YES, you CAN paint a pile rug!
Here is my slightly boring family room. I'll be the first one to say I don't like color. I like clean lines, natural light, and neutrals. I do have a constant fear planted in my head by my good friend Ashli, though. I'm constantly afraid of looking too "old lady", so I decided to shake things up. I needed some pattern in this room.
Plus, the old, dirty, hand-me-down rug was starting to curl from my constant vacuum cleaner abuse. A couple of the edges had been pre-chewed by my brother's puppy when he owned it, and our coffee table never lined up with the border (which drove the perfectionist inside me nuts!).
A DIY chevron rug is nothing new. I first saw the idea at Tatertots and Jello. Although, I've spent the last week searching online and I couldn't find this technique used on a pile-type carpet, always on a woven rug. I wanted something a little more formal, and cheap, so I headed over to my local Wally World and found this.
4 1/2 ft by 5 ft + short pile + right color = $20 = PERFECT! $20 is the right price for an experiment.
I almost forgot to get a photo of the first step, so ignore the diagonal lines up top. I started by diving my rug vertically into 4 equal sections. How many sections determines how often the pattern will repeat across.
I got a lot of inspiration watching this video on YouTube
Next, I decided how steep I wanted my zig-zags. I measured that distance from the edge of the rug, marked it, and placed the tape diagonally between the next section and the mark.
Then, using a square and an Exacto knife, I trimmed off the excess tape, creating clean points.
I then just measured how tall I wanted my stripes to be, marked on the tape, and connected one point to the next.This is how it looked after all my excess tape was trimmed off. I chose to make my colored stripes 6" wide and my neutral stripes 4" wide. I walked all over my tape to make sure it was REALLY stuck well to all the little fibers.
I also covered the binding edge of the rug. I did this for two reasons. 1. I thought a clean edge would look more "store-bought" and 2. It protected my floor from stray paint.
In a separate container I mixed flat, latex paint with textile medium. The medium is supposed to keep the paint from getting stiff. The bottle says mix 2 parts paint: 1 part medium. I bought all 3 bottles they had at the store, but I really could have used more. I ended up using about half a quart of paint and my ratio was more like 4:1.
With your paint- textile medium mixture, use a stiff bristle brush and pounce your brains out. I didn't get a photo of this step because I thought it was pretty self explanatory Color inside the lines. This step took me a good while, maybe a couple hrs. And my arm felt like it was going to fall off.
I didn't try a foam brush, but I don't think it would have been great in this situation. You REALLY have to work the fibers to get the paint down in the pile and I would be concerned with the foam brush causing paint to ooze under the tape line. I used a semi-dry brush whenever I was close to the tape.
*WARNING- this will RUIN your brush. Just use a cheapy. I bet a couple chip brushes would do the job. Just make sure to really work the paint 'up and down' and 'back and forth'. Pull off the tape as soon as you finish. I used masking tape instead of painters tape and it worked great! No bleeding at all!
After letting the paint dry 24 hrs it was pretty crunchy. I think even if I used the proper amount of textile medium it would have been better, but still crunchy. I read the suggestion to use an electric sander on it.
Worked like a champ! I used 100 grit and made sure not to press too hard and take off all my hard work. It's still not as soft as the other sections, but not bad.
If I were to do it again, I would probably do 5 sections instead of 4. I didn't realize until the tape was off that I had just created a huge "W". Oh well, I don't think anyone would see that but me, plus, it's under a coffee table.
I SO glad I didn't paint the binding! I think most people would never know this rug had been painted. I LOVE the chevron pattern! It brought just the amount of young-ness the room needed.