before & after: painted patterned rug

I love it when people discover a technique and then run with it, pushing themselves and their work to amazing places. Such is the case with Holly Westhoff and her painted rug methods. We shared one of her first painted rug designs last year; it was a lovely geometric pattern that reminded me of Jonathan Adler or Hollywood Regency style rugs. Today, she’s taken her rug painting skills to whole new level. After covering the entire surface of a simple Ikea rug with tape, Holly proceeded to measure and cut out shapes from the tape until she was left with this intricate stripe design. It’s op-arty in the best way, and looks so professional—you’d never guess it started as a plain vanilla rug. Keep up the experimentation, Holly! We can’t wait to see what you do next :) —Kate

Have a before & after you’d like to share? Just shoot me an email with your images right here! (low res, under 500k per image, please)

Read the full post after the jump…

Time: 7 hours (6 hours to tape and cut design, 1 hour to paint)

Cost: $100 ($60 for rug, $40 for paint, tape, and fabric medium)

Basic Steps: First I covered the entire rug in scotch green tape placing the pieces horizontally and very close to each other. I then used a square photo frame as my guide for tracing and cutting the design carefully with my xacto. After that I removed every other strip of tape within each square going horizontally and then added vertical stripes of tape in every other square.  once I finished taping the design I mixed the paint with the fabric medium and rolled on with a 3″ paint roller. The rug is an Ikea Erslev rug, the interior flat latex paint and scotch green masking tape are from Home Depot, and the fabric medium is from Dick Blick art store.

My advice is to be patient during the taping process! Don’t stress about any flaws because it will still be pretty cool looking as the pattern is intense enough to hide them. Also be sure to use the fabric medium with the flat latex paint because it makes all the difference in the feel of the finished item! Don’t use the blue painters tape; scotch green masking tape has a much stronger stick and adheres really well to the rug and is what helps the project to be a big success! —Holly


  1. nicole says:

    i like it but it reminds me of those trippy ‘you stare at it too long and it moves and makes you nauseous’ things

  2. Damia says:

    Amazing! Quite the visual effect! And great inspiration for those of us who really really really want to try customizing a rug!!! :)

  3. say what? that is gorgeous!

  4. This would be the ultimate fun project! How cool. I think I’ll start off with a much smaller rug first though… :)


  5. Christine says:

    wow! As someone whom has tried to paint geometric designs on a dresser, I can totally appreciate this. She must have loads of patience! These are really cool.

  6. Jessica says:

    This is amazing!! Just curious…Would the rug be washable after painting it?

  7. Grace Powell says:

    Wow, I am in awe of the patience and creativity this took. A lovely Ikea hack!

  8. Jen C says:

    Love this! I have a plain white rug that I have to do this to now… I’m thinking maybe Chevron…It definately will be my next Naptime Warrior project:) Thanks for the Before and After!

  9. Wow! That is amazing, I am impressed by both the finished project and your patience!

  10. jacqueline says:

    Op art is right! This is a fantastic DIY on a rug.

    I always have trouble finding patterned rugs I like, and this is very inspiring.

  11. Lynne says:

    Could you tell us the amount of fabric medium and paint you needed to purchase?

  12. thanks for the really nice comments! you can go here to get the full download on how i did it with links to the exact supplies i used including the fabric medium

  13. Cait B says:

    I love this and may just go grab some fabric medium this afternoon to try this at home! I have the perfect candidate – bland, flat, boring and calling out for paint.

  14. Holly inspired me as well– Her tutorial is amazing. Feel free to click on the link below to see my results and lessons learned along the way. (Lesson one: Make sure the cat is locked up before you start painting!)

  15. That’s incredible!!! Love the op art feel. Ikea should hire Holly as rug designer. V

  16. Kait Rome says:

    I did a DIY painted rug and used all the same things, latex paint included. However after months the rug starts to get a little dingy, but how do you wash it? You can’t right? Or am I mistaken? No one ever explains the upkeep for these.

  17. Sara says:

    Such a cost effective way to get great design! I will be doing this for my living room for sure.

  18. Clare says:

    Oh love this. What a great before and after!

  19. Wow! Thats pretty impressive! I’m not sure I’d have the needed patience to stick all that tape =S

  20. jess says:

    This is really great! I really appreciate the tips about fabric medium and green tape, too. Nicely done AND nicely presented and described :)

  21. Ohbygolly says:

    Crazy Crazy! Oh man, I wanna try it!

  22. Sarah says:

    Kait, I’m having the exact same problem. I’ve tried using white vinegar (didn’t work) and was thinking of trying to hose it down (with a little force). This would be really helpful; thanks!

  23. Cheltz says:

    Wow, Holly! This looks great! I’m definitely going to try this sometime. Thanks for leaving such detailed instructions for the rest of us to follow in your footsteps!

  24. Kahli says:

    Holy Mackarel! That is very impressive! I wonder if I’d have the patience to create something of this magnitude!

  25. Ros says:

    That is abso – bloody – lutely brilliant! Love it

  26. This is FABULOUS! Imagine all the ways this could be interpreted! Can’t wait to give it a try!

  27. This is amazing! I’ve never thought something like this could be done. Silly me.

  28. Girlie says:

    Wow! Love that chair.

  29. @GIRLIE : Yes, me too…lovely chair. I Hope I have one in my room

  30. Amy says:

    Beautiful! I definitely want to try this!

  31. Gorgeous – and that chair is to die for.

  32. Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful work! I’m wondering if a rug with this treatment would hold up to the rigors of kitchen traffic and can you feel a texture difference when you walk on it.

  33. liz says:

    Such a cute pattern! How do you keep the white areas looking white? Do you do anything to protect the surface? I used the same erslev rug to create a really fun chevron pattern with Ikat inspired border, however in just a few weeks the white parts looked Terrible! And it wasn’t even in a heavy traffic area. Just wondered if you ran into the same problem, or had any ideas as to how to combat it. Another benefit to painting your own rug is, when you get tired of one side, flip it over and start again!

  34. Suzanne Fletcher says:

    Would you sellbthese? Do you have an Etsy shop?

  35. monica says:

    That is agood idea. But You have to much patient

  36. monica says:

    Your idea is great

  37. adam says:

    that is so freaking awesome i can’t even stand it

  38. Great technique – although this pattern is awesome it would give me a headache in 30 sec;-)

  39. rosie says:

    thanks for sharing this great idea and technique! it gives me a lot of ideas. i’m going to try it. now all i need is some zen-like patience.

  40. Amber says:

    This is so cool! Thank you for sharing it!

  41. pamela says:

    Does anyone know what the long term durability will be like? I have a rug now that was done differently and the pattern after 6 years has started to come off the felt rug-almost peeling off. I am thinking I will use this technique to go back over the current circles pattern on my worn rug. I love your rugs, they are very inventive, colorful and fun.

  42. Thanks for the nice compliments! To answer some of your questions – pamela- the great thing about this cotton flatwoven rug and paint mixed with fabric medium is that the paint soaks into the rug and the chances of peeling are slim to none. Liz- I do not have my painted rugs in high traffic areas and don’t have kids or pets so simply vacuuming mine keep them looking great. I haven’t experienced anything becoming dingy. Suzanne – I do not have an Etsy store but thank you for asking! And to the folks asking about washing the rugs in a machine I have never needed to but suppsedly with the fabric medium mixed with the paint you should be able to. I have never tested for myself so I can’t say what the results would be. And thanks to everyone who complimented my hot pink vintage chair. I love it too!

  43. Mabiel says:

    wow this is crazy awesome

  44. Julia says:

    I completely love this. I’ve seen other painted rugs, but this is really great.

  45. Mary says:

    What do you mean paint mixed w/fabric medium and how is that done? Was the chair difficult to do? Did it require more than one application? Your art is unquestionable, your talent undenyable and your patience and focus inspiratonable. Thank you for showing that one is only limited by a fear to start….!


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