How to Stencil a Rug: Add Style to a Boring Rug
Learn how to stencil a rug. Stenciling is one of my favorite ways to personalize a home, like these stenciled signs, my stenciled bathroom, my boho mirrors or my fireplace.
When I bought this outdoor rug a few years ago, I was just hoping to find something to protect our feet from the scorching sun. It did the job, but it was a little boring. So I turned to paint as I always do and added a fun stencil to this rug to add style to my deck.
Stencil Revolution provided me with paint for this project, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. I would never recommend products that I wouldn’t buy or use on my own. Your support helps me make more projects like this one!
Do you have a boring rug that could use an update? Learn how to stencil a rug with these easy steps!
What kind of rugs are good to stencil on?
Flat rugs without a lot of texture are the easiest rugs to stencil on. The rug that I used is an outdoor rug with a rubber backing.
Natural rugs without patterns are good as well. I’ve painted on a doormat before with good results. Just don’t expect perfectly crisp lines.
Your rug should be light colored (dark paint shows up easier on a light background than vice versa.)
How to Choose a Stencil for a Rug
- Go for simple. Since even the smoothest rug has texture, choosing a simple design will make your life easier. Plus, it will look a little better on the texture.
- Bigger is better. A bigger stencil fills more space. Which means less work for you and the job is done faster. I chose a 25″ x 25″ stencil.
- Get inspired. Look at traditional rug designs for ideas. Mandalas work great for creating medallion style rugs. Trellis patterns are also a traditional pattern for rugs.
- Be inventive. Go for something all your own. Just because it hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. These stars would look so cool on a rug!
Paint for Stenciling a Rug
I chose outdoor paint since the rug lives on my deck. The paint was something that I already owned, but I love the color and consistency of the paint. Plus, I know for a fact that it stands up well to the elements because I used it on a doormat.
Use a paint with good coverage, like latex paint or even chalk paint for indoors. Since you can’t really do 2 coats on a stencil, your paint needs to be thick.
- Use a very dry roller. This helps to prevent the paint from bleeding under the edges.
- A roller creates a vintage effect with “faded” parts. For a more solid look, use a stencil brush. Remember to keep it very dry.
- Keep paper towels on hand to clean the back of the stencil to avoid smudges.
- A helper is handy to hold the stencil while you’re applying the paint. If you don’t have a helper, use painter’s tape.
- Don’t sweat mistakes. Patterns read as perfect from far away.
How to Stencil a Rug
This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing an item through an affiliate link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
- Rug (similar)
- Stencil – Mandala in 25″ x 25″
- Outdoor paint
- Foam roller
- Paper towels
- Protect your floor with a drop cloth. Although my rug is rubber backed, I still wanted to protect my floor, so I laid out a drop cloth first.
- Place your rug on it. Finding a large open space was probably the hardest part of this project. I had to move a lot of furniture out of the way. Put your pets away. For us this meant listening to our dog cry for half an hour because we were outside without her.
- Start in the middle of the rug. If you’re doing an all over pattern, you can start in a corner, but because I’m using a mandala stencil, I wanted a center medallion.
- Load your roller with paint. Remove almost all of it. You want a very dry roller.
- Start rolling over the stencil. It might not look like it’s covering very well, but it is. Don’t over-apply paint.
- When your stencil is complete, lift up and admire your work.
- Clean the stencil back to avoid smudges. I used the paper that came with the stencil and flipped the stencil over. Then I used paper towels to wipe away the wet paint. You can also clean the stencil between each stencil, but since I was working outside, I chose the paper towel method.
- Move on to your next stencil. If you’re working in a tight space, be sure to not trap yourself in a corner. For that reason, I started near the back. My stencils were staggered in a checkerboard pattern.
- To stencil near the edges, I laid the paper along the rug binding and stenciled. This allowed me to get near the edge without stenciling on the binding or floor. You can skip this step, but I liked how the stencil continued off the edge.
- When you’re done with your pattern, let the rug dry. Now you know how to stencil a rug.
- Don’t forget to clean the stencil. I placed my stencil in the bathtub and used a scrub brush to remove the paint. A sponge also works well for this.
The stenciled rug is the perfect start to a deck makeover that will be happening in the fall when the weather cools off. I’ll give you a hint: this stencil will be a huge part of the deck!
The rug isn’t boring anymore and it’s still a light color that doesn’t burn our feet.
Who’s ready for a dip in the pool?
Pin for Later!
Emy is a vintage obsessed mama of 2 DIYer who loves sharing affordable solutions for common home problems. You don’t need a giant budget to create a lovely home. Read more…
that looks great, emy! i love the blue color you chose!
Thanks Cassie! I hope to add more color to my deck soon. Just in time for winter. 😉