As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Making a Colonial Floorcloth

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 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!


  1. It looks great and, whatever the trouble with the stencil, you made it work beautifully creating a custom look. It certainly looks perfectly at home! Will you try it again?

    I remember, decades ago now, when people purchased linoleum scraps and stenciled the back for a floorcloth. I wondered if they wouldn't be too slippery.

    In my youth and daring, I painted a large, wide-planked kitchen floor, designed and cut my own stencil designs, and my sister and I stenciled it all in a diaper pattern. It turned out beautifully. Wonder if it has stood the test of time.

  2. Fantastic! I love the way it turned out!

    I am going to have to check out the website, though it will be awhile before I start anything new! I need to finish my paint projects!


  3. I love the primitive look and you did a wonderful job, in spite lack of clear instructions.

    I've found most instructions not to be helpful. Perhaps the people who write them forget people do not have their experience?

  4. It really is nice. I'm impressed with your skills and that you start and finish a project. Have a wonderful Thursday!

  5. You did a smashing job! The floorcloth looks great. How inventive of you to adapt the border design when you found the instructions wanting.

  6. That is just beautiful! And you're going to let people stand on it?? I suppose that's the point, huh. You did a fantastic job. I might frame it and put it on the wall. :-)

  7. Wow.....what a great job you did. I love the look. Job well done!

  8. Beautiful floorcloth!! You would never know you had to fudge the stencil!
    I have thought many times of trying something like this. Is there any problem with the corners laying flat, or will they curl up eventually?
    You've inspired me!

  9. That looks awesome! I would hate to step on it, LOL. It's a work of art!

  10. I admire everything about this... your careful preparation beforehand, your ability to adjust when things didn't go as planned, and (most of all) your follow-through! It turned out beautifully. Have you stepped on it yet {cringe}?

  11. Cheryl,
    It's TERRIFIC! Do one for me!

  12. Well done, Cheryl! Your floor cloth is just perfect in your home! The pattern is lovely! ♥

  13. It is good to know that there is a kit available for floor cloths. Thanks for sharing the links and the puzzling bits of the kit, too. I've wanted a pineapple stenciled one for our kitchen sink area. Yours is expertly done. I like it very much. It is like the one at our front door.

  14. Ooooo...I LOVE it!!! What a fabulous job you did! A kit is a great idea! Thanks for the to pin it!

  15. I too like the way it turned out and it looks so nice by your sink. It looks like it would be a fun project.

  16. I LOVE this! And I am soo impressed! It looks awesome. I can't imagine doing such a thing. I might be afraid to step on it,lol. The stenciling looks perfect to me. I bet you had fun with this. Good job!

  17. I went to the website to check it all out and I have to tell you I think your rug is prettier than the one pictured and your photos are better. Very well done!!!

  18. You did a wonderful job, Cheryl! It is so pretty that I would be afraid to walk on it. Love the design. Enjoy!

  19. Beautiful! This is a project I'd like to try myself one day. I did not know there were kits like this available. Thank you for sharing the wonderful step-by-step with us.
    I rather like your modified corners, sets things off rather nicely :)


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