Saturday, November 12, 2011

Minimalist Road Rug


**UPDATE: I'm super bummed to announce that this project was a failure. ]: Not even two months, and it's faded everywhere but the center (where the table is). Our house is not very sunny in general, but I'm assuming it's because of the sun, or from being vacuumed with my super powerful new Hoover I got for Christmas! Everett certainly didn't wear it out. He doesn't really "get" the concept of roads yet. I'd think about repainting it, but if little particles of paint migrated into the air, I don't want to repeat that. I think I need to learn how to weave rugs. (;

The only reason I'm not deleting this post entirely, is the method really worked like a charm. It would be perfect for a temporary rug (for a party, maybe?) or for a wall hanging (in a dark room). It's fast and cheap enough to make for a temporary or simply decorative purpose. **


Things have been so busy around here, I'm amazed how long it's taken me to share this!

Our minimalistic road rug.

A few weeks ago I came to realize Everett really needed a table for crafting. And when I realized he would be crafting in our living room, I thought he should have a rug under that future table.

Luckily we had a few cheap rugs (maybe $10 at Home Depot?), and I started dreaming of how to spruce one up.

Everett's very fond of cars and trains and tractors, so I thought it would be fun for him to have a "road rug." Most road rugs have painted road lines and buildings and parks and people, but I can not justify painting all those things when I should be making art to sell. Also, this thing was destined to reside in our living room! So I wanted it to be functional but still tasteful.

An adorable road rug sold by IKEA

How'd I do it?

Well, hubby and I sat in front of the TV watching Star Trek Next Gen (he on the couch and I on/over/near the rug that is the subject of this post).

I wanted the design to be both structured (to look good and seem ordered) but also somewhat free (so I could improvise and not need to be perfect.

I taped my design with the 3M blue painters tape, the 2 inch size. 

I made a circle (or "round about") in the center and four "rays" coming off of the circle making right angles. Then I made two more "rays" between two of the first "rays." This left me with two larger and four smaller areas to "improvise" in.

The first circle I made around the largest bowl we have in the house. Whenever I needed to make a curve, I curved the tape on the longer edge, then made cuts in from the other edge and overlapped the cut pieces. Does that make sense? Basically, whenever you see a curve, the smaller edge of the curve has cuts in it.

I didn't do every little detail that night because I knew I needed to move it from the living room to the car port, and I wasn't sure if all the tape would stay down (it didn't). Also, when Baby and I came out to watch "Melmo" at 5:00 the next morning, the first thing he went for was the tape. "I need to tear it all up!!!"

So the next day, after the move, I added any other "highways" I needed, smoothed down the existing "interstates," and stood back to take one last look before spraying.

I read about what paints other "rug painters" had used on their projects. They ranged from fabric paint to acrylic to latex interior wall paint. What I figured would be the easiest: spray paint!!

I looked into "safe" fabric spray paint but realized it was expensive, unreliable, and not sold anywhere near me, so I went with Rustoleum. I just planned to leave it outside until the smell faded away.

I found a color I adore called Eden, but I was worried that Eden and the original rug were too similar in value, so I used a can of Apple Green (much lighter), and went around all the edges first, maybe making more contrast? Worth a try? Then I used the bottle of Eden everywhere I could.

I used two full cans of spray paint on this rug, and it really could have used three or four. I was ok with a modeled look. The spray is the "grass" and it's ok for the rug's "dirt" to show through (also, the fewer chemicals that need to dissipate the better, right?). But if you're spraying a rug this size (about 4.5' x 7'), and you want it perfectly covered, you'll need at least three cans.

I couldn't wait to get the tape off, and . . .

Ta da!! I was so happy when I peeled off the tape!

You can see the curve in the bottom left corner of this picture that's sort of peeling up? That edge is sort of fuzzy, but all the others were very crisp. And I hardly notice that edge anymore, just positioned it away from my usual line of vision.

I'm so happy with the rug. It's not too stiff, just slightly more than normal. I imagined it would be all plastic-y with the spray paint, but it's not.

Of course, we left it outside for a few days, then inside in my studio for a bit longer until it stopped stinking. But it actually stopped stinking much sooner than I expected.

We had planned to get Everett a table and chairs at IKEA when we went up north for a wedding. But the timing was wrong, and we couldn't make it. And I'm so happy we didn't! I remembered a coffee table I'd had since high school that we'd refinished a few years back but still hated because it had three wobbly legs.

I bought FOUR new, sturdy legs for it, painted them a fun blue, and Brian attached them. We already had a baby folding chair, and my parents found a couple of my old chairs at their house. The result is an eclectic, fun, strange, unique, mix with a story behind it. And Everett's already enjoying coloring and reading in his new space. Perfect.

coloring paper taped down for baby's ease of coloring

Until next time!


  1. That is so cool! You're a clever, crafty lady :)

  2. I wonder if you were to usefabric paint or even something other then spray paint if it would still fade.