How to make linoleum rugs

Written by frances burks
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Making a linoleum rug is another method for creating a traditional floor cloth. Unlike cloth, linoleum requires no hemming. Linoleum also offers a more environmentally friendly option for making a rug, since it largely consists of linseed oil from the flax plant. Some linoleum also is finished with a natural jute backing that can be used as a canvas for your rug design. Floor cloths are often better suited for simple shapes, but linoleum rugs can be created in more complex shapes, such as stars or flowers.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Linoleum sheet
  • Acrylic primer
  • Acrylic or latex paint
  • Foam paint roller
  • Foam brushes
  • Stencils (optional)
  • Painter's tape (optional)

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  1. 1

    Choose the size and shape you want your linoleum rug to be and buy a sheet of linoleum that's large enough for your project. The thickness of linoleum varies, but sheets that are 2.5 millimetres thick work well for rugs. For more complex rug shapes, cut a pattern out of paper to use as a guide for cutting the linoleum.

  2. 2

    Look for linoleum that doesn't have adhesive attached to the back of it. Your design can then be painted on the front or back of the linoleum, but any pattern or texture on the side you choose may affect your rug's appearance. Cut and paint small samples on both sides to decide which surface to use. You may discover that any underlying texture enhances your rug.

  3. 3

    Decide how you will create your linoleum rug's painted design. Consider using stencils if you're uncomfortable with drawing a design freehand. Look at patterns that are already in the room where your linoleum rug will be for more inspiration. For example, a simple flower on upholstery fabric or draperies could be traced and used in your design to coordinate the rug with your decor.

  4. 4

    Apply at least two coats of a water-based primer to the linoleum to prepare it for painting. The primer will help the paint adhere to the surface. Wait for the primer to dry completely before you begin painting your design.

  5. 5

    Pick either latex or acrylic paint in the colours you need for the rug's design. These water-based paints will dry faster than other varieties. Use a foam paint roller to cover the primed service with the background colour, which will be the base coat for your linoleum rug. At least two coats should be used for good coverage.

  6. 6

    Begin painting your design after the base coat dries. Nonsticking, blue painter's tape can be used to hold stencils in place for painting. Use foam brushes to avoid creating brush marks.

  7. 7

    Finish your linoleum rug by applying at least three coats of clear polyurethane to it after your painted design dries. Allow each polyurethane coat to dry completely before applying another.

Tips and warnings

  • Cut a rug gripper slightly smaller than the linoleum rug and place it under the rug to prevent it from slipping out of place.
  • Wipe off your linoleum rug with plain water or a very mild detergent to keep it clean.

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