The Rug Experiment

This “experiment” took place this winter during (you guessed it) a snow day. This wasn’t just an “it snowed a little so the kids and I are out of school snow day.” This was a “it snowed a lot and we can’t go anywhere snow day.” Aaron and I had been working on a complete DIY serious budget bedroom redo and the bedroom rug was my next victim, I mean project. The rug had been something I hadn’t liked for a long time because it just lacked personality. In our house things MUST be functional and/or sentimental AND have personality in order to make the cut. If not it is an oversight and will be dealt with one of these days. The rug was a plain khaki color with a green border. It was boring and borderline ugly before, but with the new room it was boring, borderline ugly and it didn’t match. Important side note: I am not a believer that things should “match” and I actually typically like it much, much better when they don’t…but this room has evolved into one with an actual color scheme. I had seen a few pins on pinterest (Hello, my name is Kelli, and I am a pinterest addict) where people have painted rugs. If you do a search for painted rugs you can find a lot of various ideas, tutorials, completed projects. If you’re thinking about trying it I would get out there and explore what other people have pulled off.

I’m really bad to get visually inspired by an idea (hence the 5K pins I have pinned,) but I really like to figure out my own process for things. In other words, I like to take inspiring ideas and then create them without following directions. Ironic now that I am writing directions for this idea… Aaron is the opposite, he wants to know how seven different people completed the same project and pick the ideas that worked the best. That’s why the projects we tackle seem to be so vastly different and why when we collaborate on a project we have much debate first. (Not debate, constructive dialogue. -Aaron) Anyway, I decided I wanted to paint this rug and I was stuck at home so I decided to do it with materials and supplies I just had on hand. I wanted to pull in a variety of colors to our bedroom through the rug so I thought this would work well. I decided on a pattern that I saw on pinterest. I didn’t follow the link at the time or even before I wrote the first draft of this post, but when going back to dig in order to give proper credit I did check out the blog it was linked from and the tutorial that the blogger wrote about her project. It’s a very good tutorial. I would encourage you to check it out at:

The Little Black Door Painted Blog Home Page
The Little Black Door Rug Tutorial

And then I asked Aaron (the more meticulous of our duo) to tape out the pattern for me. Because this was a rug and I didn’t have to worry about it pealing any paint when I removed it I chose to use duct tape to tape it out. I had it on hand already, and I knew it would have a lot more “stick-to-iv-ness” than painters tape. I really didn’t want my stripes to bleed through so I chose to use this heavy duty serious business option. I would never use duct tape on a wall or anything with a finish- or even on a rug in an area that had already been painted.

Aaron doing the part I don't have the patience for. (We make a great team!)

Aaron doing the part I don’t have the patience for. (We make a great team!)

First he taped the outside edge.  Next he went corner to corner to make a big X.  Then he measured out each row from there.

First he taped the outside edge. Next he went corner to corner to make a big X. Then he measured out each row from there.

Next I got out my paint supply which was comprised of a bunch of acrlyic paints in a variety of brands. I went for a mixed-matched organic design so the colors jumped around rather than following a specific pattern. What color to put next decisions were made visually as I painted and then stepped back and kept refocusing on the rug for balance. I find it very helpful to take some photos as I go, walk away a minute and then look at the photo. For some reason things jump out at me in a photograph that I don’t notice when it’s right in front of me. I do this with my paintings A LOT. I also began running out of some colors (and I can’t go anywhere- I’m snowed in) so this made some decisions for me. I mixed some colors myself because I wanted to give a variety of shades to the colors. I went for a light application rather than dousing the rug in paint so it would be soft on my feet later and I also used a large stencil brush to apply it so I could limit any chance of the paint bleeding under my taped lines.

I went very light with my coat.  I only did one coat and didn't use any special fabric paint or sealer.

I went very light with my coat. I only did one coat and didn’t use any special fabric paint or sealer.

After a few hours I pulled up the tape and then let the rug dry the rest of the way.

Almost dry!

Almost dry!

Finally dry! (Why is waiting on things to dry so hard for me?)

Finally dry! (Why is waiting on things to dry so hard for me?)

I really, really liked my finished product, but after laying it in our bedroom Aaron and I agreed that it just didn’t look right in there. I was trying to bring in more colors into the room, but sticking to the pallet was creating a much more “relaxing” vibe to the room that I wanted to keep going. So…after a house walk through I found a new home for the rug in our dining room. That room needed a rug and it needed a punch of color.

It looks great in the dining room!

It looks great in the dining room!

Incidently, our bedroom is still without a rug…it’s on the “to do” list in order to complete the bedroom. I’ve been on the lookout for an inexpensive rug that I can paint the way I want it or a rug that already would be a perfect fit for that space. I see myself painting many more rugs in the future in order to get a one-of-a-kind-just-what-I-have-in-my-brain finished product. But, I’m not in a hurry…when the idea hits me I will know.




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