Introduction: How to Paint an Image on Your Floor.
This Instructable will show you how to paint a mural on your floor. Obviously you would not want to do this if you are renting etc. My situation is I needed a new floor in my kitchen because the original linoleum was mighty wore out and beat down, and I did NOT have the money to put down a new floor. I did however have some leftover paints.
Step 1: First You Need a Plan.
You need to think about the shape of your floor and the flow of traffic. You want an image that looks good from as many points as possible. Not one that looks great from only one angle. think about doorways and things of this nature. My kitchen floor (the room I painted) has 3 doorways and a bit of a funky shape. ...truth be told, for this particular piece I simply free-handed the art. I had an Idea in my head and I just went with it. This works for simple or very abstract images, but be careful if you try to do this with a more literal image or one that is visually complicated. It is best in most cases to have an image on paper to transfer to your floor. pretty much any image will do. print it up on a piece of regular printer paper and then draw a grid on it. (every inch tends to work good in most cases for smaller rooms like my kitchen) .......
for example I'm using a picture of my cat. I did not do the grid as accurate as you will need to do, but you get the idea. This grid is five units by six units, so it would transfer nicely to a floor that is 5'x6' or 10'x12'. that way a one inch square will equal one square foot in the case of the 5'x6' or it will equal two square feet in the 10'x12' room.
Step 2: Ya' Gotta' Prime It. When in Doubt Use Oil Based.
Now before you transfer your image to the floor you will probably want to prime the floor. A cheap can of bonding primer is very much worth the $5.00 or $10.00 you spend on it if you can afford it.
... It will make sure that your paints stay put on the floor for a long time to come. it will also keep the paint from pealing like a bad sun-burn off the surface.
... If you have a simple linoleum floor like mine you should be safe to use a water based primer and latex and/or acrylic paints. if you have a sealed concrete floor or a wood floor that has some form of polyurethane you will need to use an oil-based primer. these primers are just as cheap. the only problem is they tend to smell a bit worse than water based and clean up is paint thinners.
... they still dry within an hour though so that is good, and you can go over most of them with latex or acrylics. Some companies even make a lacquer based bonding primer. these are great because they bond to almost anything, but clean up is a bit of a pain for some people. they dry FAST though, so if time is a big issue it is an option. I say, if you do not use water-based primer, just use cheap throw-away brushes n' rollers for the primer because it's no worse for the environment than clean up with paint thinners. and it can be much cheaper since a quart of thinner ain't cheap.
... As you can see, I'm going over an older image. it has become thread-bare after a good 4 years of heavy use. Also I'd made it for a chica that I no longer have around so I decided to do something new. the primer is about half done in this image.
Step 3: Transfering the Image.
If you want to free-hand something.... have at it. just start putting paint to floor and let the artist in you do it's thing. If you have a specific image however, now is the time to transfer the image. first transfer the grid you drew on paper to your floor. remember to keep it to scale. have you figured out what scale you will use? If you have a linoleum floor that has a square tile pattern printed in it you can use that grid to help you line up and scale the image.
Like i said, I free-handed this one because it was a very simple image so I have no photos of a grid drawn with pencil or charcoal or markers but I'm sure you get the idea.
Step 4: Apply the Paint
I tend to use semi-gloss or gloss latex trim paint because it is pretty durable. then for softer images like the one I made for my kitchen floor I mixed artist's acrylics in with it on my pallet. I used a paper plate as my pallet because they tend to work good for me when I'm doing something like this on my floor. not the most environmentally friendly, but I knew that quick clean up was a factor for this one. I had an idea of slightly abstracting cherry blossoms and doing them in red to go along with the red accent wall on the far end of the room.
.......... Lighting and wall color play a big part in how the end result will look. keep this in mind.
Step 5: After a Number of Hours....
Remember as you go, if you make a mistake don't sweat it too much because it's only paint. you can always change it. after a number of hours take your now sore body and try to stand the old bones up. take a step back and admire your work. ..... this new piece turned out pretty darn good in real life. it does not translate as good to photos as the more directly powerful image of a single LARGE magnolia flower did though. the pics don't do the new art justice, but you get the idea. I needed something light hearted so this is where it went.
Step 6: The Cat Is Still Not Amused.....
poor cat don't like her food bowl moved for the day to the dining aria.
She is smart and normally very sweet. she did realize without me having to chase her off that she did not want to walk on the kitchen floor till' the next day.
...ohhh, also, if you want, after the paint has dried for a day or so, you can put a coat of water-based polyurethane over the whole thing to help it last longer. ..... now be sure that you take it very easy on your new floor for at least a good 3 or 4 days while the paint cures up.