You can make a beautiful stenciled floorcloth in just a weekend!
Stenciled floorcloths are painted canvas to lay on your floor. They can be plain or you can decorate them to make pieces of art to be walked on. This is a project you can complete in a weekend.
Materials and Tools for a Stenciled Floorcloth
(This post contains affiliate links to one or more of the items I used in this project – which means, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission. There is no added cost to you!)
- Floorcloth canvas: Using a pre-primed 2’x3′ canvas will save you some time. You can make your own if you need a different size.
- Stencil: I love the look of Damask and wanted to try it on a floorcloth for my home office
- Basecoat Paint: Latex wall paint (if you want to match or complement the color of your walls) or Artist Acrylics
- Stencil Paint: Artists Acrylics
- (optional) Polyurethane: to protect the stenciling
- Paint brush (for painting on the basecoat)
- 1/2″ to 3/4″ Stencil Brush
- Tape Measure
- Pencil and a non-marking eraser
- Thin string or thread
- Paper Towels
Prepare the Floorcloth Canvas
The day before you start on the project, unroll the floorcloth canvas and place it on a flat surface, curved-side down. You may want to weight the corners with books. The pre-primed floorcloths are primed so that the work surface is the side that is rolled to the inside. You want to let the floorcloth relax so it will lie flat.
When it has relaxed sufficiently, working on a protected surface, apply one to two coats of your basecoat paint, allowing each coat to dry before proceeding. The basecoat only needs to be applied to the work surface side of the floorcloth.
For my project, I used the blue paint that I put on the walls in the built-in sofa and bed section of my home office.
Measure for the Stencil
Find the horizontal and vertical centers of the floorcloth. Find the centers on each edge. I have found that these are not always perfectly square. You can mark these lightly with a pencil directly on the floorcloth or place a small piece of tape at the centers and mark on the tape, as shown in the picture.
Tape string between each of the centers to create center lines across the whole floorcloth.
Lay the stencil on the floorcloth. Use the center lines marked on the stencil to align to the strings. You will need to lift the stencil as you shift it around because the strings will shift as you move the stencil against them.
When you are as close to perfect alignment as you can get, tape the stencil to the floorcloth. Remove the tape from one end of a string. Pull up the other end and pull the string out from under the stencil.
Squeeze out a dollop of the stencil paint onto the palette. Lightly touch the end of the bristles onto the paint. Touch onto not push into the paint. On another part of the palette, swirl the bristles around to evenly distribute the paint on the ends of the bristles.
Hold your brush perpendicular to the stencil and, with a pouncing motion, start tapping the ends of the bristles onto the surface. You will need to go back to your dollop of paint to reload the brush when the paint application begins to fade. The pouncing technique with a dry brush allows you to stencil to achieve nice crisp edges and no bleed under the stencil.
Seriously! Do the pouncing! Here is a close-up of my stenciling. I took this picture in direct sunlight and no other photo touch-ups except to add my watermark.
Continue stenciling until you have completed the stencil.
Because I chose to do white on a dark color, I did a second coat of the white to give it a more striking contrast.
Reposition the Stencil
When you have finished the whole stencil, lift it off the floorcloth and reposition it. You may need to remove the tape you used for marking your center lines.
Where you reposition is up to your own artistic preference. Alternately, you can consider this to be the end of your project. It’s your project. You get to decide! If moving on, like I did, continue stenciling and reposition when necessary. If you plan to stencil over the edges, be sure to work on a protected surface.
When complete, erase your pencil marks or remove any remaining tape on which you made pencil marks.
Finished Damask Stenciled Floorcloth!
Protect the Floorcloth
If your stenciled floorcloth won’t get much (or any) traffic or if you plan to hang it on a wall, you can stop here. If you expect to place it in a medium or high traffic area, you can apply a protective coat of polyurethane. I prefer to spray the first coat of polyurethane for a thin first coat. I then follow it with one to two thicker coats that I brush on. Mostly it depends on how much traffic it will get.
You will want to place a non-skid pad under the floorcloth if you are using it on a smooth surface.
Remember to clean your stencils and brushes. I soak my stencils in Simple Green for half an hour then lightly brush off the paint with my stencil brush. Here is a video of me cleaning this stencil.