I’ve been wanting to buy a rug to make it more cozy and homey out there, but rugs are expensive! So I’ve been putting off picking one out, until I realized I could make my own outdoor rug. And it wouldn’t cost nearly as much!
With a little research, I determined this is what I’d need:
- indoor/outdoor rug
- exterior latex paint
- paint roller
- fabric medium
- painter’s tape
- tape measure
- painter’s plastic
- geometric pattern
Not sure how I stumbled upon this design, but I loved it! It might not even be a rug, but it’s from Trina Turk who designs clothing and home accessories. Looks good on a bed comforter too!
With my design picked out, I just needed a rug! This one was about $17 at our local home center. It also comes in a dark gray.
After a little head scratching on how to make this design a reality on my rug, I was ready to get started. I unrolled the rug to lay it in my garage on some painter’s plastic. Make sure the plastic sticks out on all four sides. You can use several pieces of plastic instead of one big piece, but you do want it to cover the entire bottom of the rug as well as the sides. The paint bleeds through the rug and we don’t want to ruin any floors or decks in the process!
My rug had a funky curl at one end. So I decided to wait a day to get started so I could let it sit overnight with a little weight on the curl to flatten it out. I grabbed the heaviest items from the shop which also happen to be the least toxic too. Ha!
To layout the design with painter’s tape, I started in the middle and worked my way out. My rug is 8 feet by 6 feet. So I determined my large, center diamond should be 4 x 4 feet. I ran the tape measure the full length of the rug and stuck a paint stirrer at the 2 foot and 6 foot marks. These will be the top and bottom points of the center diamond. The paint stirrer is a temporary way to mark those lengths until I get the cross measurement.
Then I ran the tape measure from short side to short side and placed a piece of tape along the edge of the paint stirrer and marked the center of the rug at 3 feet with a marker on the tape.
The reason I’m not marking directly on the rug is the marks won’t be covered by paint later in the process. This is where the painter’s tape will go and what will be left tan when it’s all said and done.
I continued around the middle of the rug until I had the four points of the center diamond. On my 6×8 rug, the points are at 3×2, 1×4, 5×4, and 3×6. Hope that makes sense!
Since the edges of the diamond extend to the edge of the rug, my arms weren’t long enough to do it in one smooth and straight swoop. I had to call in reinforcements (aka my husband, Brandon) to tape the edges of the center diamond. Brandon held one end of tape while I held the other. We made sure the marks I’d made on the pieces of tape were centered under our long piece of tape as we lowered it to the rug at the same time. It’s so easy to get a curve when applying a long run of painter’s tape, so I thought it best to 2-man this job. And seeing the results, it wasn’t a bad idea!
Then I slowly, and patiently, measured and taped off the smaller diamonds inside of the larger grid.
I put the end of the tape measure at the center of the top painter’s tape intersection (so that it was 4 feet from top to bottom), then put a small piece of tape at the 16 inch and 32 inch marks.
Then I turned the tape measure and measured from the right and left points of the larger diamond the same way, placing a piece of tape at 16 and 32 inches. With the 4 points of my smaller diamond marked, I was able to tape the length of each side.
From each side point, I stretched a piece straight out to the edge of the rug.
Since there are 2 spots (at top and bottom) that don’t have a full small interior diamond, I changed it up a little bit. I marked the same as the middle at 16 inches. Then I ran a piece of tape in both directions and eye-balled that it was parallel to the main grid line.
I then taped from the top of the bottom small diamond to the bottom of the middle and from the top of the middle to the bottom of the top small diamond. (Wow, that could get confusing real fast!)
Once I had the partial diamonds established, I moved on to the other full diamonds. I found it was easier to eye ball parallel lines instead of measuring and marking each point. The center diamond was 9 inches from the inside edge of its larger counterpart, so I copied that on the others.
Basically, I guesstimated at the length of the side and put down a piece of tape parallel at 9 inches. And I did that for all 4 sides. Then after I was done with all of them, I used an X-acto knife to trim the excess and clean up any other overlapping tape.
You can see above I also ran tape between the 2 side diamonds to connect them as it is in the original pattern I was mimicking. I didn’t run tape from the top until I had the other 2 small diamonds in place. Before I knew it, I was done with the tedious taping process!
After taking a moment to enjoy being done with that monumental task, I moved on to mixing the paint. Here’s the “fabric medium” I used to mix with the paint. It helps the paint soak into the fibers of the fabric/rug so it’s not going to flake and peel after a while.
I mixed 1 part fabric medium with 2 parts exterior latex paint. If you’re also painting a 6×8 rug, you’ll need (2) 6 oz bottles of the fabric medium (found at a craft store) and 1 quart of paint to do one coat. I’d say you’d need 3 bottles of fabric medium and 2 quarts to do 2 coats, which I recommend.
I was certainly drawn to the color of the original design I was copying, which seems to be my current favorite! But I wanted to try something new and not copy the design exactly. So I went with a color that was very bright on the paint chip and in the bucket—Neon Light by Behr. It worked out that it didn’t end up being as bright once it was applied on top of my tan area rug.
Using a 3 inch roller with a 3/8 inch nap cover, I went around painting one section at a time. Don’t forget to start in the middle and work your way out!
I noticed that up close, 1 coat wasn’t covering as well as I’d like. So I left it to dry a few hours before applying a second coat. Unfortunately, I ran out of paint before I could finish the second coat. Whoops! I noticed I was running low, so I did opposite sections hoping it wouldn’t be too noticeable if I didn’t second coat the whole rug. Trust me, it looks way better to the naked eye than to the camera. (That’s why I recommend getting more than 1 quart if you’re doing 2 coats. It just wasn’t quite enough for a 6×8 rug.)
Also while I was painting, I noticed that the painter’s tape tended to lift up when I rolled over it. It didn’t shift side to side, but I was still nervous to remove the tape. I was pleasantly surprised when it came time to take the tape off (I let it dry overnight) and there were straight lines all around!
The pop of color looks great against our stained wood deck.
Now I just need to find some pillows that will hopefully tie together our new rug with our too-expensive-to-replace-right-now outdoor cushions.
It’s so nice to glance outside and see something so happy. Not much I get to pass by it everyday going to and from my car in the garage! I hope it finds you happy and maybe gives you a little inspiration to complete a happy outdoor project before summer gets too hot!
Comment below with any specific project questions. I tried my hardest to recount the process in a digestible way, but sometimes my mind works different than yours might!
Thanks for Checking In! ~ Chelsea