*** UPDATE!!! Don't try this project! The paint cracked like crazy (after several months.) See this post for the update. ***
I needed some kind of an area rug for my family room just for the spring and summer months. In the winter I have a big thick fluffy rug, but it just doesn’t work in the summer. It’s too warm, plus the kids drag in all kinds of extra dirt at this time of the year, so I need something easy to clean.
When I saw this project on Sarah.Wandering, I knew it was something I wanted to try. I love the practicality of interlocking floor mats. They are comfortable for the kids to sit or play on, inexpensive, easy to clean, and easy to store away when you aren’t using them.
However, it was the kind of project that walks a fine line between awesome and tacky. I mean, to put it bluntly, these mats on their own are kind of fug. So I was nervous. But I have to say, I love how it turned out! The graphic pattern is exactly what I wanted, and I was able to use leftover paint that I already had. (Hahaha… I had the choice of 3 shades of charcoal grey, and about 6 shades of white!)
Anyways, here are the steps to follow if you want to customize your own floor mat:
1. I used the typical primary coloured 2’x2’ interlocking floor mats. They come in 4-packs. I decided to make my rug 3 tiles wide by 5 tiles long. I had to air mine out for about a week in my garage, because they have a strong smell when they are new.
2. Prime the spongy back side of the mat (not the textured side). It took 1 coat of latex primer. Make sure you separate the tiles after this step so they don’t get stuck together as the primer dries.
3. Apply 2 coats of the base color. I used a latex exterior paint because that’s what I had on hand. Exterior paint has a little bit of flex to it, which makes it ideal for bendy situations such as a floor mats and rugs to prevent cracking. Again, separate the tiles before the paint dries or they will stick together.
4. Assemble the tiles and paint on whatever design you want. I used the exterior latex paint again (because that’s what I had) but Sarah used regular acrylic craft paints for her rug. I made a stencil of the diamond pattern that I was after, chalked out a vertical center line plus evenly spaced horizontal lines to keep everything from going wonky, then stencilled away!
*** I have to give props to anyone who has the patience and skill to stencil an entire wall or especially a ceiling! I’m sure I’m far to messy and spastic to be successful at either of those tasks. Even with this project, I did a ton of touching up to cover up blurbs of paint that leaked out of the stencil and got dragged around all over the mat. ***
5. Finish with two coats of water based Varathane in satin finish to protect your design and make the mat washable. Again, separate tiles before drying.
6. Voila! Enjoy your much more stylish, yet fabulously functional floor mat!
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