How to Paint a Faux Leopard Rug on the Floor


An imitation leopard skin rug allows the beauty of this print-like pattern to be admired without cruelty. This is fun to paint and will add a touch of the exotic to any room.

Beautiful animal skin patterns are often simulated in fabric and fake fur and this project is meant to create a fun paint technique rather than a dead leopard!

To enhance the colors in the leopard skin I painted a base of strong deep red acrylic eggshell paint. I drew the leopard-skin outline on this in an appropriate place on the floor and then painted it in.

You could take the same technique further and paint a tiger, giraffe or cheetah print in the same way.

The effect here was painted onto floorboards, but you could paint this onto almost any surface that the basecoat is suited to. If you want to prepare a new basecoat color such as the deep red I used, apply eggshell paint the evening before you start the project – or you could paint straight onto your existing floor color. Hither way your Sunday afternoon for this weekend will be completely clear – for lounging about and eating grapes.

Day One

  1. Draw the outline of the rug with a piece of chalk.
  2. Paint in the shape within the outline with vinyl silk or acrylic eggshell paint (I used a sand color). Paint this base-color in an outward direction in a ‘V¡¯ shape front the centre of the leopard, exaggerating the brush strokes to accentuate the direction on the pattern.
  3. Mix up a brown water-based glaze. I used burnt umber poster color, diluted with water with a dollop of acrylic scumble glaze.
  4. Once the base color is completely dry, apply the glaze with a brush, following the direction of the base color. If the glaze does not stick to the surface, wipe it off and reapply it – this should ‘cure’ the surface and it should adhere a second time.
  5. Immediately afterwards flog this to create a flecked pattern, again following the ‘V- shaped direction; a flogging brush is ideal for this technique. With a tapping motion flog along the V shape, breaking up the color and creating a flecked, hair-like effect.
  6. You will have to glaze over the outline to achieve an even finish, so wipe this off with a clamp cloth as soon as possible.
  7. Mix up a dark brown poster color of thick, opaque consistency (I used burnt umber mixed with black). Once the flecked effect has completely dried, apply the leopard spots, starting in the middle of the rug.
  8. Work the pattern outwards, following the ‘V shape, and mirroring the pattern on each side of the centre. Leave this to dry overnight.

Day Two

  1. To seal the leopard rug apply a coal of acylic varnish. Make sure the base is completely dry, otherwise this water-based varnish will pull off the paint. Leave to dry for an hour or so.
  2. When dry, apply an oil-based varnish on top of this, but this time dab the brush with a touch of burnt umber oil paint. Work this into the centre of the rug, leaving clear varnish on the edges.
  3. If you want to, paint a black line around the rug to simulate a black felt underlay.
  4. When completely dry, apply a final varnish. I used an oil-based varnish and added a hint of burnt umber oil paint to shade the pattern further.

Using white spirit: When wiping off oil-based varnish and oil paint remember you need to use a little white spirit on your cloth. Afterwards clean the brushes with white spirit, then soapy water.

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  3. How to Do Illusions with Paint
  4. How to Apply a Crackle Finish to the Floor
  5. How to Renovate Floor Tiles with Paint

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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