how to paint a rug (chevron)

So, maybe chevron (zigzag) pattern is a has-been for some of you, but I'm still deeply (wipe a tear) deeply in love with it. Especially rugs. I've wanted one for a while now. Like these:

But I just couldn't bring myself to fork over the cash for one. Enter the five-star idea in cyberworld that you can actually paint your own rug. Genius.

I bought an inexpensive plain flatweave rug from Ikea. Decided on the size/scale of ziggity-zagness I wanted, then proceeded to spend 40 days and nights marking it out and taping it. Okay, fine, not that long...but close.

Here's how: let's say I wanted the top points to be 10 inches apart. I used a marker and a measuring tape and, going along the top of the rug, made a small mark every 10 inches. (These I made sure to paint over.)

Then let's say I wanted each zigzag to go down 6 inches. I measured 6 inches down from the top of the rug (where I had already marked) and laid my measuring tape straight across. (I used the woven rug lines to determine straightness.) I then made a mark 5 inches in (or whatever is half the distance of your previously marked distance), then proceeded with every 10 inches thereafter.

How we doing, are you following this?

From the 2nd line of marked dots, I then measured 6 inches down (or whatever zigzag height you're using), laid out my measuring tape straight across, and made a dot at 0 inches in and every 10 inches thereafter. Repeat until you're all the way down your rug.

As you're taping, make sure you're taping with painting the chevron in mind - you won't put tape on the bottom of all the lines, for example. You'll alternate top, bottom, top, that as you paint, you're painting the full distance of your zigzag stripe. Your tape will actually look a little off, because every other zigzag stripe will look skinnier than the other.
That explanation is wonky, I know. Try to check the photo above to see what I'm talking about. Heh.
I'd planned all along on using a reddish paint, but I made a last-minute decision to go slightly more muted with a paint color called "toasted almond," mostly because I already had nearly a full quart on-hand and it's a pretty color. (My sincerest apologies to those of you Google Search users coming here amid your quest for ways to toast almonds. Feel free to create your own blog post on roasting the nut and calling your method "painted rug" just out of spite. I'd understand.)

So. I simply dipped my dry brush in the paint, wiped off the super-duper excess, and dab-painted my little heart out. Brush strokes were challenging, so I mostly did dabs, which also helped to keep the taped lines a little crisper. I think I did two or three coats, because the rug absorbed some of it.
I'm happy with the color and the way it turned out. I like the dry-brush effect; it seems instantly antiquated, but in a more subtle way than if the color itself were darker. Also, slight paint bleeding under the tape isn't obvious, and the zigzag looks crisp and sharp.

I just threw the rug down on the floor for your viewing pleasure here; it obviously needs to be integrated into the space. What do you guys think? Have you ever painted a rug? Did you like it?
Addendum: If you're so inclined, check out how this rug was used in our master bedroom. It currently lives, quite happily, in our simple guest bedroom. Sneak peek of the latter:
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  1. Anonymous10/22/2012

    Thank you for this post.
    Just wondering, did you use wall paint or is there some sort of rug/fabric paint that should be used? C

    1. Hey C, I just used some leftover latex paint (semi-gloss, I think).
      If you do this, I'd love to see a photo of your finished product! Seriously.

  2. Awesome idea! Do you know if it'd work on a blueish color rug?

    1. I don't know for sure, but I'd be willing to try it, myself. I'm cuh-razy like that...

  3. I was just talking to my friend about doing this to her rug. It has some stains and she needs to either cover them up or throw it out. How fortunate to find your tutorial!! I recently started a Thursday link-up party (yes, today:), and I would really love to see this post and/or any others you would like to include. I am at Hope to see you there and for many more Thursday's to come!!

  4. Anonymous3/14/2013

    Hi! Just popped by from New Nostalgia and think this is genius! I have big plans to stencil an outdoor rug for my patio so seeing how well it turned out for you is encouraging. I tried to do a table in chevron and there was surprisingly a lot of math involved. I hate math didn't work out. :)

    Dana @ Happy Little Lovelies

  5. The rug looks great and the tutorial was spot on for someone like me. :D So I featured you yet again. Keep linking up. Love your stuff.

  6. LOVE it Brittney!!! I want one!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality! I can't wait to see what you link up tomorrow evening!

  7. I was sort of lost in the directions... but catching you, so that means I'll pin this for later reference. :)
    super job!

  8. I have the same rug and for months now have
    not had the guts to do this.. well now I am
    and your directions are such a motivation
    for me.. now, what kind of paint did you use?
    My rug is under my kitchen table and starting
    to show stains...
    This will be my next project!
    Thanks for sharing


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