By Merri Cvetan
One timeless accessory that adds personality and pizazz is an area rug. You can find rugs in every color and many designs and textures, but if you can’t find the perfect one or just want an easy DIY project (a great gift), here’s a project to make a racetrack floor mat for your child’s room.
I found a 24 x 36-inch indoor/outdoor area rug. You can use almost any rug, but one with little or no texture, a low pile or a tight weave is easier to paint. This one resembles a low pile plush carpet.
You will also need craft paint, flat head brushes or a small paint roller and painter’s tape.
I decided to make an oval racetrack. For a template, I used a big roasting pan. You can also use a large plate or bowl.
Trace the shape of the pan or plate onto a piece of paper.
Cut it out and use this piece as a template to cut the rounded shapes from the painter’s tape.
Lay the cut pieces of tape on the rug, along the edge of the paper template. Continue until you get the complete oval.
I decided to make my track 2 in. wide, so I measured 2 in. from the edge of the template. The new, smaller piece becomes the template for the inside track. Repeat the process of cutting out pieces of tape and attach to the rug to create a track 2 in. wide.
Fill in the space with black paint (or any color—who says roads have to be black?). I used a flat head stencil brush. Dab the paint on with an up-and-down motion to avoid getting paint under the tape. If you use a small roller, roll paint toward the middle, not toward the edges of the tape. It took 3 coats of paint to get full coverage. Allow the paint to dry completely before removing the tape.
I could have made a large track that filled in the entire rug, but wanted to add regular roads too. Lay out additional tape in any pattern. Repeat the paint process and allow it to dry.
My country roads needed center lines so I borrowed a slotted spoon from the kitchen and traced straight lines with a white pencil. Then I used a fine paint brush to make the lines permanent with white paint.
You are only limited by your imagination. You might prefer a figure-eight track or curvy roads. You can add houses, schools and fire station. Let your kids help create the design—you might get a very interesting little town!
Merri Cvetan of MEC Design Studio is an interior designer in Wisconsin who writes on home décor for The Home Depot. Merri's inventive DIY design ideas for area rugs reflect her interests that clients' homes reflect the personalities of the people who live in them. Home Depot's complete area rug collection, including styles reviewed by Merri, can be found online.