You know those old sayings, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" or "measure twice, cut once"? I must admit that when I was a young adult, I thought that those were just sayings. Then, when my husband and I decided to paint our old Victorian home, I thought a nice soft yellow would be a great color (the house was white). So I went to the paint store, selected a color card. My husband had the brilliant idea of having the primer tinted just one shade lighter than the color I chose so we could see how we liked the color before we had actually painted the house.
Well, let me tell you, I'm so glad we did this. Once the contractors had applied the primer, my house wasn't a nice soft shade of yellow! Nope! It was so bright I needed sunglasses to keep from going blind. Okay, I'm exaggerating but not by much. Since then, I always make trial boards. In the spirit of "measuring twice, cutting once," I'm going to share with you a tutorial on how to make a floor cloth. A floor cloth is a great way to try out stenciling or painting on a floor or rug without the commitment or expense.
Now, if you're wondering what a floor cloth is, it's what it sounds like. It's a piece of cloth that has been prepared, decorated, and sealed so it can be used on the floor. It's durable and adds a nice splash of color or pattern to a room. You can make them as small or large as you'd like.
Since today is a tutorial, we are going to gain experience without a lot of cost. So, let's gather supplies first:
- 1 yard of 100% cotton duck cloth canvas
- Latex enamel paint
- Acrylic paints
- Water based polyurethane
- Sewing Machine Thread
I picked up my canvas at Wal-Mart for $5.97/yard. This will be enough to make two "throw-sized" floor cloths. My latex enamel paint was a mis-tint from Home Depot and was $5 (I used about 1/3 of the quart).
Prepare Your Canvas
- You need to pre-shrink your canvas before applying the paint. Now since our project is small, I tossed mine into the washer & dryer...NO FABRIC SOFTENER. This is not how you would prepare a canvas that is larger because it would become a wrinkly mess and there is virtually no way to iron out the wrinkles. Also, the crease in the fabric from where it was folded on the bolt WILL NOT iron out. So, the fabric will be enough to make two floor cloths.
- On the cotton setting, with spray, iron your fabric and remove as many wrinkles as you possibly can.
- Using the original "fabric bolt" fold as a guide, cut your fabric into two pieces. Then lay out your fabric and cut to the desired size (allowing a 1" hem on all 4 sides).
Create A Mitered Corner
- Press a 1" seam around all 4 sides of your canvas. (I will refer to the side that "shows" the folded edges as the wrong side and the other side as the right side". Using a marker or pencil, mark the intersection where the two seams cross in each corner.
- Folding your fabric toward the right side (it will seem funny because it's going against the fold), bring the two marks together and fold the fabric diagonally.
- Sew a diagonal seam from the point where the pressed seams intersect to the two marks on the canvas.
- Trim off the excess fabric to remove the bulk.
- Turn the seam and flatten. Use the tip of your scissors or a butter knife to push out the corners so they are nice and square.
Finish Prepping Your Canvas
- Press your newly mitered corners and all around the edges of your canvas.
- Sew the edges of your canvas to make a nice, finished edge.
Okay, now that our canvas is prepped, are you ready to get painting? You will need to apply your base coats with a latex enamel paint. Do NOT use regular latex paint...it MUST be latex enamel. This is a much more durable paint that won't crack. I found a this mis-tint at Home Depot.
Painting Your Floor Cloth
- You will want to paint your canvas on a tarp and on a flat surface. With the right side down, paint over the seams (folded edges). This will keep the floor cloth from fraying. Dry thoroughly
- Flip your floor cloth over so the right side is up. Starting at one corner, apply your first coat of paint. Try to apply your paint in the same direction. It will take more paint than you think since the fabric will soak it up. Once it is completely covered allow it to dry.
- Apply a second coat of paint and allow to dry thoroughly.
Now it's time to decorate your floor cloth. I did mine free hand but you can use stencils, masking tape to create stripes, or whatever you's like.
- Gather the acrylic paints that you'd like to use to decorate your floor cloth.
- Paint/stencil/mask the design you'd like. Have fun! Trust me, it'll look GREAT! Allow your floor cloth to dry over night.
- Now you need to seal your floor cloth. Apply 2-3 coats of a water based polyurethane. I used Polycrylic but a water based polyurethane for floors would also work well.
Now place your floor cloth in your room! I made mine to put in my woman cave next to my painted/upholstered chair.
Here's a view of my floor cloth in my woman cave. I think it looks amazing, don't you?
I hope you try making a floor cloth too! I think I'll try making a long runner for my hallway upstairs! If you like this project, you should stop by my Woman Cave post. This room used to be an old side porch that was just a storage dump place in our house. In this room, I made a floor out of paper bags & RIT dye, I reupholstered the chair, I decoupaged the desk, I made the sewing machine cover,and more! You can find the links to all these proejets by going to...