Botanical Floorcloth

This stay-at-home mom makes one of her botanical floorcloths -- art you can walk on.


The artistic talent of Gina Overshiner is in her genes--make that "jeans"! It was in high school that she discovered her knack for making her artwork permanent via denim and ballpoint pen. Although practical career pursuits prevented her from pursuing her artistic talents, this stay-at-home mom eventually made her way back to exploring non-traditional painting surfaces, as we'll see when she makes one of her botanical floorcloths--art you can walk on.

Materials and Tools:

canvas stretcher*
heavy grade unfinished cotton canvas
staple gun and staples
exterior latex house primer
exterior latex flat house paint**
artist's acrylic metallic copper paint
sea sponges of various porosities
pencils and erasers
tape measure
line level
framing square
utility knife
paste wax
contact cement or cobbler's glue
*Canvas stretcher may be made using 2" x 2" wood boards and corner brackets.
**Exterior latex flat house paint: pale yellow, light orange, black, dark gray, pale bluish green and pale yellowish green.




1. Using the frame for reference, measure and cut the canvas, allowing an extra six inches for stretching and stapling. The frame can either be 4' x 4' or 3' x 4'.



2. Stretch the canvas onto the frame. Staple one side in the center. Pull the fabric tightly across from the first staple and staple in the center. Staple the other two sides in the same fashion. Working around the canvas, pull tight and staple a few staples to either side from the center staple until all sides are completely stretched and stapled.



3. Apply one coat of exterior latex house primer to each side of the canvas.

4. Apply two base coats of yellow exterior latex flat house paint to each side of the canvas.



5. Sketch the hemline and floorcloth edges.

  • Measure out the area of the floorcloth to 3-1/2' x 2-1/2'.
  • Sketch a 2-inch hem space around the floorcloth on all four sides.
  • Use the line level and framing square to ensure that the lines are straight and the corners are square.


Remember: The stretcher occupies the 2 inches along the very edge of the canvas. Do NOT use any of this space in the hem or floorcloth allotment, as this will be discarded.



6. Sketch the selected design.

7. Paint the leaves bluish-green and paint the background around the leaves black.



8. Add depth and interest with faux techniques.

  • Thin orange paint with water and apply it over the yellow background.
  • Remove the wet paint with a rag for texture (ragging off).
  • Apply gray paint with a rag over the black paint (ragging on).
  • Apply texture to the leaves with a sea sponge and yellowish green paint (sponging).
  • Outline the plant design in metallic copper paint to accentuate the pattern.


9. Apply two coats of polyurethane to both sides of the canvas while it is still on the stretcher.

10. Cut the canvas off the stretcher with a utility knife. Cut as close to the edges of the stretcher as possible being careful not to cut into the hem allotment.

11. Use super sharp scissors to even up the cut lines and cut the corners to create neat miters.

12. To hem the floorcloth, place the canvas face down on the floor. The canvas will be stiff, so pre-fold the hem and crease it well before gluing. Apply glue to hem the floorcloth. Add weights to the hem while the glue sets. Tip: Full paint cans make excellent weights for this purpose.

13. Apply at least four more coats of polyurethane to each side of the floorcloth. This builds up the canvas further and seals the whole piece.

14. After the polyurethane has cured, this will take about a week depending on humidity and temperature in the studio, wax the face of the floorcloth to protect the finish.


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