DIY Area Rug: Add Your Own Textile Design

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Patterned rugs are becoming increasingly popular for home decor. Stores like Urban Outfitters and Madeline Weinrib have been leading the way in introducing faded stencils in textile patterns like honeycomb and tilework that add instant design and pizzazz to any room. As a bonus, area rugs in in any design bring a whole room together, add dimension and increase visual appeal.

Another benefit of faded textiles is that they're easy to make yourself. With a plain rug and a traditional rubber entryway mat, you can create your very own, personalized area rug, and on virtually any budget. Skip expensive home décor boutiques and craft your own stylish rug. Here are the basic steps to creating one:

1. Lay a plain rug on a flat surface. While outdoors is also recommended for painting, this craft can be done indoors, over a protective tarp. Old, stained rugs are perfect for this, since you'll be painting over them anyway. Make sure it's the right size for your room, and cut it down if needed. The rug doesn't need to be a perfect rectangle, either. The more rustic and aged it looks, the better. Stretch the rug taut, and weigh down the edges to make sure that it stays flat. While using a rug you already own is the least expensive option, cheap rugs can easily be found at discount retail stores.

2. Scrub any dirt off your old rubber door mat. If you don't have one, then you can buy one for under $5 at any hardware or home improvement store. Choose one that has a lifted design or a stencil design, as that's the textile you'll be using for your rug. The bonus of this project is that you can still keep the mat and use it for its original purpose when you're done.

3. Pour paint in a color of your choice into a paint tray. A great part of this DIY activity is that you can use some leftover paint from a previous home project, guaranteeing that you'll maintain a similar color scheme from your home, and save money on supplies. Insert your paint roller into the tray, and roll off any excess paint so that you have the bare minimum on the roller, while still covering it; you don't want any drips or clumps. For a less concentrated pattern or imprint, add ¼ cup of water to the paint mix.

4. Roll the paint lightly and evenly onto the raised side of the mat. If the pattern is deeply cut into the mat with deep, curved edges, then use the flat side of the matt for best effect. Make sure not to press too hard with the paint roller, and avoid dripping or pooling.

5. Place the mat, paint side down, onto one corner of your rug, and press the mat into the rug. If possible, have someone help you place the mat down, because they are deceptively heavy, and you want to get as consistent a pattern as possible. To create a faded, antiqued look, press down more in some areas than in others. This will make paint more concentrated in some areas of the rug, while appearing spotted and aged in others. If you'd like a modern, consistent pattern, then press down on the mat harder and evenly.

6. Repeat the process of painting and pressing until the whole surface of your rug has been covered in the design. Be careful about lining up the edges of the mat perfectly with areas you have already stamped. The more straight and consistent, the better. This is another good reason to have someone help you.

7. Once the rug has been completely covered with your mat pattern, wash any excess paint off the rubber mat, and place it on your front steps, or wherever you plan to use it.

8. Check your rug to make sure the pattern has been transferred to your satisfaction. Use a small paintbrush to touch up any lines that did not transfer well, or fill in any patches that did not retain paint. Be careful not to glob or pool the paint onto the rug while you touch up with the paintbrush.

Ready for Planting Finished Product


Easily convert a basic rubber door mat into a large, crafting stamp. When deciding whether to go modern or antiquated, simply look at the other décor in the room, and the pattern on the mat. Are pillows older, patterned and faded, or are they clean and modern? Adjust your mat pattern, paint color and paint density to match the feel of your other décor. Also, if you're more prone to stains, then a faded look may be better, as it makes stains look like a part of the design. Either way, you'll have a cute, original and absolutely unique area rug, at practically no cost.

Last Updated: December 7, 2011
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About Emelie Battaglia Emelie Battagila is a contributing writer for

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