How to Paint a Rug
Rita Ribiat - Detroit, MI

Hardwarian Rita Ribiat

Gratiot True Value Hardware

Detroit, MI

How to Paint a Rug

Level: Experienced

Sometimes a room just doesn’t come together without the right rug to complement your paint colors. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, consider painting a rug you already own or buy a new one as a blank canvas on which to create your own custom design. All you need is a weekend day, some paint and a little know-how to update a rug and create something brand new.

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Project Steps
Project Shopping List
    • Step 1: Choose a Design for your Rug
      painters tape

      Begin with a plan in mind. If you need design ideas, go online and find patterns that appeal to your taste and that will merge your rug with your existing room design. If need be, sketch your design ideas on paper with a pencil so you have an outline from which to work. One of the easiest ways to create a cohesive pattern is to use stencils. You can create your own or buy stencils from craft and hobby stores or other retailers. If you find the perfect image for your stencil online, but it’s too small or too large, remember that you can probably print it and have it blown up or reduced at a copy shop. You can then have it printed and laminated on thicker paper for a stencil.

      You can use painter’s tape to create borders or straight lines on your rug with paint. Be sure you choose a rug that is appropriately sized for your room. Also keep in mind that the less plush your rug is, the easier it will be to paint and for the paint to adhere. Forget shag rugs.

    • Step 2: Prepare a Work Space
      resolve stain fighter

      Vacuum the rug and clean any stains or spots using a carpet/rug cleaner and a cloth or scrub brush before you begin. If the rug is dirty, it can decrease paint adhesion. Find a suitable work space for your project. If you don’t have a workshop, try the garage with open windows and doors for air circulation. You can even work outside, weather permitting. Cover the floor or ground with newspaper or a drop cloth to avoid accidental damage from spills.

      Safety Alerts!

      Keep all paints and equipment away from small children and pets.

      Wear latex gloves to protect your hands and to make clean-up easier.

    • Step 3: Apply Stencil/Design
      paint sponge

      Use a tape measure or ruler to measure in from the edge of the rug the location of your first stencil or masking (if you’re creating borders or other straight lines). Having precise measurements will help keep your design straight and/or consistent. If you’re creating straight lines, measure in from the edge of the rug in intervals to keep the line straight. Apply painter’s tape along the line, periodically checking that it is straight. If you’re stenciling, place your stencils on the rug in your desired pattern/design. Use the tape measure again to ensure that they are equally spaced so that the design is symmetrical. Once you have the stencils in place, tape them down securely with a piece of painter’s tape in each corner so that they won’t move or let paint bleed underneath, marring your work.

      Paint within stencils or masked areas for borders using a small roller, small painting sponge or foam paint brush and EasyCare® Ultra Premium Interior Paint. Fill just the tip of the applicator with paint and lightly stamp into the cut-out area of the stencil, making sure that you paint a little bit over the cut-out edges so that you create a crisp outline of the stencil image. Once you’ve filled in a stencil with paint, carefully pull the stencil away from the floor. If you didn’t achieve the results you wanted, wipe away the paint quickly with a rag and start over. Repeat the process until you’re satisfied with the results. Continue in this fashion until you’ve completed your design. You may need several light coats to get the best and most long-lasting results. Let the paint dry for the recommended amount of time on the paint can label.

      For borders and straight lines, let the paint dry and then carefully remove the strips of painter’s tape at a 45-degree angle so you don’t accidentally remove any of the paint.

      If your rug is more on the plush side, you may need to use fabric paint to get the best results. Ask a Hardwarian at your local True Value hardware store for advice.

      Helpful Tip

      Consider using a product such as Thompson’s WaterSeal fabric seal to protect your paint job from water, stains and fading caused by the sun.

      Nice job! Now you’ve got a new rug!

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

    You can also shop online for these project items at and receive FREE shipping to a participating store.

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