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Give Your Rug a Stunning Stencilled Makeover

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There are patterned rugs. And then there are customised patterned rugs in any colour or style you desire. Like the sound of the last one? It's easy enough to DIY - either give a new one your own stamp or revamp an old plain-coloured one. Either way you'll need some fabric paint, a few hours and some contact paper.

I went with a diamond pattern because it's effective but simple enough to do. But there are plenty more options - try diagonal stripes, a Moorish pattern, stars, a grid, large spots or leaves. By repeating a simple shape and colouring in the negative you can create quite the striking piece of floor art. And in any colour you wish to mix up. These instructions are specifically for the diamond pattern in the image, but you can adapt for more elaborate patterns.


  • A rug - I went with a soft, almost-blanket style rug, but hardier, natural-fibre ones would also work well.
  • Contact paper - the thicker the better. I found the see-through thinner versions left some stickiness behind when it was removed.
  • Fabric paint - I used DecoArt So Soft Fabric Paint in Tangerine and White.
  • Paintbrush or roller.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Pencil.
  • Ruler.
  • Scissors.
  • Paper for recording measurements if your memory is as bad as mine.

Step 1: Measure Your Rug

Decide which way you want the pattern to go. Measure from side to side - you'll need to know it to work out the width of your stencils.

Step 2: Work Out The Width Of The Stencil

Using the full height of the contact paper, I worked out how many diamonds I'd like across the rug (three full ones was the maximum) and divided the width of the rug by three to give me the width of the diamond. Then I took away a couple of centimetres off each diamond to allow for the lines in-between, giving me a width of 33.5cm.

Step 3: Cut Up The Contact Paper

Cut at your markers and you'll have a whole heap of contact paper rectangles. Use the grid pattern on the back of the contact paper to guide you to even lines.

Step 4: Fold In Half

With the shiny contact paper facing in, fold your rectangle in half.

Step 5: Fold Again!

Fold in half again. Swivel your paper around so the four free edges are top right and the folded edges are to the left and bottom.

Step 6: Rule a Line

Rule a line from the top left to bottom right corner. Ensure the edges are crisp lines and all layers are folded neatly so the line you cut is even.

Step 7: Get Cutting

Cut along the line, again ensuring the layers are cut neatly. Put the top half to the side (they should become four single triangles, but don't throw away - you can use some of them later).

Step 8: Unfold Your Diamond

Unfold the bottom part of the triangle to reveal your diamond. Repeat as many times as you think you need to cover your rug.

Step 9: Find The Centre

The easiest way to lay out your pattern evenly is to start in the centre. Place the measuring tape above the top of the rug and mark the middle of it with your pencil. Line up the point of one diamond on the other side of the pencil and place it on the rug. Don't stick it down just yet though!

Step 10: Fill Your Rug With Diamonds

Place the other two diamonds on either side of the centre one so they're evenly spaced. Try to make the lines in-between the same width (you might like to use your tape measure to get the width exact). Now fill in the space on the next row with more diamonds, again evenly spacing them out. Fill the entire rug with full diamonds - there might be some manoeuvring around to ensure it's all evenly spaced.

Step 11: Fill In The Edges

Use the discarded triangles to fill in the edges where you don't need a whole diamond. Continue all the way around the edge of the rug - it's good to use up waste!

Step 12: Get Sticking!

Once you're happy with the spacing, peel off the backing of the diamonds and stick into place one at a time. Firmly press all over the diamond to ensure it sticks to the rug - especially the edges. You could even walk all over it for extra weight!

Step 13: Mix Your Paint

If you're mixing your own paint colour, now is the time to do so! Use a disposable plastic cup and pour in the paint and mix around until you get the desired colour. If you're using the colour straight from the bottle, it pays to still pour it into a cup as it's much easier to apply!

Step 14: Start Painting

Start from one corner and get painting. The best way to do this is to gradually build up the colour. Apply a light coat all over as a kind of undercoat - this will give the paint something to stick to rather than it all being soaked up by the fabric. Once you've applied the first coat, give it half an hour or so and apply another coat. Try to do nice even strokes - you might need three thin coats depending on the fabric. Just go until you're happy with it! Leave to dry for an hour or so until it's touch dry.

Step 15: Peel and Reveal!

Now for the fun part - peel back and reveal! Peel off all the contact paper diamonds and then leave to fully dry - my paint suggests 48 hours before washing. Follow the instructions on the bottle as all fabric paints are different.

Once it's all set and dry, it's time to roll out the patterned carpet! Pop it in the playroom, under your bed, in the living room or kids room. The So Soft fabric paint ensures the lines aren't scratchy underfoot, and the colour and pattern you've chosen are literally one-of-a-kind. Just beware of possible requests from friends...

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