Back in the “olden days,” the floor in an average home could be planked wood — sometimes with substantial gaps between the planks — or it could be packed dirt, or it could be just ugly and cold. If your household was of modest means, chances are you couldn’t afford the expensive and rare hand-made area rugs. So was born the floor cloth. It is just what it’s name implies, a cloth placed on the floor.
After linoleum became the floor covering of choice for the average home because of price, availability and the plethora of prints and colors, floorcloths fell out of fashion. But, like quilts, hand-made wood furniture and heritage seeds, they are enjoying a resurgence in favor.
So, get some good, heavy canvas. Prime the surface and paint away. Use a stamp, a stencil, or do a design free-hand. Replicate a tile pattern or tape off stripes. Pick a motif from something that already exists in the room, like the scroll-work on a table leg, or a flower in a cushion, and repeat the motif on the rug. Finish with a clear-coat, hem the edges of the canvas and you are done.
That is, of course, the really simple version. Special primers, paint-on backing material and finish mediums are necessary to ensure the colors don’t bleed, fade, chip off or crack. If you want to try making a floorcloth, go to the library and get a book. Go online and check out Kathycooperfloorcloths.com. (Her book is “The Complete Book of Floorcloths”). These beauties will open your eyes to the possibilities.
I was thinking about trying a floorcloth, was doing some research and found “Floorqulits”. Trust quilters to do something innovative with their art form; they have taken things one step further and merged quilts and floorcloths. Have a look in the book “Floorquilts!: Fabric Decoupage Floorcloths- No-sew Fun”. Go to Google books and check out the inside views of this book. The quilt blocks are cut, just like in “regular” quilting, and applied to the floorcloth base using specific products and techniques. The result is a quilt made for use on the floor. They are really quite something.
Please remember that both of these art forms require you use specific products. If you don’t use the right products, not necessarily by brand name but certainly by product description, the results will probably not be very good.
And as soon as one of you is ready to teach a class on floorcloth construction, count me in. (I have a great source for canvas up to 10 feet wide at fantastic prices.)