this one yet, I've got the urge to add more color already.

PS- That rug I liked to above is almost a thousand bucks and is an 8'x10'. Mine was $260 ($250 for the rug, $10 in materials) and is a 9'x12'. I feel pretty good about that.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

Great job! I love how it looks different depending on the angle. Well done.

We did a similar thing, but we did it the easier and a bit more expensive way. We purchased a textured remnant and had it bound. I have no idea how much it cost, but it worked great in the space.