new life for an old sisal rug

Love this DIY.  I am planning to do this project in the next few weeks with an old sisal rug. If I do not have room for it at home I may take it to covet.

Inspiration for the graphic, a beautiful woven rug from Anthropologie.  I was looking for something that had no repeating pattern so that I could essentially freehand paint the rug without worrying about spacing and measuring.  The organic floral motif was perfect and it was sheer coincidence that the golden yellow was the exact colour I was looking to paint the rug.  I love the combination of charcoal grey and golden yellow [see here].

If you are thinking about painting a sisal rug yourself, here are a few tips that gave me a really good finished product [and bear in mind I am no expert, but have done A LOT of painting to A LOT of different materials].  First, I primed the rug with a primer.  I used a mid-grade primer, nothing terribly expensive but thick enough, you need something to help seal the fibres of the carpet.  It also helped seal up the linen binding on the perimeter.  I then applied 2 coats of an exterior grade latex paint with an eggshell sheen.  Exterior paints have a little bit of elasticity to them, which helps them stretch over the carpet and doesn't crack when bent or rolled, which inevitably this rug will be.  For the motif however, I simply painted with regular craft acryllic paints mixed with a tiny bit of white glue.  Again, the glue helps it be a bit more elastic.  I freehanded the motif, but you could also create a stencil or 'pencil' out the pattern first.  My suggestion would be to use chalk, it wipes away easily if you change your mind about something.  Once everything was dry I finished the rug with a matte waterbased polyurethane.  This just seals everything and allows me to wipe it down if it gets dirty [Lucy's paws being the main culprit here].  The matte finish and the elasticity of all the paints below actually make the sisal quite soft underfoot and it's actually quite warm too.  By sealing up all the fibres, the rug still has a woven look to it, and quite frankly, it's very hard to tell that it is painted and not a real woven rug.
DIY/Painted Rug