Rug-painting process

Ok, so here goes:

I started with a large Erslev IKEA rug. It’s a flat woven cotton rug, which makes it nice and smooth to paint on.

PaintRug1£21 – oh, the bargain!

Anyway, lay it out flat anywhere around your house where you’ve got room. We were nearly disqualified on this point as we live in a shoebox for fairies. I’ve seen a few projects like these on American blogs, where they have simply painted the rugs in places such as ‘the laundry room’, ‘the spare room’ or ‘the mud room’. In our house ‘spare room’ is like ‘left-over wine’ – we don’t have any and barely know what it is. So, lay the rug out flat, like so:

PaintRug2I put a drop sheet underneath it, just in case, and I’m glad I did as the paint did bleed through in a couple of places. Now, measure the rug and divide the total length by how many stripes you want (in my case, black AND white stripes). I wanted my rug to begin and end with the same colour, so I divided the total length by 9 and got…


… 27.1111111cm. Equals 27cm. Tape off the stripes you want to paint. Remember to subtract the width of the masking tape from the stripes you’re not painting – the edge of the masking tape with be the line between white and black stripes. It’ll make sense in the below picture. Also – use Frogtape. I know, it’s a lot more expensive than regular masking tape, but OH. MY. GOD. THE. DIFFERENCE! Worth every penny. Don’t be cheap, just do it.


Press the tape in properly, like so:


I folded the tape around the edges of the rug just to be sure it would stay in place.


As to not confuse my little brain, I marked the gaps between the masking tape strips that were being painted – just to be sure. I just used a pencil and put large and clear ‘X’s that were easy to spot.


Now it was time to paint! I used a small roller and plain old normal emulsion paint for this, which was absolutely fine. I do wish I had thinned the paint out with a little water, as I struggled to get the paint into all the nooks and crannies of the weave and ended up having to go over it with a paintbrush when I was all done. Nothing too painful, but still.


See how the white lines look smaller? Yeah, that’s what I meant before.


I already knew I was going to love it at this point!

I removed the masking tape as soon as I was finished painting, before the paint dried. Leaving the rug to dry was the hardest part of the entire project, but after 12 hrs I figured it was fine. I took one last snap shot of it resting in the living  room:


And that was it! Now it prides the floor of our dining room, and although it is taking a bit of getting used to to lift our chairs a little higher when we’re sitting down or getting up from the table, we LOVE it!

Happy ending:


Budget breakdown:

Rug: £21

Paint: Already had it, so £0

Roller, tray and paintbrush: Already had it so, £0

TOTAL: £21

Not bad for a completely bespoke rug, huh?