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Home »   Home Decorating Articles »   Painting Sisal Rugs

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How Do You Paint a Sisal Rug?

Chris Talty sent in a request for information on how to paint a sisal rug.

Here is what I learned from my research:
     Sisal is hemp that is dried and spun. It is one of the strongest natural fibers. Sisal is rougher than jute, but still supple and soft enough for bedrooms. Sisal rugs are generally woven into herringbone, ribbed, or boucle patterns. Sisal has become increasing popular in interiors, as homeowners return to natural fibers.
     The methods used to paint sisal are similar to other floor cloths materials, such as canvas. Yet, the final appearance differs. The more course the fabric, the less smooth and precise the pattern. Painted sisal rugs, generally, have an appearance similar to antique needlework.
     The quality of sisal also plays a role in the appearance. Therefore, for painting, high quality sisal should be selected.

* BOOKS WITH INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTIONS (Note: Craft books will offer more detailed materials lists, instructions, and design ideas. Books are not listed in order of preference.)
     a. Painting Floorcloths (Craft Book). Partial Book Description from Amazon.com (no rating): "Express yourself using exciting painting techniques like stamping and decoupage to make fabulous floorcloths. They're a terrific alternative to a rug and can tie together a decorative scheme or provide the ultimate finishing touch to a room."

     b. Fabulous Floorcloths : Create... (Craft Book). Here is part of an editorial review from Amazon.com, which rated the book 4.5 stars out of 5: "Consult this book for excellent directions on materials, preparation, finishing, and an array of decorative techniques. The 15 step-by-step projects are divided into simple, intermediate, and advanced, so you can jump in at whatever skill level feels comfortable."

     c. Rugs : Designs, Patterns, Projects, by Mary Elizabeth Johnson (Craft Book: Painting Floor Cloths and Wood Floors). The information relevant to this topic can be found under "Portfolio of Rug Techniques," "False" Rugs: Stenciled Floors and Floor Cloths." This was, in my opinion, the best book I found, but it is out of print. Amazon.com can conduct a search, and if a used book is found, you can order it, or check your local library. The book provides an excellent list of supplies. It also gives detailed instructions on the process, not only for painting floor cloths, but also for wood floors. In addition, it gives ideas for stencils.

     d. The New Paint Magic, Jocasta Innes (Interior Design book with basic sisal painting instructions.) Book Description from Amazon.com (3.5 out 5 star rating): "The third edition of this best-selling guide to painted finishes includes step-by-step instructions on the latest techniques for painting floors, walls, and furniture. With dozens of new color photographs."

     e. Affordable Decorating : 72 Projects &... The Home Decorating Institute. (Interior Design book with instruction for painting sisal and wood floors.) Five out of five stars on Amazon.com.

     f. Creative Touches, Floor Finishes, etc., Home Decorating Institute. (An interior design book with instructions for painting wood floors. Some floor cloth information.) Good guidelines and illustrations for painting wood floors, including faux finishes. Limited instruction on creating floor cloths.

     g. Floors : A Design Source Book, by Elizabeth Wilhide. Five out of five stars on Amazon.com. (An interior design book.) BEAUTIFUL photographs of rooms with sisal rugs, and other natural materials. No instructions for painting rugs.

Permission is granted to print or reproduce e-zine material if the following is included:
Author: Catherine Foust McGivern, NCIDQ Certified, Principal
CatherineMcGivern.com, http://www.CatherineMcGivern.com


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