Seeing Spots


The weather has been fantastic this summer and we’ve been really enjoying our outdoor space around here including our giant deck. Considering our yard is mostly a dramatic slope, our deck space is our primary entertainment and chill out space so it gets plenty of use. Every year I make a new rug for our deck (for more ideas you can read about our previous striped rug and honeycomb rugs). The deck needs some work (more on that soon) but the rug helps jazz it up, divide up some of the space and of course, cover up some of the yucky red stain.


Above is the depressing “before image”… while repairing, scrubbing and re-staining are on our list of things to do, a rug was priority because we were having a surprise party in a few days. I approached this rug just like the rugs I’ve made in the past. I bought a canvas drop cloth from the hardware store. They come in a variety of sizes so there are endless possibilities! I chose a 9’x6′ drop cloth for my space and spent a whopping $13. Most of them come with the edges folded over and roughly hemmed which makes it feel a little more finished. If you wanted a square shape or custom size this would be easy to cut and fold/iron or sew a hem around the edge. After removing the canvas from the package, I roughly ironed out all of the fold marks and wrinkles so I would have a flat work space. I laid it out in my super fancy studio space: the dining room table.


Ironing took about a half hour and I spent that time brainstorming design ideas for the rug. The striped rug was easy because it was just tape and a quick paint job. Last year’s honeycomb rug was more labor intensice with the template tracing and more precise painting. I wanted this rug to be somewhere in between: a graphic print look with less elbow grease. I ended up with the idea to “stamp” circles on it. I was actually inspired by the pillow I had made using the mason jar lid to create a ring pattern print.


Using the left over paint from the last front door project was a convenient way to save money. The color matched and I was pretty sure that outdoor paint would last for the year. In my previous rug projects I had used acrylic and fabric paints and had sometimes even watered them down for a washed look. All lasted for the year… and that is all we expect since these rugs are basically disposable to us. I poured paint onto a shallow plastic tray and found a plastic popcorn bucket in the desired circle size. I also made sure to have some cardboard to “blot” the bucket on after dipping.


Using the bucket as my stamp, I dipped, blotted and stamped away. I began away from the edge so that my pattern wasn’t depending on the edge of the canvas. I knew it wasn’t perfectly square and I liked the idea of the pattern sort of running of the rug with partial circles. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.


I often could get 2 or 3 stamps from the bucket before having to dip it again. I thought it created a nice look and had a little bit of an ombre feel. I stamped the circles in a staggered fashion, some very close to each other and others touching. I wasn’t precise or measured. They were’t perfect and some parts of the circles were heavier with paint or more faint. A brush was handy nearby if paint was so thick to dry in a decent time. Also, thick paint was more likely to crack or flake after being out in the elements.


You can see above the “run off the page” look I was going for. I did phases of stamping in sections as large as my table allowed. I’d stamp out a bunch, let it dry for about 20 minutes, go change laundry or something and come back to do the next section. Although it wasn’t totally dry, I was able to drape sections over the chairs as I went so that semi-wet paint and fabric weren’t piling up on the floor.


I posted this teaser photo on instagram. Some of you were close with the guesses: drapes, pillows and such. Nobody guessed rug!



Here is the finished product! I like the color with the chairs! The deck needs more work, but it feels a little nicer just because of the rug.


PS- Our party was nice but it rained and we couldn’t hang out on the deck after all. Of course.

One thought on “Seeing Spots

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s