I have admired colonial style floorcloths for years and years, but this is the summer that I decided to move from admiration to actually making one of my own!
I searched and looked and watched youtube videos and Pinned
to my heart's content, gathering ideas and inspiration. Then, after careful consideration and the recommendation of a friend, I decided to buy a kit for my first attempt.
I went to Canvasworks Floorcloths
online. Owner/artist Lisa Curry Mair creates gorgeous museum quality floorcloths, but she also sells "blanks
" and kits
. Preparing the canvas was one of the parts that made me nervous, and the kits come with the canvas already shrunk, cut, hemmed (yay!), and primed with the base layer of paint. The design is lightly penciled in for a guide in painting. I chose the Branch Stencil Kit
, featuring a diamond pattern with a stenciled edge.
(I enjoyed watching these short videos featuring the artist: one
a feature spot from a Vermont TV station, and another
from Vermont Public Television. Watch them to learn about the history and the process of making floorcloths, and to see some lovely examples of floorcloths crafted by the artist.)
My kit arrived quickly! All my excuses were gone...it was time to begin!
I set up my painting station on the dining room table, laying a piece of (garish green) plastic table covering over the table for protection. (The sewing machine has nothing to do with it. That was Kati's work station for another project.)
Using black acrylic paint, I outlined a diamond shape with a fine brush,
and then filled it in using a wider brush.
I experimented with using painter's tape to mark off the diamond (eliminating the outlining step), and decided that it was more efficient and I liked the look just as well.
After I completed the diamonds and allowed them to dry overnight, I taped off the border...
and painted it with my second color, barn red.
After that was dry and the tape removed, it was time to stencil the branch design. (The stencil was also included in the kit. Paints were not.) I anchored the stencil with small pieces of painter's tape.
I stenciled the branch design in black. (To stencil, dip your stencil brush in the paint, then blot it on paper towels until it feels nearly dry. If you have too much paint on your brush, the paint may run under the stencil.)
After allowing the paint to dry for 24 hours, I applied four coats of satin finish polyurethane, waiting at least 6 hours between each application.
I am really glad that I chose to use a kit for this first attempt at a floorcloth! It was quite helpful to have the canvas ready to go. I also appreciated the fact that the design was already sketched out, eliminating the need for me to do a lot of mathematics to figure out the size and placement of the diamonds and how wide the border needed to be before I could begin.
There were a few "flaws" in the kit, in my opinion. (Flaw might be too strong a word...maybe I should say areas for improvement?)
First of all, the kit promised a link to an instructional video. I read those instructions over many times, both before and during the process, and I never did find that link.
Secondly, I was a bit unsure at first whether the primed coat actually was the base color or if I was supposed to paint my base color over the primer. That was probably my misunderstanding, but I don't think it was perfectly clear in the instructions.
My biggest problem with the kit, however, was the very incomplete instructions for the placement of the stencil! The instructions simply said to follow the diagram for stencil placement. There was no diagram. I went back online and used the photo from the website as a guide, but when I did what was shown, there was not enough room on the canvas to place them! Eek! Rather than go back and paint the border again and start over with the stenciling (or cry?), I sought advice and then decided to adjust the placement to go with what I had already done. This involved adapting the stencil to place a modified design in each corner to fill in some blank spaces.
Overall, I am very happy with my floorcloth...and I am already dreaming about what I'm going to do next!