I have seen many photos of painted and stenciled sisal rugs and read many “how to” articles, but it was not until just recently that I actually tried doing a project. A client asked if I could paint a geometric design she had seen in a magazine. I read up on the technique and materials used, and thought I’d give it a shot. Since the rug had not been purchased yet, I asked my client to get a tightly woven sisal rug. Hers was purchased at Pottery Barn.
I graphed out my design on paper before I began this process. In my studio, I was able to push two tables together that were big enough to hold the rug. Using masking tape, I then measured and taped out my design.
I was only working with two colors, white and navy blue. I did all the white first. Well, this was not as easy as I thought it was going to be! I first tried using a stiff stencil brush to apply my paint, but it was not covering well.
I did end up doing 3 coats of the white to get the coverage I wanted.
Next came the navy blue. Darker colors definitely cover the sisal better. I did 2 coats of the blue.
Now you see the rug has really shaped up. I had very little bleeding under the tape. What little I had, I gently scraped off with an Xacto knife. I think the key with stenciling or hand painting these sisal rugs is to choose a geometric design. That way, you can follow the rows of the sisal for your guide. It would be much more challenging to try to do curved or detailed designs. I’m not saying it can’t be done, because I’ve seen some beautiful ones! I’m just saying you better be up for the task!
Here you can see the pattern a little closer. I sealed the rug with 3 coats of Krylon Clear Acrylic Sealer in a Satin finish.