Floor Cloths

Floor Cloths

Hi! Welcome to Rex Art's Floor Cloth Frequently Asked Questions. We can't answer questions regarding style or particular tastes, but we can give you a break down on the materials that can be successfully used in the creation of this historical form of art. If you have any questions, comments, or ideas please e-mail us.

What kind of Canvas can I use?
You can start with the decision as to how large the final piece will be. For floor cloths 4 foot or larger use the Fredrix #123 Dixie Canvas. This is a 12 oz cotton canvas, which is available either primed or unprimed. The Tara #70 is a light weight primed canvas suitable for smaller projects down to the size of a coaster. Fredrix also offers precut Floor Cloths.

What other materials do I need?

You may also need some stretcher strips, primer, brushes, sealers, paints, and of course your design.

Stretcher Strips
A set of wooden strips that may be used to "stretch" the canvas out for painting (see "Stretching a Canvas"). A stretcher prevents the canvas from shrinking unevenly, buckling, and rippling, giving a smooth professional floor cloth.
Priming prepares and shrinks the canvas before painting. You may purchase canvas that is already primed, in which case you not need this.
Sealers are used to protect your finished floor cloth. You can use water-based sealers, oil-based and paste wax. Water-based sealers are non-yellowing, fast drying, and provide excellent protection. Oil based sealers will tend to yellow with age, so it is best to avoid these if you can. Clear paste is suitable only for painted floor cloths.
Non-Skid Backings
The use of a non-skid backing material is advisable if the floor cloth is to be used in a high traffic area. This material can be obtained either in spray or brush-on from you local hardware store.
Paint Applicators
You can use just about anything that will apply paint the way you want it. Sea sponges, paint rollers, paint brushes (round, flat, bristle, nylon), cardboard, rubber stamps, etc.
Miscellaneous Tools
L-ruler, Mod Podge, rubber cement, triangle, hot glue gun, craft knife, stencil brush, putty knife, craft stick, staple gun, scissors, sandpaper and steel wool..
You can apply latex house paint if the area to be covered is large, otherwise you can use acrylic colors. Acrylics are stronger in color, are fade resistant, waterproof and in general will last longer. Use can also use spray paints and latex enamels.
Anything you want from almost any source (just make sure that it's not copyrighted).

Basic Steps
Choose your design, cut and stretch your canvas (if necessary), transfer design, stitch up edges, paint, varnish, put non-skid backing, display proudly.

The above is a very sketchy outline. You can find more detailed instructions in books like:

  1. Fabulous Floor Cloths by Caroline O'Neill Kuchinsky
  2. The Complete Book of Floorcloths : Designs & Techniques for Painting Great-Looking Canvas Rugs by Kathy Cooper
  3. Painting Floorcloths - Sterling Publications; ISBN: 0806
  4. Painting Floorcloths: 20 Canvas Rugs to Stamp, Stencil, Sponge, and Spatter in a Weekend (The Weekend Crafter) by Kathy Cooper, Deborah Morgenthal (Editor).

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