Ikea Rugs, Personalized (and Instructions)

Our kitchen became a rug-stamping workshop twice for granddaughter Alden. Last December my daughter Margaret requested a rug to go underneath grandson Fitzgerald’s Christmas present–a kitchen set. There was no time to weave a rug to order, so I came up with a plan to put his name on an inexpensive Ikea rug. Stenciling was beyond one-year-old Fitz’s abilities, so Alden (then 6) stepped in, when she came for a visit from California.

I promised Alden she could make one for herself later, so this summer she stamped her own name.

See stamping in action in this short video.

I’ll bet most readers would be perfectly able to figure out how to do a similar rug, but here are some comments on these projects.

You could stamp a rug you weave yourself, but these rugs from Ikea, at $6.99 each, are so inexpensive that a disastrous printing experience wouldn’t be so tragic–plus you could just turn it over and use it. The rugs vary in colors; I thought the ones with the least contrast in the stripes made the best background for printing.  For Alden’s second rug I bought three so that she could pick out the color path she liked most. (And I have two more waiting for additional grandchild projects.)

I asked Alden where she would like to stamp her name along one narrow edge, along the longer edge, or in the very center.

I have a large box of paints fabric paints and acrylic paints.  Again, it’s nice to give a choice.

I used Photoshop Elements to print out very large letters, one per page, making them larger or smaller until it seemed like a good size. I then cut out the letters from the center to make a stencil. Be sure to keep the inner parts when necessary, like the inner circles of an a or e.

I used a very light layer of spray glue on the back side of the stencil, just enough to keep the letter in place on the rug for stamping, but not so much as to leave sticky glue on the rug when it is peeled off.

Her workspace included:

  • A sponge. (From a large sponge, I used a knife to cut a cube that I thought would fit Alden’s hand well.)
  • A plastic plate with paint squirted on it.
  • A plastic plate with paper towels.  Alden dipped the sponge in the paint, and then once on the paper towel to be sure there wasn’t too much paint on the sponge.
  • A wet towel–“If you get paint on your fingers, Alden, wipe it on that, and not your white skirt!”

The paint used on the Fitz rug was a blue fabric paint, thinner than the purple paint on the Alden rug. This made the Fitz letters bolder, which was fine.  On the Alden rug, the paint mainly stayed on the ridges of the rag weft; that was a pretty result.

I sprayed and placed the stencils on the rug.  I eyeballed the spacing. I instructed Alden to “Dab, dab, dab.”  Don’t rub, or you risk getting the paint outside the letters.

I don’t know how colorfast the names would be, if the rug was washed frequently. If I had thought about it at the time, I would have heat-set the paint with a hot iron.

These are fun rugs, but if I was really talented I would be painting on rag rugs, like this Russian artist, Sukhanov. Thank you to Facebook friend Наталья Шерстянова for the link. 


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