Each year I seem to make one Christmas present that nearly kills me. It’s usually a present for someone in my family, and it’s usually a much bigger project than I dreamed it would be. One year Luke and I built a funky bookshelf for Cameron which still had glue drying on it as he unwrapped it. Last year I was painting jungle animals on a rocking chair for Alex on Christmas Eve. This year, it was the floorcloth. The recipient of this lovely floorcloth doesn’t read this website and has somehow figured out how to go days at a time without even touching a computer. I can’t imagine. So anyhow, I feel pretty safe showing this off, figuring that he/she won’t see it. But just in case, I’m not going to mention their name. Is it you? Maybe. If you’re lucky.
I’ve been fascinated with floorcloths since I heard there was such a thing. Its basically a thick sheet of canvas that’s painted on and covered with polyurethane so you can walk on it. This canvas was made to be a floorcloth and has a sticky, grippy type backing on it to keep it from slipping. I knew I wanted to make this Christmas present for a certain someone, and I looked for designs all through November trying to get inspired. It was a little overwhelming. I usually paint things that are smaller than 12″. This baby is 8 1/2 feet by 5 feet. I found this rug on Urban Outfitters that I liked, so I used it as inspiration for my own design.
Before I painted my design, the floorcloth needed to be primed and since I prefer the casual method to the “you must use specific brand X primer” method, I just used flat white ceiling paint. Easy, cheap, rolled on nicely. Four coats of ceiling paint rolled out on the floor using a long handled roller. It went quickly. I did it all down by the wood stove so the drying time was cut down drastically. The over the course of two evenings and about six Christmas movies, I painted the circles using two different sized plates as my template. Then five coats of acrylic polyurethane and I was almost done! But then I needed to bind the darn thing.
Most websites suggested turning the canvas under and ironing it, then stitching it or using an adhesive to make a clean edge. That sounded fine, but my canvas was a bit narrow to begin with and I didn’t want to loose any width by folding it under. Instead, I thought it would look cool with a black border. I looked everywhere for rug binding already made, but found only satin blanket binding or skinny quilt binding. Rats! Instead I bought some thick black cotton fabric and spent Monday evening making 36 feet of 3″ binding. Not fun. I hate to iron and this job was nothing but ironing. I wanted to try using Stitch Witchery (I love that name) to attach the binding to the canvas, but was having inconsistent luck getting it to melt and stick. Last night I spent two Christmas movies ripping out the Stitch Witchery and replacing it with industrial double-sided tape meant to hold down vinyl flooring. Hopefully that means the binding isn’t going anywhere and I can finally wrap the darn thing and get on with Christmas! There are still some smaller crafts I have to finish and this big lug has been taking up all of my time and worrying. I do love it though, and want to make one for myself once the holiday rush is over.
The funny thing to me as I type this is that I can remember each movie I watched to pass the time as I worked. Let’s see if I can list them all: Sons of Mistletoe, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus, A Christmas Story (three times), Jack Frost, Papa’s Angels, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Holiday in Handcuffs (twice), Little Drummer Boy, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Snowglobe (twice, painfully), It’s a Wonderful Life, Deck the Halls, and A Year Without a Santa Claus. Phew! So that’s roughly… 25.5 hours to make this thing. Boy, I hope he/she likes it. And hopefully everyone in my family will be naughty next year so I can just buy their presents instead of making something so big.