Thursday, July 26, 2012

DIY: Painted Ikea Erslev Rug

I've been seeing a lot of DIY painted rugs on Pinterest lately. People take the $40 white Erslev rug from Ikea and use some paint to jazz it up. E has been getting more creative with her snack time lately, leading to some added artwork on our somewhat white, but nevertheless recently cleaned, carpet.

We were at Ikea a couple weeks ago and picked up the Erslev rug. It's a nice rug and very inexpensive but it is WHITE. Not exactly the ideal color for a toddler. One day and a cup of mandarin orange juice later, and I knew we needed to add some color or something to hide the inevitable stains that will come.

First, I used an old box lid to make a stencil. Just make three rows of marks every nine inches apart (horizontally and vertically) and connect the lines diagonally. Lowe's has a much better chevron how to on their Creative Ideas site. (That's piggy in the picture - she's our moral support.)

Once I had the stencil, I used it to tape out the lines on the rug. I probably could have just freehanded it with the paint, but again I have a toddler. A toddler very interested in moving cardboard. So I used the tape. I did have to make some marks on the rug at certain points to ensure I maintained a consistent width - and didn't add an extra inch because of the width of the tape. And the tape helped keep the lines straight and crisp. Also, I started a little into the pattern just to satisfy my own need for symmetry. What would happen if I started at one part in the pattern at one end and ended at a different part at the other? I couldn't handle it. I'd have to throw it out and start over.

I have a lot of extra paint in my basement from various rooms in our house that I used here - what better way to make sure your new room matches your color scheme than to use that exact color?  The green is from my kitchen. The blue is from my master bathroom. The pink/red is combo of two $3 samples from Home Depot. I also mixed in a bit of textile medium from Michael's ($6 for 8 oz but less if you use a coupon!). It turns any paint into fabric paint and hopefully avoids the crunchy dried paint feel. I probably should have used more than I did - the bottle says two parts paint to one part medium - but I only bought one bottle and was too lazy to go back to the store for more.

I used a combo of a foam roller ($3) and sponge brushes (7 cents each on sale at Michael's) to paint the rows. It took a bit to make sure the paint got into all the grooves, but it wasn't a painful process. I was a little nervous to pull the tape off in the morning, afraid that the paint had bled underneath. I was pleasantly surprised that the lines were crisp and clean.

There were some spots where the paint didn't fully penetrate the rug - it is woven, after all.  I thought about putting on a second coat, but decided against it. It's a rug, and it's only going to get walked on, adding to the worn-in look. I've decided to embrace it.

Here's how it looked when all the tape was removed. I love it. It's fun and bright, and yet still matches everything else in the adult side of the family room.

And here's how it is with the room all put together again.

This project was a bit intimidating to me - who paints a rug? That's crazy. But it only took about six hours total, and that included time out for dinner, bath time and bed time. I started before the evening news and I was done by the end of Leno. And cheap too - less than $60 for the rug, paint and supplies. It has me thinking where else I can do this - a baby room maybe?


  1. How did you clean the erslev?? I have it too and it needs a cleaning!!

  2. So far we've just used a wet, soapy rag - but when we need to break out the heavy duty stuff, we use one of two things - 1. fantastik OxyPower - it's a multi-purpose spray cleaner but it works great on carpets and other soft surfaces. We used this A LOT when we had a newborn who had projectile poo. 2. When we had Stanley Steemer do the carpets a while back, they left us with a bottle of carpet spot cleaner. I'm not quite sure what it's called because we just used it up. Hope this helps!