Tuesday, January 29, 2013

DIY Canvas "Wipe Clean" floor mat

I had the pleasure of working with Jami Leavitt, from Jami Leavitt Photography, on a booth for a Wedding Show a few weekends ago. {I'll be posting pics from that very fun experience tomorrow}.

One of the components to her booth that we wanted to have was a geometric yellow and cream rug...but a rug was both out of the budget and not practical...thousands of people {potentially} would be walking on this rug and who knows what kind of shape it would be when the show was over with.

I immediately thought of making a mat.
When I was a young mother of my first child, my husband was in the military in flight school and I didn't have a lot of spending money to play around with because we were on a tight budget. Being without means to shop and just go get supplies that I needed whenever I had a design idea, it forced me to find ways to get creative with things that I either already had, or things that I could find for little or no money.
Our son was just at the age of starting to really enjoy eating in his high-chair, and boy, did he make a mess. The first time he had watermelon, I knew I had to come up with something {other than a towel} to put underneath the high-chair to save myself from mopping the floor every night.
I came up with a "splat mat" made from:
- $12 canvas {or a canvas drop cloth available at Walmart or any Lowes, Home Depot or Hardware store}
-craft paint or house paint that you have {little craft paint bottles are typically around $1
-Paint brush, the width of the line you'd like to make if you are painting lines, or if larger shapes, just any brush you have will do
-and a stencil or painter's tape {make your own stencil with cardboard or by using the tape to make your design
-Modge Podge {or home made Modge Podge Gluish stuff}
-foam brushes for Modge Podge application

YUP. Cheap. That splat mat saved me so much effort, instead of mopping the floor each day, I just wiped up the mat. Whatever was spilled on it would wipe right up.
I made my son's by using painter's tape to make rows of diamonds making a sort of harlequin pattern. You don't NEED a stencil, although they're easy to make.
Harlequin Pattern,

And 14 years later, now, it was the best solution to get Jami's rug look for her booth. 

Here's how I made it:
Step 1: I started with a canvas painter's drop cloth from Lowe's {appx $12}.  You can find these in the painting section of any hardware store. Cut to size and tape or sew raw edges if needed.

Step 2: What's your design? I used this stencil from another post that I did a couple of weeks ago.  I printed the stencil, sprayed a piece of light cardboard with spray adhesive, put the printed stencil paper on top, waited a few seconds and began to cut the stencil out. SO SIMPLE. And saved me a lot of tracing up front. Which you will be doing in your sleep after you are done with this project.
Canvas Drop Cloth, Spray Adhesive, DIY stencil and scissors :)
Step 3: Prep.  Put newspaper, old paper bags, etc. down on the floor, even if you are doing this in your garage. The canvas will soak up most of your paint, but you could have seepage, so you want to make sure you protect your floors from paint.  Then, measure and tape off a border area if you want one. Turn on some good music. You can also measure your stencil to precisely position the design, or you can wing it like I did...to me, that's the fun of creating...but I know you quilting types out there will measure.
Measuring border, taping off and tracing stencil.
Step 4: Go ahead and start tracing your template in pencil. Keep in mind the color that you are going to be painting with. I used a regular pencil and was on the fence about using yellow or gray paint...I opted for the yellow and I'm glad I did, but you can see the gray pencil lines through the paint. I thought it looked cool, and I left it as is. BUT, if you aren't going for this sort of painterly look, you'll want to either use a colored pencil similar to the color paint you are using, or choose a darker paint than the pencil.  Comprende?

Taped off border, traced stencil with pencil, chose a brush the thickness of my lines and jumped right in.
Step 5: Paint. As I mentioned above, if you use a geometric pattern with lines, you'll have better results and avoid "touching up" if you choose a paint brush that is the thickness of your desired line.
Did I mention it was like 28 degrees the night I chose to do this in my garage?
My finger tips are red...and cold.
But it was sooo worth it.
Right about now, I was listening to the "Jason Mraz" Pandora station. Check it out....Jack Johnson, Tristan Prettyman..it was keeping me in a So Cal mood while I was inch by inch, row by row, getting my Quatrefoil on.
Step 6: After it is completely dry, I'd suggest you protect it with at least one coat of Modge Podge. If you have a foam roller or foam brush, just dab it on. Modge Podge is the non-toxic way to seal it, creating a protective barrier, that can be wiped clean. It will leave a sort of shiny finish and you can do 2 coats for added protection and stiffness.
I didn't trust the 4 kids, dog...so I hung it to dry instead of leaving it sitting in the garage.
You know, I can seriously think of a million different projects you could use this technique for.  Splat mat underneath a highchair, table cloth, or curtains anyone? Just no need to Modge Podge, but you could follow all the earlier steps to stencil your own DIY curtains.

Hope this gives you something to think about! And maybe, it doesn't matter whether you have $ to spend or not, you'll find that making things that are useful and inexpensive is the way to go anyway? Especially in areas where rugs aren't practical to use but you want color and floor protection.
And that's the DIY mat.


  1. oh i love this amy!! i've got to figure out my hockey room... i mean my living room- no carpet scenario. really need a rug in there. oooo i've been wanting to find more out about wallpaper for my living room too. would love to hear your insights and resources on that!!!


    1. HI!!! Glad you liked the post! I love that your living room is a hockey room ;) And great idea to post on wallpaper!!! I'll get on that! thanks!

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  2. What a great tutorial! I would love for you to share this or any of your great ideas at the link party going on now (and every Saturday through Tuesday) at 'Or so she says ...' Hope to see you there! www.oneshetwoshe.com

  3. Thank you so much, Mariel! I love 'Or so She says'!!! I'll hop over to the link party!!! It's so much fun to see what everyone creates! So glad you stopped by over here!Thank you!!!

  4. I'm way late to the party on this post (found it through Google). Would washable marker wipe off of this, do you think? Could it be used as a color mat for the floor?

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