Sometimes, you just have to go with a crazy idea and see how it works out! I have had this wool dhurrie in my kids’ playroom for 4 years, and for 4 years, it’s been bothering me. We got it as a gift to sweeten the deal on another rug that we bought in Rajasthan a few years ago – but the colours have faded and the olive, brick and mustard really didn’t go anywhere in my house. So I took the plunge and decided to update it. Let me show you how to paint an old carpet!
You can tell by the paint splashes that it’s been in the playroom for a while!
I tested my palette on paper first, just to make sure that I was happy with the combination. At first, I wanted to throw in some turquoise as well, but in the end, decided against it. Sometimes what looks great in the pot, is not as great on paper! Besides, blue and yellow is a very trendy combination this year, so I reckoned I couldn’t go wrong.
TO PAINT A CARPET, YOU WILL NEED
- An old cotton or wool rug (this technique is for a woven rug, not a cut- or twist-pile rug)
- Paint in the colour of your choice (I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in French Linen with Original, Napoleonic Blue and English Yellow on top) *
- Small bucket and wooden spoon for mixing
- Foam rollers and pans
- Blue painter’s tape (available from your nearest hardware store)
- Measuring tape
- Annie Sloan Clear Chalk Paint® Wax *
- Soft cloth
(If you don’t want to change the background colour of your rug, skip to step 3).
Dilute the base colour by pouring equal parts water and paint into a small bucket and thoroughly mixing with a wooden spoon. The first coat tends to soak into the carpet quite a bit, so dilute enough paint with water to cover the entire area. A 210 x 308cm rug used 1.5 litres of paint mixed with 1.5 litres of water.
Cover the rug with the base coat, using a sponge roller. If you need to mix more paint, make sure that you mix it to the exact same ratio to ensure that you have a consistent colour on the rug.
Measure the total length of the rug and divide it by the number of bands you want to create. I made 14 equal horizontal bands of 22cm on the rug. Use the blue painter’s tape and a ruler or tape measure to create the bands, making sure that everything is straight.
Now, create a random geometric pattern by applying the tape diagonally between the bands, making parallelograms, trapezoids and triangles.
Apply the paint to the shapes that you had created, taking care not to go over the tape. Remember that you still want to have a hand-finished look, so don’t worry if there is a little bit of bleeding.
Leave the paint to dry overnight, and then remove the tape. Finish off the carpet by applying a coat of Annie Sloan Clear Chalk Paint® Wax which will improve its durability.
Now that I’ve done it, I can’t believe it took me so long! I hope that I’ve inspired you to update some of your old rugs as well. If you are still a bit skeptical, test it on a small rug or doormat first.
These gorgeous process shots were taken by Ed O’Riley – thanks Ed!