Creating art underfoot is an easy step-by-step process, and no fancy supplies or skills are required. Just prime a piece of canvas, paint a design, and seal it with varnish. Our patterns are as simple to reproduce as scattering leaves from your backyard across a surface, marking stripes with tape rather than a ruler, tracing bowls for circles, and painting streaky brushstrokes on a grid. Use household tools and our stencils or create your own. Don't worry about perfect lines; these rugs are handcrafted and should look it. So go ahead -- make the floor your canvas.
These practical floorcloths are durable and inexpensive to make. They clean up with a damp mop and mild detergent. No wonder canvas rugs have been popular since colonial times. After the introduction of linoleum, they fell out of favor early in the last century. The craft was revived in the 1950s, when period rugs were made for historic homes. Modern materials have streamlined the technique; with today's quick-drying, water-based products, you can paint a rug this weekend and have it for years.
Use liquid acrylics (if you use heavy-body acrylics, which come in tubes, thin with water to the consistency of cream) and flat brushes in a variety of sizes. To match hues in your room's decor, you can mix tints: Combine titanium white with other colors for lighter shades, or add a dab of burnt umber to give an earthy tint. If you would like a warm, neutral background, paint the canvas with a wash of titanium buff (1 tablespoon paint mixed with 4 cups water). When customizing a shade of paint, you won't be able to reproduce it exactly once you've used it up, so don't skimp on amounts; to paint a solid color on a door-size canvas, you'll need about 2 cups. Use airtight jars to store the colors you've blended.
It's easiest to stretch the canvas over a hollow-core door, which is lightweight and just the right size for a rug. For other dimensions, you can also use plywood cut to size. We primed both sides for added durability.