A while back I fell in love with a project from Lowe's Creative Ideas magazine where they used a rubber door mat to spray paint a design on some wood boards. You can find it online here.
Something about it reminds me of Hawaii, which has a very fond place in my heart, and I knew I had to make something similiar. The only problem is I was worried that the paint would bleed through, so I decided to do all paint, instead of stain for the background. It sounded like a great idea, but let me tell you it took forever to finish! And being a perfectionist definitely doesn't help the cause.
I bought the same door mat that they used in the magazine, which measures 24x36 inches. In an ideal world, it would be ready to go the second you bring it home, but unfortunately they usually come along with extra rubber that needs to be trimmed. I used an Xacto knife to get the job done and I only cut the rubber from half the mat and just flipped it when it came time to trace the other side.
FYI This step takes a long time and will leave you with a sore wrist! Anyway, after that was done, I had my dad cut 3 pieces (2ft long each) of 12-inch wide pine, which gives you 24x36 inches. I wanted each piece to be seperate, but I guess I didn't communicate that well and my dad ended up gluing and clamping them together to make 1big piece. No biggie though!
TIP: Before you start priming the wood, spray on some matte finish to seal the knots so that they don't bleed through later.
Next, I sprayed on 2 coats of primer and then my brown paint. I would recommend doing the background color as your base coat, but I was being resourceful and using what I had on hand, which was the color for the actual design. I just think it would be easier to paint the scrolls because the background requires painting itty bitty spaces. I hope that makes sense!
The next step is to lay the door mat on the wood piece and trace the design with a pencil.
If you use a dark base color like I did, it's kind of hard to see the design, but that's where some good lighting and a pair of reading glasses comes in handy =)
This is what it looks like after 1 coat of paint. Can you see the spots where I forgot to trace the design? =)
Here it is after 2 coats of paint (and before the touch-ups).
Now the fun begins: highlighting and shading. If you aren't good at figuring out where to put the highlights and shadows, like me, you can take a picture of the door mat in whatever kind of lighting you prefer (overhead lighting, straight on, natural light, etc.) and use that as a reference while painting. To create the highlights, I used a small brush to brush on some white craft paint and then used my fingers to smudge it to make it look more realistic.
Here is a picture of my painting with some highlights. It's still at a 'rough' stage at this point. The refining comes at the very end.
After the highlighting is done on the design, the next step is to create a shadow underneath the design. This will make the design really pop off the background. You can see the huge difference it makes in the photos below.
This painting is far from being perfect (that's the perfectionist in me speaking!), but I still love how it turned out. Just need to do a coat of poly (can you tell that's my least favorite thing to do and I always drag my feet?) and attach something to hang it with and it will be done!