Make a Floor Cloth: The Colorful Canvas Carpet

Protect wood floors and decorate your home with beautiful floor cloths you sew and paint yourself.

| June/July 2006

Hand-painted floor cloths are a great alternative to area rugs. Not only are they economical and simple to make, they’re also a perfect combination of beauty and practicality. Custom canvas floor cloths allow you to create designs in any size and color to match both your home and your budget.

Floor cloths add warmth to cold floors and won’t collect dust or dust mites like high pile rugs and carpeting. Plus, they can stand up to years of heavy traffic and will wipe clean with a damp mop. Floor cloths have a thick polyurethane finish applied over several coats of paint, which strengthens the surface, yet keeps it flexible.

The same basic steps are used in every project: 1. Prepare the canvas. 2. Paint the floor cloth. 3. Seal the finished piece. The essential supplies are inexpensive and easy to find at paint, craft and hardware stores — you probably already have many of the things you’ll need in your basement or garage.

How to Make Floor Cloths

Before you begin, set up a work space where you can leave the floor cloth to dry undisturbed for several hours. This space should be dust-free, well-lit and well-ventilated. To allow paint fumes to dissipate, plan to leave windows open, or consider choosing an area in a garage or outbuilding. A card table works well for small projects, though you may need to use 8-foot tables or the floor for larger floor cloths. Cover your work area with plastic and tape the edges down to prevent it from slipping.

Step 1: Shrink the canvas. Canvas is made of 100 percent cotton, so it should be preshrunk before painting. When purchasing canvas, allow at least 6 extra inches in all directions to allow for shrinkage and hemming. To shrink the canvas, lay it on the plastic and smooth it out as much as possible. With a large sponge, soak the canvas by scrubbing hot water onto the entire surface. When the surface has been uniformly soaked, roll over the wet canvas and soak the other side. Leave the canvas flat and allow it to dry completely. Drying may take a day or two, depending on humidity levels.

Step 2: Cut the canvas. Choose the size of your floor cloth, then add 2 inches to the length and width to allow for a hem. Double-check all the measurements, then cut the canvas with sharp fabric scissors using long, firm strokes.

11/8/2017 4:50:39 AM

Hi - this site is still inspirational even though I am now writing this 10 years since it was set up. As a re-use/recycle/upcycle charity, we have just been offered an entire hotels worth of good quality cotton sheets. Not canvas I know but we are thinking to double/triple over sheets to make a backing layer then adding a painted and treated top layer. Any thoughts?? Beverley

3/27/2016 7:03:16 PM

Any suggestions if I have a piece of canvas that already has a great pattern printed on it?

Heaven Scent Farms
6/19/2009 4:42:00 PM

Tina, There is an image gallery. Click on that and your mitered corner is in there. My pictures didn't show either but I was able to see them in the gallery.

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