DIY Doorway Décor: Welcome Guests with a Stenciled Mat Made Just By You

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Wax resist welcome rug

As our family gears up for back-to-school time and the quickly coming fall season, I am looking forward with excitement to entertaining indoors. To get the house ready, a new welcome mat is the perfect project. It’s quick enough to accomplish in about an hour and can personalize any affordable rug easily.

For this DIY I am using a process called wax-resist painting. After you learn it, you can reuse the technique for almost any design and any rug style you choose. You’ll create a statement floor piece that will make everyone feel welcome at your house.

Wax resist welcome mat for fall.

Wax resist rug design

Things You’ll Need

  • A rug that can be washed. I love the look on a simple cotton rug. You could do the project with a more graphically designed rug as well. It would be a way to reuse last year’s patterned rug that needs a quick update.
  • Stencils to use in your rug design. I used Handmade Charlotte stencils. For a variety of options, search online for stencil templates to download, such as this for design or this for text.
  • Wax-based paint resist such as Tulip Fashion Art Resist, found at craft stores.
  • Fabric/rug paint. You can purchase spray paint at your local craft store that is made especially for fabrics, and rug paint can now be found at your local hardware store. Or if you have a paint color you currently love, use a fabric medium and spray compressor to make it work.

How to make a wax resist rug

For this project, I chose a rug that was originally yellow, and then used a dark grey fabric/rug paint for the painting portion.

Use any craft stencil you’d like to do this, or freehand a design (if you’re that talented).

First, punch out the stencil carefully. You will be using the outside paper to fill with the wax resist. The best way to use the wax resist on your rug is to apply a generous amount on the inside of the stencil. Gently hold the stencil down with one hand, or use double-sided tape to keep it in place. Fill thoroughly with the resist.

After the imprint has been filled, remove the stencil paper from the rug by gently lifting upward, leaving the clear imprint of your chosen design on the rug. Follow your package instructions for specific drying time before moving on.

Wax resist rug DIY process.

Now it’s time to paint. I find using spray fabric paint to be the easiest way to make this project work. Brushes can deposit too much paint for the resist to handle. Paint the entire rug, directly over the resist, in small light coats.

After the entire rug is painted, allow it to dry. (Note: Some fabric paint might take 24 hours to cure before you can wash.) Wash the wax off by tossing it in the washer on the delicate cold cycle. Follow all instructions on your wax negative medium, because every brand works just a bit differently. The result will be a graphic design that looks way beyond this humble rug’s pay grade.

Make a wax resist rug for the front door!

The wonderful welcome rug looks ready to great guests as the days begin to turn just a bit colder. Or use your rug inside the house to brighten up your rooms with pretty fabric style.

Photography by Victoria Hudgins.

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