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Artist Tip: Save Your Floors

July 29, 2010

One of the smarter things I did in my life was to tell an apartment complex to leave the old carpet in an apartment I was renting.  Less than a year later I managed to drop a liquid, sopping wet mass of cadmium red on pale gray carpet; I didn’t lose a dime on my security deposit.  I have since been through many more apartments and devised tactics to save the floors from me.

Sheets and canvas tarps are not a great idea, enough wet media can get through them.  Newspapers rumple up, slip around and just get irritating.  So my primary tactic, on hard surface floors, is to skip barrier protection and halt my work, and jump on any needed clean up immediately, within seconds of the sloppy spill or dropped paint.  I have been disciplined and been able to flex with stopping my work flow to resolve needed clean up but doing this may irritate you.

A second solution is to go buy a very large section of linoleum, sold on rolls in home improvement and large hardware stores, then lay the linoleum underfoot to protect the valuable flooring.  Getting an eight foot square or ten foot square section of this material is cost effective.  You can work to keep it clean or just let the paints and spills accumulate.  If you manage to sell the paint caked linoleum section as an art work for any appreciable amount, I want a commission and a thank you letter. 🙂

If you have carpet underfoot, I have a two part layer solution that keeps carpet underfoot while protecting the “good” carpet.  Buy the heaviest plastic / poly sheet you can afford to, the thickness is indicated in millimeters.  This is usually sold by the room painting supplies.  Plastic is a non-permeable barrier; wet media can’t get though.  If you can’t find a roll or large sheet of plastic, use a few shower curtains.  Duct tape together any edges so they overlap and there are no gaps.  Put those down on the good carpet, then buy a cheap area rug and lay it over the top of the plastic.  Use rubber rolls of non-slip carpet holding materials if you have to, but I find the weight of the area rug usually holds the plastic down.  Some rugs or carpets already have a rubbery no-slip backing on them.

So with a few dollar store shower curtains or a roll of heavy plastic, a garage sale rug, freebie or cheap area rug, you have something that will protect the flooring and you can walk around on it without killing yourself.  How big a carpet you need it is up to you.  Just make sure it’s big enough that you won’t have any awkward conversations with your landlord.

Barbara Bestor decorating idea

Categories: Artist Tips, Uncategorized
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