The originals were made of a far heavier weight of canvas and not turned. There were always problems of paint cracking and stubbed up edges – problems which we have successfully eliminated today.
For 8' x 10' or larger dimensions, it is necessary to build a wooden frame with braced corners on which to stretch the canvas to dry. The canvas is gessoed on both side and then painted top and bottom with a roller and latex paint. While wet it is stretched with canvas pliers over the frame on all sides, and stapled with a staple gun as tightly as possible. As it dries it will shrink and become taut. The edges will have to be trimmed off when removed, further reducing the final size. Smaller area floor cloths do not need to be stretched on a frame.
#8 is the heaviest weight usable which still permits the mitering and turning of the edges, which is a necessity to prevent curling. The edges are mitered and turned in an inch, and creased hard with a rolling pin. A rubbery glue is applied, and the sides are pressed and clamped between boards until dry. Work opposite sides, two at a time. When edges are finished, the floorcloth is then turned over and a final coat or two of background paint applied to the top. Now the stenciling can begin. Mistakes can be wiped back and repainted using the latex background paint. Finish with an acrylic polyurethane. We recommend Jo Sonja™ acrylic paints, which we carry. They are wonderful for floor cloths. They do not yellow or crack. Their full line includes background colors, paints in tubes, various mediums for different effects, and matte or gloss polyurethanes.
Prepped canvas can be purchased from Michele Hollick at www.stenciledfloorclothsbymichele.
A simple way to create a floorcloth is to use vinyl floor coverings which eliminates the preparation work needed for canvas. Buy a piece of vinyl remnant and turn it over so that the felt-like backing is uppermost. (The pattern is irrelevant, but buy a sturdy thickness.) Paint it the background color you choose – two coats with a roller. This can be done in place on your floor if you slide newspapers under the edges to protect your floor. Follow the directions enclosed with your stencil. The design can be created with a stencil brush using Jo Sonja acrylic paints, which we carry, or Japan artists’ paints from Stencilease. When dry, protect the whole with several coats of recommended water base acrylic. The water base acrylic has some flexibility to it, unlike most polyurethanes. Floor cloths must be placed directly on a smooth, hard surface – not over rugs – to prevent from moving around, puncturing and cracking.