Floorcloth Tip #1 How to Make the Edges Lie Flat

Your floorcloth should lie very flat to the floor. If it doesn’t people may trip over it and the edges can get bent over and cause cracking in the painted surface. If you are buying a floorcloth, check for the following:

1) That it has a hem- I prefer a sewn hem, but a well-glued hem is good too. At least a 1″ hem will provide enough weight to help keep the edge down to the floor.

Medfield Stencil2) That it lies flat on the floor when you unroll it. A floorcloth which has been rolled up for some period of time, may take a little while to unfurl. You should be able to tell if the edges are warped more than the center. That’s a bad sign.

3) That the hem is painted also. If the hem is unpainted, it may warp more than the front.

On the topic of buying a floorcloth- when you get it home adhere it to the floor with double-sided carpet tape. You won’t regret it. The floorcloth will last much longer, is much less likely to crack, and will lie nice and flat.

If you are making a floorcloth do the following:

1) Use heavyweight canvas (at least 18 oz.) and double shrink it before applying any paint. If you don’t shrink it, the canvas will curl up when you apply the paint.

2) After applying a base coat (gesso, primer or latex paint) measure and cut the canvas, allowing enough for at least a 1′ hem all the way around.

3) Press the canvas very flat before applying any paint.

Canvasworks’ prepared blanks have been shrunk, primed and hemmed so they lie nice and flat and will continue to do so for years to come!

Category : How to Make Your Own

22 Comments → “Floorcloth Tip #1 How to Make the Edges Lie Flat”


  1. Barbara van Gorder
    6 years ago

    How do you double shrink canvas?

    Reply

  2. lisa
    6 years ago

    To double shrink the canvas, soak it with hot water (applied with a sponge) all over one side, roll it up, unroll it the other way and soak the other side. Allow the canvas to air dry overnight. A 10′ piece of #4 canvas will shrink 6″-8″!

    Reply

  3. sdobbie
    6 years ago

    I bought your Basic Checks with Stencil floorcloth kit. I have never done stenciling, so I need help. Can you give me some guidance about what type sponge brush to use?

    Reply

  4. Sanford Roth
    6 years ago

    I have a question, not a comment. How do you keep the paint from running under the masking tape so that you don’t have to spend so much time touching up the edges?

    Reply

  5. lisa
    6 years ago

    I don’t use masking tape, just for that reason. I freehand all my lines. With the right brush, paint of the right consistency and a steady hand, it’s easier than chasing bleeds under the tape.
    If you must use tape, use the back of a spoon to push it down as hard as possible into the weave of the canvas.

    Reply

  6. lisa
    6 years ago

    A 1″ sponge roller works well for stenciling. Load the roller in a shallow plastic dish and test it on paper towel before applying to the floorcloth.

    Reply

  7. Terry
    6 years ago

    Hi Lisa,
    Do you not stretch your canvas on stretcher bars anytime during the process? Thanks

    Reply

  8. lisa
    6 years ago

    No, we don’t stretch it because we want it to shrink as much as possible during those initial steps. Later, we press it to remove any warping and to make it lie very flat.

    Reply

  9. Maureen
    6 years ago

    I just learned the hard way that latex interior paint is not good – it cracks. The only paint that seems to work is exterior. Have others forund this to be true or was it just this particular paint?

    Reply

  10. lisa
    6 years ago

    Exterior is definitely better than interior. It has more plastics in it, so remains more flexible.

    Reply

  11. Mary
    5 years ago

    I am an art teacher and I am working with a group of students who are interested in making floorcloths in my creative crafts class. I was wondering if we need to prime the back of the canvas and should we use gesso or poly? Thank you for your help. I wish I had found your website a little sooner. mary merta

    Reply

  12. ANNA
    5 years ago

    Hi Lisa, you show some floorcloths under tables and chairs…won’t they scratch? My wooden floors covered in poly get scratched by furniture.

    Reply

  13. betsy m
    5 years ago

    I paint many finishes on furniture pieces with oil paints. I would love to attempt a fllor cloth. I read using exterior latex paint is preferred. You mentioned #4 cloth is quite rough, but is this the preferred type? Thank you.

    Reply

  14. Janice
    5 years ago

    My floorcloth is only 2 months old and the paint cracked and peeled all the way down to the primer. This is the first one I had do this to me. I believe I used interior latex paint instead of primer on this one. The first 2 coats were interior latex also. Is this why this happened. I read somewhere that you can use latex paint instead of primer. Is latex primer okay to use? I don’t want this to happen again.

    Reply

  15. Alicia
    5 years ago

    Can floorcloths be used on an enclosed back porch. And left there year round.

    Reply

  16. Lori
    4 years ago

    I have also read that you can prime with latex paint. I did this and the whole border chipped off. I now will try exterior paint and use a primer that is either acrylic gesso or latex primer. I don’t know whether it is better to use latex primer or gesoo. Lisa, I need your help on this!!

    Reply

  17. Katie
    4 years ago

    I too had my floorcloth crack on the edges. I used interior latex enamel paint- Used 2 coats for my primer. Then different polys…2 coats oil based minwax, 1 coat Sherwin Williams “Sher-Clear” Semi Gloss and one coat of the Sher-Clear Flat because the semi gloss seemed Very shiny. I am wondering if I should use exterior paint and different primer as well.

    Reply

  18. mary
    4 years ago

    A suggestion to a comment from above about paint seeping through tape; Sherwin williams has a tape called frog tape: It’s green :) and after applying it, you use the back of a spoon and press it hard down on the surface. when paint reaches its edges, it thickens and prevents paint from seeping through

    Reply

  19. mary
    4 years ago

    LIsa, is it possible to purchase larger floorcloths from you? I am thinking of 5 x 7 in one room and 8 x 10 in another; thx

    Reply

  20. Penelope
    3 years ago

    Hi Lisa,

    When you talk about pressing the floorcloth to remove any warping, do you mean ironing it? I’ve double shrunk it as you described, but there are slight bulges in some areas.

    Penelope

    Reply

  21. Anna Herscher
    3 years ago

    question: can I use acrylic paints on my floorcloth?

    Reply

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