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How To Paint a Rug on a Hardwood Floor

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Remember about a year ago when I posted about my kitchen and mudroom floor getting refinished?  Since then I have been wanting to paint an area rug on the floor in the mudroom where I had the floor refinishing contractor leave an unfinished spot.

It is a wide room where a rug is needed to add visual interest, but since the room gets high traffic I found that a rug became a tripping hazard.

When we first moved into the house I found this out the hard way and ended up painting a rug on the floor using a stencil and craft paint instead. It held up beautifully for 20 years. You can see the post I wrote about it here, How To Paint a Rug on a Floor.

I kept putting off painting a new rug because I could not decide between making a “rug” inspired by a…

Dash and Albert Mellie Stripe Rug

… a Dash & Albert rug or a…

Flor Parallel reality carpet squares

…this FLOR Parallel Reality rug. I love them both!

Anyway, I finally made my decision, after I heard myself say, “Why not do a little of both?” 

That is what I did…

Mudroom-Decorating-Ideas-for-floors

I have to admit, this was labor intensive.  I lost 4 pounds simply because I had to move up and down and all around the rug so much to create every stripe a different color. I guess I can view that as a good thing, right? :-)

Paint a rug on a floor using a FLOR or Dash and Albert rug as inspiration

A quick overview of how to paint a rug on the floor. Full tutorial follows:

I chose to use the FLOR rug design since it made the painting process doable and use the colors from the Dash & Albert rugs I love so much for the color choices. FLOR rugs are made by putting squares of carpet together to get a custom look and size rug.

After I primed the floor and it was dry, I created a grid of squares on the primed floor.  This made it easier to create lots of short stripes. If I had made the rug like the Dash & Albert, it would have been a nightmare trying to get each long stripe straight. Working in the grid plan made it doable.

I made two stencils to use to paint the stripes.  On the first stencil, I created cutouts for odd number stripes. When those were dried, I laid the second stencil over it that had even number stripes. These stripes butt right against the odd number in each square, so when I removed it the square was filled with stripes. I repeated this process for each square on the grid.

What-paint-to-use-when-painting-a-floor

If you have stenciled before, you now that you can have bleed through of paint under the stencil if you use too much paint. I knew this would happen, but I planned for it.  After all the stripes were done, I fixed the bleed through in a super simple way that became part of the rug design. I used the best invention ever that hides a multitude of sins…A Krylon paint pen!  I have photos below showing the details.

I really love how the rug turned out, but with our plans to move, I won’t be able to enjoy it for long. :-(

How to Paint a Rug On the Floor

supplies needed from your local True Value:

Preparing The Floor

How-to-prime-and-paint-a-floor

My floor was sanded to the bare wood. I cleaned it well with detergent and a damp rag, then rinsed and dried it off with a towel. I let it dry overnight.

1. Mask out area you want to paint with Painter’s Tape. Use a paint roller to apply a paint primer. I used 2 coats, letting the first one dry before applying the second.

Floor decorating ideas

2. Remove tape before second coat of primer dries. If you let the primer dry first, you run the risk of pulling some of the primer off with it.

Designing the Rug Pattern

Painted FLOR rug design

1. Measure rug area to figure out how big to make your squares.  My rug is  53-1/2″ x 65″.  With a few calculations with the calculator on my cellphone I figured the squares should be 13″ x 13.18″.  I cut a square of foam core to this size. (If your square is not completely square like mine was, make sure to mark the side that is longer. It will be important later to know this.)

2. I randomly drew lines on the cut-out square using a ruler and pencil to create various widths of stripes. I made 9 stripes in the square. In order they approx. each measure:  1-3/4″, 1-1/2″, 3/4″, 1-5/8″, 3/4″, 1-1/4″, 2″, 3/4″, 3″

How to design a FLOR rug on a floor

3. Use the cut-out square to create a grid pattern of squares on your primed rug area. Simply place the square in the bottom left corner and line it up with the primed edges. Use a pencil to lightly draw a line around the square. Move the square to the right, line it up and trace around it. Keep moving the square across the floor and then above the first row of squares tracing the square until you have the area covered in a grid pattern.

How to design a rug to paint on a floor

4.  I used acetate sheets that I bought at my office supply store to make my stencil, but you can find acetate sheets to make stencils at the craft store. You need to make sure the acetate is larger all around than your square so you have excess all around. This will help you position the stencil over each square and keep paint off other squares as you paint.

5. I used clear tape to attach the acetate sheets to create two large sheets.

6. I laid the first sheet over the foam core with the drawn lines and traced the lines to the acetate with a marker.  I repeated the process on the second sheet.

Tutorial-on-making-a-FLOR-design-carpet-into-a-stencil-for-a-painted-floor

7. I marked every other stripe on the first sheet with a #1. I did the same on the second sheet, but marked it with #2. You can see when they are laid on top of each other how the stripes will line up.

painted-rug-on-a-floor

8. Use a marker to mark the top and bottom of the stencils so you know you are placing it correctly on the floor each time you start to paint.

9. Use a craft knife to cut out all the number #1’s on the first sheet and #2’s on the second sheet.

How to Paint The Rug on the Floor

Hoe-to-stencil-a-floor
How to paint a design on a floor

1. I tried different methods to paint the stripes and found using a small firm sea sponge or foam pouncer was better than a stencil brush or paint brush.


2. Line up the first stencil in a square in the center of the rug and work to the outer edges. (This will be easier than having to stretch over the outside to get to the inside squares to paint.) Use the marker lines on the acetate to line up with the square grid lines you drew on the floor.

3. Paint each stripe a different color. When finished, remove stencil and the square will look like the photo on the right above.  Let this dry and move to another square away from this one as you don’t want to smudge the wet paint in the square you just painted.

Mudroom-Rug-painted-FLOR-1

I used 15 different colors over the entire rug.  There was no method of where I placed a color other than visually seeing that each color was represented evenly throughout the rug.

Step-by-step-how-to-paint-a-floor

You will need to work on random squares that are not next to each other so you don’t smudge the paint as it dries. When a square is dry, you can paint the square next to it.

I folded a large beach towel in half to help me slide across the floor to easily paint the outer squares, but for the center ones, I stood over the rug and reached down to apply the paint.

How to paint a striped rug on a floor

I kept a wet rag nearby to clean up smudges.

It took 2 days, about 5 hours each day to get the stripes painted on. If the stencil was still wet and I wanted to use another color to start painting another square, I had to let it dry first. This is what made the process take longer. If I had only used a few colors of paint or created more stencil sheets the painting would have gone much faster.

How-to-make-a-stencil

After the first day, I laid the stencils on a piece of foam core to keep them flat until I could work on the floor again.

Tutorial-on-how-to-paint-a-rug-on-a-floor

Once all the paint was dry, I used a Krylon Paint Pen in Gloss White to create a thin white stripe between each color. It hides all the imperfections in the outer lines of the colored stripes.

How-to-paint-a-rug-on-a-wood-floor

I let these lines dry overnight and then used Minwax Polyurethane to seal the rug.

Tips For Applying Polyurethane Over a Painted Rug:

  • I used 3 coats, letting each one dry before applying the next.
  • When applying the poly make sure you use a high quality brush made for polyurethane that will not shed bristles. You don’t want these getting embedded in the dried polyurethane.
  • Do not shake the can, stir the poly gently so you don’t create air bubbles.
  • Apply the poly at night when the house is still, have a second person check over it to make sure no dirt, bugs, or hair has stuck in it before it starts to dry.  If a bug gets embedded like happened to mine, use a piece of 220 sandpaper over it to remove it, then clean off and dab with a little bit of poly.  Let dry.
  • Let the polyurethane cure for a few days before walking over the rug.
How to paint a rug on a floor inspired by a FLOR or Dash & Albert Rug. Step-by-step tutorial shows you how. | In My Own Style

I plan to paint all the walls a creamy white to keep the focus on the floor.  With our plans to move, I have changed what I am doing in the room. I will be sharing them with you soon.

Other DIY projects in the room:

City Signs above the 3 clocks on the wall

No Sew Relaxed Roman Window Shades

Map Covered Storage Boxes

Decorating with paint. Step by step tutorial on how to paint a colorful striped rug on a floor that uses rugs from Dash & Albert and FLOR as inspiration. | In My Own Style

This post is sponsored by True Value Hardware; thank you so much for supporting the sponsors that make In My Own Style possible. All content and opinions are my own. 

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25 Comments

  1. I love it BUT I just hope you don’t ever change your mind. I would have done this on a jute rug or something. Not on my beautful flloors. :)

  2. Diane, I am totally in awe: because the rug is beautiful; you figured out how to do it: how to create the stencils; what method is best to apply the paint; and you obviously don’t have back or knee pain…or if you do, you soldiered on. Great job, girl. I love it!

    1. Thanks Patricia – There were a few moments when I got a little overwhelmed, but I did get past them knowing if I just stayed focused I would get it done. I do have a bum right knee – no ACL and have lower back problems since I was a teen. I work out to keep them both limber, if I didn’t I would not be able to do a project like this. :-)

  3. You posted about restoring your bathroom to “neutral” before showing it. What’s involved in neutralizing the rug? Something easier than sanding/refinishing the floor, I hope…

    1. Hi Jennifer – I have been jumping around with projects in my house and for different blogs besides mine. I have been neutralizing almost everything I can in my house, but the rug will stay just as it is. If the new owners don’t want it, they could sand it off and refinish the area or they could put a gripping primer over it and paint a new rug on top. If I had known we were going to move I would not have started the rug. I was in the process of painting it when we decided to move. It was too late at that point to do anything but go forward. Once the house is ready for sale, I will post the photos of each room to show how I have neutralized as much as possible.

  4. What a wonderful and inspirational rug…. the patience is what is needed and I am not that patient, but that is quite amazing to see, and how affective..you truly are very gifted.. well done and thank you for sharing too.

  5. Fabulous DIane, now that is a labor of love and patience I cant imagine , Congratulations

  6. AMAZEBALLS!!!!! That is so beautiful. I love the colors. I would love to have a rug like that. My husband would have my hide if I painted on our floors (and they are only wood laminate!). You always do such beautiful work and you always inspire me, so I may have to figure out a creative way to get something like that without painting on the floor (I kind of like my hide)! Thank you for sharing.

  7. do you paint your ceilings the same color as your walls I have popcorn ceilings and I hate them

    1. Hi DJ – I only have one room in my house, master bath where the color on the walls and ceilings is the same. The room is two stories with an angled ceiling. It is easier to just make everything the same color. In all the other rooms of my house I like the ceilings to be flat white and the walls to be a softer white or color in an eggshell sheen.

  8. I LOVE and ADORE this rug!!!!!!!!!! The colors just speak to me!! I don’t think I could ever do one that neat and even, nor take the time to do it (I still work full time). BUT, whoever buys your house will be getting a buy of a lifetime!! SO many cute, smart, doable projects in one house!! Yay for you! Your work is awesome, just awesome!!

  9. Okay, I have been waiting (patiently) for you to do and show us this. It is for sure, worth the waiting!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. I want to copy it for my living room. Did I miss how large it is? Cause I sure can not afford a rug as large as I want, plus, I was wanting a indoor, outdoor rug (5 puppies and 4 kitty kats ya know), and I just can not find one that I could even hope to afford. I so love this rug….. did I tell you that?

    How much did all the paint and pens cost? Cause I am sure going to do this one sometime in the next few months. I so love this.

  10. Diane what a happy vibrant area! I love all the gorgeous colors! Now after two days on the floor how are your knees and back? What did you do to protect them? Good thing you have been exercising! The rug is a wonderful pop. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks Linda – I learned many years ago never to bend down on my knees, instead I sat with both legs off to one side and slide around on a towel. I stood up and bent over to do the center sections. To help my back from getting out of line, I went for a walk around my neighborhood after each painting session. Doing that helped alleviate stiffness in my back. :-)

      1. Thanks to you (I think! Ha) I just ordered that Dash and Albert rug! I would love to be able to paint it but I have tile floors so this was the way to go. Thanks for your inspiration!

      2. What a fabulous job you did with the colors Diane. I’m curious if you used Adobe Illustrator or some other graphics software to plan it all out first?

        1. Hi Dawn. No I didn’t use any graphics software. I got the inspiration from FLOR carpet tiles. I figured out how big each square needed to be first so I would have equal sized squares both length and width. Once I had the square size, I made a drawing using a pencil and a ruler on a large piece of paper so that I could then make the 2 stencils needed to paint the design on the rug. I am sure you could do the design on Illustrator or Photoshop, but then I would have to pay to get it printed to size at a copy shop. I can only print on 8 1/2 x 11 paper at home.