before and after · DIY · Painting



Years ago I made my living as a decorative artist.  Ok, I’ll clarify and say with my husband working a full time job, I was able to pursue a career in my “spare time” as a decorative artist.  By spare time I mean that we had three kids so it was something I could do on my schedule.  Sounds complicated,  but like many families out there, we made it work.

At one point, I discovered floorcloths. Canvas primed and painted to match any decor, polyurethaned for durability and ease of clean-up.

floorcloth blog-floorcloth tiger floorcloth

I sold them at craft fairs, art galleries, gift stores, on line – any way I could think of.  I once sent photos of some to Home Decorating magazines in hopes of being picked up by just one.  It did happen, and my floorcloth was photographed in a minor celebrity’s home for a major magazine, and also was seen on a Home Decorating TV program (which is no longer on the air waves – so you’ll just have to take my word for it…).

Experimenting with things in a more simplified way I discovered I could make a floorcloth without all the hassle of cutting, gluing edges and priming by just using vinyl flooring!

To show you what I mean, I picked up some scrap vinyl flooring – I tried to find the cushiest flooring possible – something like Fibre Floor would be ideal. ( I used that brand once to replace a bathroom floor and it’s kind of spongy and cuts like butta.)  No such luck this time, but the one I chose is still pretty good, UGLY, but good.

(Don’t worry what it looks like) IMG_0293  IMG_0327  IMG_0328  Cut it to size,

IMG_0330  flip it over, ( you need to do this step if it has a shiny finish, using the other side could cause paint adherence problems with the finish on the vinyl – but you could prime it with a plastic primer.  Sometimes the edges refuse to stay flat when you turn it over.  You can test it and see, if it tends to curl up when on the reverse side, just paint the right side with the plastic primer and you should be good to go).

For the design, look for inspiration around your house – a pattern you love, a colour combo you’ve wanted to try, as simple or as intricate as you want or think you can handle.


These are beautiful little coasters daughter number #1 made for me.

IMG_0342  A plate with damask pattern,

magazine photos, IMG_0338 IMG_0335

and in the end, I prefer the KISS method – (keep it simple, stupid)….

IMG_0334   Paint the main colour, and let it dry- no priming or folding edges needed – side note – you could cut the vinyl to any shape you want – or easier yet, buy a ready made vinyl mat and paint over that.

Time for the chalk ….  IMG_0344

Draw out your pattern, and start painting!  IMG_0346 IMG_0347 IMG_0349 IMG_0348 IMG_0350

I used dollar store craft paint and left-over latex house paint.  It doesn’t really matter what paint you use, you will probably want to brush or roll water based polyurethane on it when you’re done, if for no other reason but to keep any white paint, well, white!  It makes it easier for wiping up spills etc.  Since I will be using this by my kitchen sink,  garbage will for sure hit that mat no less than 80 times a day. (You probably think I’m exaggerating, but sadly if anything, I am being gracious.)   I don’t recommend oil based polyurethane, it tends to yellow over time.

And there you have it!  Cheap like borsht, pretty like a pony, durable like the Rock of Gibraltar and you made it yourself – or at least you should!


32 thoughts on “Floored!

  1. I’m always looking for rugs to match existing decor. Apparently what my min thinks is simple, common and awesome doesn’t exist in retail. I will have to try this!

    1. I agree! Sometimes not finding what you want in the stores forces you to figure out something else. I do hope you’ll try – even if it doesn’t work out, it’s an inexpensive DIY. The whole piece was $18.00 and there’s enough for another – or two!

  2. That is brilliant! After 17 years, we still don’t have a rug in our dining room, because I can’t bear to see a beautiful wool rug get slopped with soup, squashed food, etc. A vinyl mat would be perfect. Do you put something on the other side—felt? a grippy pad?—to keep the mat from sliding around on a hardwood floor?

    1. Perfect for dining rooms with a few tips – make sure the rug is big enough to fully pull your chairs out, catching on the edge over and over may make the edge curl up. Roll the vinyl the wrong way up and let it stay that way for a week or so ( the side you will paint -so it’s memory goes and it will lie flat- the thicker the Lino the heavier it is and the less it will curl – .)and although the weight of the table should keep it from skidding, I use the waffley foam underlay. And in a pinch, double sided tape – although I don’t know how long before it damages the floor. Whew! I’d love to see it when you’re done!

    2. I just thought of another solution for your dining room rug – I may even do one and post about it, but if you got a tablecloth in the size you wanted for your dining room floor, you could just apply water based polyurethane directly onto the tablecloth with a roller. It will be hemmed already, flat, and with the polyurethane, wipe-able!

  3. Love this! My BFF uses dropcloths since they are already hemmed. I think Big Lots carries 9×6 rolls of vinyl flooring. I tried the dropcloth method, but putting the primer on was nearly impossible. I think the flooring would be MUCH easier. This would be perfect in my new room!

  4. I was just telling Mr. H.C. about old-fashioned floor cloths and here is your post! And I would have never found you, if you hadn’t stopped by my blog first. Thanks!
    The thing is we have one LR rug in our city house, but the cottage house — where we will be moving permanently this summer (or so….) has a combined DR and LR. the room is bigger and we need another rug and how to match? Hah! Paint one up, right?

  5. This is fascinating! I love your ideas–and I’m not the DIY type because I’m all thumbs. But you make me think I might be able to do this! Thanks so much. And thanks for stopping by my blog–appreciate that, too.

  6. I’m so excited! I live in a rental and can’t change the ugly floors. But, I can do this AND I’m about to go crazy with it. I’ll send pics. Thank you so much sista.

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