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How to Paint a Rug Correctly and Make it Last

Beth from Home Stories A to Z was inspired by all the gorgeous painted rugs that other DIYers have created. She made a quick run to IKEA and snatched up a flat weave rug to make her own.

Beth knew she wanted a rug with fifteen stripes that started and ended with colored stripes. From there, she just had to do a little math, and she shares her clever tip to make measuring and taping much simpler.

Follow exactly what Beth does, and your rug will be spot on with both Beth’s end result and her inspiration rug.

How to Paint a Striped Rug

What You Need to Paint a Striped Rug

The supplies Beth used for this project are equal parts materials and products that help you do the job right so your rug turns out well.

Woven Rug to Fit Your Space

Obviously you need a rug for this, and Beth gives you some places to look for a good woven one. If you plan to put your rug outdoors, it’s best to stick to an outdoor rated rug so it will last longer.

Good Quality Paint Lasts Longer

Next is a paint color of your choice. Since this is paint you will walk on, it’s best to use a high-quality brand to give the rug the best chance at longevity.

Primer isn’t required here, but an indoor/outdoor paint will be a little more robust.

To apply the paint, a good foam roller will be just fine. Go with a small one, 2″ to 4″.

Tape, Smoother, and Paint Stick Are Your Friends

It’s clear from Beth’s tutorial that these items are necessary and crucial to getting your paint on evenly and cleanly.

If you’re going for stripes like Beth, she explains the math to simply divide the length of your rug by the number of stripes. That will be your stripe width.

How to keep the stripes even?

Easy…You want Even Steven, right? Simply, cut a paint stir stick to the width of your painted stripe. Then as you lay down your tape strips for masking, simply use the cut paint stick as a guide from one edge to the other.

This is much more accurate and easier than trying to measure and mark each stripe. That just sounds painful!

What about paint bleeding?

Smoothing Scraper Tool

Smoothing tool

There are three tricks to this.  Here is Part 1: It starts with ensuring you flatten the tape completely once it’s aligned and pressed down.

To do this, Beth used a wallpaper smoother tool and really went over all the tape. It gets smashed in and smoothed this way better than any other method.

Rug Painting Tips

So now your rug has perfectly straight and smooth-downed painters tape lined across the short side of your rug. What’s next?

Paint the right (correct) stripes!

The first wonderful tip Beth offers here is to simply place some diagonal tape pieces in the tape lanes that you’re not going to paint. It’s just a way to not have to “think” as Beth puts it, and to make sure you paint the stripes in the right places!

How to Preserve Your New Rug
Beth offers advice for preserving your creation with a sprayed on protector. It’s good for both the rug and the painted area to guard against stains and dirt. Both of these are enemies of carpet and rugs, so it’s a good idea to use it.
Fabric Protector Spray and Stain Guard

High Quality Fabric Protector Spray

No bleeding

As mentioned before, there are three ways to help eliminate paint bleeding:

1. Smoothed down tape will definitely help against paint seeping under the tape and crossing the line so to speak. You did this, right?

2. How you roll your paint on is also important.

Beth recommends to always start rolling paint on top of the painter’s tape. From there, you can push paint away from the tape, toward the center of the field. Do this on both sides of the stripe borders, and you won’t be pushing paint into your tape edges.

For the middle, just use short back and forth motions to fill in any thin areas left in this area.

3. The final secret to maintaining perfectly straight and full edges is to lift off your tape before the paint is totally dry.

So, within 30 minutes or so of painting your stripes, gently lift off your painter’s tape. If you wait until it’s dry, you risk peeling off some of the dried paint on the edge along with your tape.

And of course!

The paint is essentially bridged between the rug and your tape – dry paint is brittle, and you can’t rely on that bridge breaking cleanly when you remove the tape.

One last point is to lay the paint on thickly. Unlike wood or drywall, a rug is going to absorb the paint a lot more. As it saturates, there will be less at the surface, so be mindful of that.

Beth was inspired by the Surya Frontier Red Striped Rug from Wayfair.

surya frontier stripe rug

Head on over to Home Stories A to Z for Beth’s full tutorial and to get full inspired!

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