Tuesday, August 13, 2013

DIY: Stenciled Moroccan Rug

It has been quite some time since I've had a new post... I've been meaning to put this one up for a while since I made the rug before I moved into my new apartment and it's been several months since I've moved! The picture above is my living room with the "new" rug (not so new now) I stenciled!

To make the rug, I referenced several blogs, which I'll link below. Total time probably took me around 15 hours... I know that is an absurd amount of time, but I learned some things along the way so if I did this project again I don't think it'd take that long.. Total cost was about $50-$60.

- Area rug
- Newspaper (to place under the rug when painting)
- Stencil (store bought or printed from online)
- Cardboard (for tracing the printed stencil on)
- Fabric Paint (see note below about other paint options)
- Spouncers (those sponges on a stick)
- Paint brush
- Painter's tape
- Ruler
- Scissors
- Exacto knife
- Chalk
- Pencil


1. Pick Out the Rug 
I wanted to buy a large rug for my new apartment that could fit a coffee table and a sofa on it, but I didn't realize large rugs are SO expensive! They're all at least $300+... all the good looking ones anyway.
For example, this one is from Overstock that is $327.99 and is 7'x6'.

I went to Home Depot to get an indoor/outdoor area rug in a plain color- they have a section of rugs for as low as $20 since they're usually leftover pieces. They only had 5'x7' or 8'x12' rugs when I went, which I thought was both too small or too large for our living room. I ended up going to Lowes and getting a 6'x8' dark charcoal rug for $20.Walmart is another place that has cheap plain colored rugs. 

2. Print Out Stencil
I printed off a Moroccan style stencil from alittlebiteofeverything, but please note- I noticed that the ends (top and bottom part) of the stencil were different widths so I had to do some adjusting so that they were equal widths, otherwise it won't line up properly.

Note about the paint: 
I used the little bottles of fabric paint and severely underestimated how much paint I'd need. I ended up needing count 'em... 11 bottles of paint!! I had to make a second trip to the store at 10 PM to buy more! If I were to do this again I'd try it with acrylic or latex paint and add fabric medium. Fabric medium is a liquid you add to acrylic or latex paint to change it into something that is permanent, washable, and not so stiff. Also, acrylic and latex paint comes in larger containers so it'd be cheaper overall.

3. Trace and Cut Out Stencil
I cut out the design of the stencil and traced the outer edge of it onto a piece of cardboard. Then, I taped the center part of the design back into place and traced that part.

Then, I used an exacto knife to cut out the design. I added 4 "notches" to the design originally to hold the center part in place so it wouldn't be floating when I applied it to the rug for painting, but I ended up liking the edited design and kept them there.
   4. Tape Off Border
I measured 1" around the entire edge of the rug and marked it with a chalk pencil. Then, taped it off with painter's tape. I didn't do it here, but I would lay down newspaper under the entire rug or else you'll end up with splotches of paint on your floor... like me :(

   5. Start Painting!
Lay the stencil down and tape it in place. I used an extra rice measuring cup to hold the paint and a spouncer to blot the paint on. Keep moving the stencil down and repeat... and repeat... and repeat...

   6. Paint the Border
Once you're done, remove the painter's tape from the edge and apply a new border of painter's tape 1" from the edge. I used a paint brush and a large spouncer to spread the paint out.

At least I laid down newspaper for this step!

   7. Optional - Do a Second Coat
I thought that my paint application wasn't even and it looked a little thin, so I applied a second coat of paint. You don't need to if you like it the way it is. You'd think I couldn't take any more dabbing, but I was committed!


Before and After
(Stuffed animal is here for size reference) :P

The final product!!


The Damage:

 Look how crazy the stencil looked afterwards! All those layers of paint and carpet lint!
This is why you put newspaper down under the rug before you paint! I had these splotches of paint all over the floor that I had to hand remove using nail polish remover! 

The poor spouncer... pounded to death

Below is some inspiration with some things that I found interesting about each of them.
(Click the picture to go to their blog)

This tutorial looks very similar to my rug. It is a lot more tedious as she traces the outline of the stencil onto the rug, and hand paints the entire thing - but it looks great! 

This tutorial uses painter's tape for the design, and latex paint + fabric medium. 
This tutorial uses a store-bought stencil and a foam roller which is better suited for a rug with a lower nap (less fuzzy).

This tutorial uses the same rug as the one I bought! She uses a store bought stencil with acrylic paint + fabric medium.


  1. Wow, your tutorial is so encouraging! I plan to do the same for a rug and a pair of curtains and I hope it ends up as good as yours did! <3 Great work, thank you for sharing! :)

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