How to paint a floor canvas

Use a projector to capture classic decorative designs

Rolling paint on a canvas mat

A. We rolled periwinkle blue latex paint on as our background color for the canvas mats at top.

E. Spencer Toy; James Carrier

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Simple to make and surprisingly durable, painted canvas used as a floor mat adds graphic punch to a room. We started by choosing printed designs and photocopying them. The decorative patterns were reflected onto the canvases with a projector (available from art-supply and crafts stores) then each design was traced and painted. We found that simple, high-contrast patterns worked best.

How to make a floor mat

1. Lay out a preprimed canvas with a 1-inch allowance on all sides for finishing the edges. We started with 3- by 5-foot canvases (about $8-$10 each at an art-supply store).

2. With a foam paint roller, apply one coat of acrylic latex paint for your background color (A). Be sure to cover the entire front of the canvas. Allow to dry completely.

3. Using a sturdy, nonmarring tape, hang your canvas on a flat, vertical surface in a room that can be darkened, so the projected image will be easier to see.

4. Place the projector, with the photocopied pattern beneath it, on a flat surface approximately 8 feet from the canvas. Move the projector forward or back until the pattern on the canvas is the desired size.

We used an Artograph Tracer projector (available at crafts stores; $80) to transfer our designs onto canvas. The Tracer will enlarge images up to 14 times their actual size. The Tracer Jr. ($50) will enlarge an image up to 10 times the original. We needed the stronger projector to enlarge an image in one step to fit a 3- by 5-foot canvas.


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