Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Floorcloth update: polyurethane found!!

I've been kind of stumped with my floorcloth...(not just because we currently have company staying in my studio this week) because I haven't wanted to toss on 5+ coats of regular old polyurethane or polycrylic after painting it with zero VOC paints. I mean how silly would that be?

So I started hunting down zero or low VOC polyurethanes and I tell ya, there aren't a lot of them. First I found this one by Safecoat whose paints I've used and really like, but at $88/gallon I couldn't pull the trigger.

Then I found a product by Ecoprocote called Poly-Soy...$45/gallon (still pricey, but with 400-500 sf of coverage we should be able to use it for many things around here). I like what I read about it - ultra-low VOC, self-leveling, protects and adheres to practically everything, and is virtually odorless. Oh, and it comes in a satin finish. Sold! It's on its way.

The back of the floorcloth is another story...traditional rug pads are gross (just sayin'). I had thought of piecing together bits of non-skid shelf liner but that's kind of cheesy (plus it would take a LOT of it to cover a 7' diameter area), and so that's leading me toward the idea of adhering a fabric to the back. Just gluing it on. I need to think more on that one, but at least I can visualize it, and I definitely have enough fabric for it. And non-skid isn't really an issue since it will be anchored by our heavy wood table.

And then I'll have to address the edges at some point. To be honest I keep trying to wave off the critique that a round canvas floor cloth isn't a good idea because it will fray so it's better to stick to an octagon. Phooey! I really want a true circle. I may end up either hand-applying glue to the edge (like fray-stop for quilting fabrics but more durable glue in this case...or maybe I really will use fray-stop, hmm). Or I'm going to adhere bias tape. Seriously. I just might do that. Why the heck not.

Allright...enough rambling with no photos to show for it :o) That just makes me feel weird.

Time to figure out the rest of this wet, soggy, and hail-filled (yes, hail!) day. My inner Panama girl is threatening to jump on a plane about now.



Valerie Krist said...

I'm really interested to see what your floorcloth looks like. What kind of fabric are you using? I envision something heavy, and for some reason puffy, even though that probably wouldn't make sense under your table!

canvasworks said...

Be careful with your poly. Many will crack and cause your paint to chip off. I would suggest that you test it on a small piece of painted canvas first. Let it dry several days, then flex your canvas to see if it cracks.

For your circle dilemma- your best solution is to paint the back of your floorcloth and poly that too. After you've poly'd the front, cut it with scissors all the way around. The scissors will squeeze the two poly'd surfaces together, helping to lock the edge and reduce fraying. Then put a final coat of poly on the front, allowing the poly to come over the newly cut edge. I hope you're using heavy canvas (at least #8 (18 oz.) or this won't work very well.

Good luck! More info about making floorcloths at

My Mid-Afternoon Daydream said...

Thanks Canvasworks! So kind & generous of you to comment on my blog about floorcloths :o) Your work is rich & amazing, and a newbie like me appreciates the extra help! I think applying poly to the back of the canvas is a great idea, and definitely will try to "lock in the edge". Testing the poly-soy product is a tough pill to swallow (as I'm not very patient) but I'll do it. I don't need a cracked floorcloth.

Valerie, I'm using a giant piece of thick canvas leftover from a mural job I had. So it IS heavy but definitely not puffy :o) I coated the front and back with gesso and am using zero VOC paints from Yolo and some I've mixed myself (but basically they're all the shades from inside our house so it'll tie in nicely).

Klay said...

glad you didn't have to compromise with the finish after using the low VOC paint. I'm sure it will turn out great. As for the edges won't the poly kind of glue them so they don't fray? Oh hey, I just read that comment before me. Sounds like you're in good hands.