How to Make a Durable Area Rug

Create this heavy-duty rug for high-traffic areas in your home using painted floorcloths.

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Pretty and Practical


I was looking for a durable alternative to a rug for a high-traffic area (like my dining room) when I zeroed in on painted floorcloths. Pre-primed cotton canvas makes it simpler than ever to design one yourself, plus the options are endless—you can use stencils or stamps or even just freehand a pattern. I went for creamy narrow stripes on a poppy background laid out in a grid with painter's tape. Easy to wipe clean, the surface is not only practical, it's stylish underfoot.


  • Pre-primed floorcloth canvas
  • Masking tape
  • 1 quart exterior latex paint for base color
  • Paint roller
  • ScotchBlue painter's tape
  • Sample-size can exterior latex paint for accent color
  • 1-inch paintbrush
  • 1 quart water-based polyurethane varnish in satin finish
  • Paintbrush for varnish
  • Commercial-grade double-sided carpet tape


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Directions: Day 1


Place canvas on a flat surface such as the floor. Stretch it tightly while taping down on all sides with masking tape. Measure a 2-inch border on all sides, marking it lightly with a pencil. This will later be turned under to create a hem. Apply two coats of base color with a roller; let dry for 24 hours.

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Directions: Day 2


Make guidelines for horizontal stripes by pressing painter's tape firmly onto the canvas. No need for perfection; a slightly irregular look is better. Create stripes by applying the accent color between tape. After the paint has dried, remove tape. Let the entire surface dry for another 24 hours.

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Directions: Days 3-4


Make vertical stripes following same process as for horizontal. Let dry thoroughly; remove tape. Brush on a coat of satin varnish. The next day apply two to three more coats. Follow manufacturer's instructions for drying and recoating time.

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Directions: To Finish


When varnish has fully dried, remove tape from the cloth's outer edges. To create hem, fold canvas back and crease with fingers along the marked edge. Miter the edges by cutting out a triangle from each corner. Adhere the hem with double-sided carpet tape.

Originally published in the June 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine.