Author Archives: Maryam Montague

How To: Stencil a Floor

Maryam Montague, author of "Marrakesh By Design," shares her tips for this great DIY project.

How to Stencil a Floor

Photo: Marrakesh By Design

Add some color and pattern to a wood or concrete floor this summer by purchasing a couple cans of paint and a stencil pattern… like the one shown here from Maryam Montague’s new book, Marrakesh Design: Decorating with All the Colors, Patterns and Magic of Morocco (Artisan; 2012).

The room is just one of the many paint- and stain-decorated motifs featured in Peacock Pavillions: a boutique hotel in Marrakesh that she and her husband built, designed, and decorated.

With the help of decorative artist Melanie Royals of Royal Design Studio—and a team of decorative painters (now fondly known as the Peacock Painters—Maryam was able to incorporate decorated walls, floors, ceilings, furniture and even tent canvases with the exotic colors and patterns for which Morocco is known.  Along the way, “I became a stencil artist myself,” says Maryam, “and I’m astonished at how easy (although time-consuming) and inexpensive stenciling is!”

Inspired to tackle the project yourself? Here’s how:

Tape measure
Low-tack masking tape, spray adhesive, or repositionable stencil spray adhesive
1 large stencil
Stencil brushes
Concrete paint
Paper towels
Sealant (polyurethane or other)

How to Stencil a Floor - Cover

1. Clean the floor you’ll be stenciling, and let it dry thoroughly.

2. Measure the floor to locate its center, mark it with a pencil.

3. Using masking tape or spray adhesive to position the stencil at the marked center so that it does not move while you are painting.

4. Dip a clean, dry, stencil brush into the paint, and remove as much excess paint as possible from the brush by tamping it down on a stack of several paper towels.

5. Stipple (lightly tap) the stencil brush on the surface in the negative space of the stencil, working on small sections at a time. To avoid bleeding, make sure that there is only a small amount of paint on the brush at all times.

6. Use the same technique over the surface of the entire stencil.

7. Remove the stencil and reposition it. Make registration marks to line up the overall pattern adjacent to the previously stenciled area. Repeat.

8. Let the paint dry for five days, then apply a protective finish, if desired.

For more on flooring, consider:

Wood Flooring 101
How To: Refinish Hardwood Floors
Trending Now: Cork Flooring

How To: Dye Concrete Floors

Tint your drab concrete floor an eye-catching color with easy-to-apply dye.

How to Dye Concrete Floors - Marrakesh Design

Photo: Marrakesh by Design

Dyeing floors is different from staining them. With dye, there is no chemical reaction with the concrete—it simply dyes the surface. Dyes can come in liquid form or as dry pigment, the latter to be mixed with a solvent (usually acetone). The color of the finished product and the depth that the dye penetrates into the concrete depends on the dye-to-solvent ratio. Dyes will not hide imperfections in the concrete; they are meant to enhance the variation that the concrete already has. Acetone dyes are made to be used on polished concrete floors that have not been sealed. If your floors have been sealed, the sealant will need to be removed before the dye is applied.

Broom, vacuum, or mop
Solvent or water, as per directions on the dye
Plastic bucket
Rubber gloves
Paint sprayer with acetone-safe plastic tips and seals
Sealant (polyurethane or other)

Note: When working with an acetone-based dye, make sure the room is well ventilated; open all windows and doors when dyeing floors. Wear protective gloves and glasses, too, as acetone dyes are highly flammable.

1. Thoroughly clean the floor with a broom, vacuum, or mop. Let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.

2. Mix the dye in a plastic bucket according to the manufacturer’s directions.

3. Wearing rubber gloves, load a paint sprayer.

4. Spray the dye onto the floor from a distance of about two feet (60 cm), using a circular motion.

5. The dye should penetrate the surface and be absorbed within about 1 minute. If working with a water-based dye, wipe away any excess with water and a sponge to avoid puddling on the surface.

6. Wait 15 minutes and apply a second coat, if desired, to darken the color.

7. Using the sprayer with a nozzle tip made for sealants, spray with a sealant. The dye dries quickly, so the floor can even be sealed the same day.

8. Let the sealant dry for several hours before using the floor. Dyed cement floors should be cleaned like any other floor—with a mild mix of soap and water.

Photo and text excerpted from Marrakesh by Design by Maryam Montague (Artisan Books, 2012)

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