Painting over an existing linoleum floor is a terrific and cost-effective way of upgrading a room without the difficulty and mess that comes with task of replacing flooring.



I used Heirloom Traditions brand ‘All-In-One’ formula paint.  It is formulated for fabric, vinyl, leather, masonry glass and wood.   A  primer base is not required.  This paint does not require an application of wax or a top coat for protection – as opposed to chalk paints. (However, there are situations where you may want or need to add a protective coat – for example, a high-use table top.)

We chose to use a water based polyurethane for this floor project because the main color is white.  It will help in keeping it clean by not showing dirt.  Myself, I like a water-based polyurethane. We chose to use it in order to help keep it clean. Oil-based paints are messier and your colors will tend to yellow over time.

The first step is to sand with fine or medium grit sanding block or power sander.  Just go over it enough to give it a scuffing and help remove grime.  Next, wipe the surface down with 70% rubbing alcohol and a lint free rag or t-shirt to remove the dust and grime.

Now, determine your base coat color.  For our stencil design the base color is more prominent than the color used for the pattern.  We chose white for the base.  We put one coat down, then allowed it to dry for two hours.  If you have a lot of humidity, drying time may take longer.  Always apply one more coat of base color on.  (When working with whites you may want to use a primer from Heirloom Traditions to avoid having to apply a third coat.) In this project we did not use a primer and had to apply a third coat of color.  (All-In-One paint does not require a primer for durability.  But when using whites, it is recommended for color coverage.) Once your last coat is on, allow the surface to dry for two or three days.


Snap a chalk-line on the floor in order to create a straight edge guide to keep the stencil pattern uniform as you move across and “down” going from section to section over the floor’s surface.  In our project we had a very small room and just “eyeballed” it and it came out fine.  But using a straightedge as a guide in this step can save you time and prevent possible disappointment.

When preparing to use your stencil, apply a low tacky spray adhesive to the back of it.  We used Elmer’s brand.  Just use one coat lightly sprayed on so that you can easily pick up the stencil afterward. Avoid spraying the stencil’s edges.  Allow the spray to dry for about one minute before laying your stencil down.  You will not have to re-apply the spray adhesive to your stencil every time you lay it down and pick it up.  We usually re-applied after every 4th or 5th stenciling.



When you begin stencil painting, be sure to start at the far wall or corner opposite the entry way (doorway) of the room and work your way out so you won’t have to step on the freshly painted surface. (Some people prefer to temporarily leave unpainted squares across the floor to act as “stepping stones” in order to touch up stenciling if necessary.)

Once the stencil is laid down, run your fingers over it to stick it to the floor.  After your stencil is in place and tight to the floor, use two styrofoam plates – one for holding the paint color and the other as an empty plate to “unload” the stencil brush some right before application to prepare for stippling.  It is important to do this because you want to avoid having excess paint seeping under the stencil.  Here, less is more.  Stipple or stamp over and over until you have the pattern covered.  Next, lift up the stencil at the corner and place it on the aligned area next to the square you just completed – repeating until the entire surface is finished. Every so often we had to wash the stencil to remove globs of paint.  (Don’t worry, the adhesive won’t come off.) You will need to re-apply the adhesive after doing this.

You will need two fine tip craft brushes (one each for the two paints used) for touch up purposes and to re-paint over any bleed thru lines.  We chose to do touch up  after several hours. Make sure it is dry enough to not smear before touch ups.  After stencil painting was complete and touch ups were dry, we applied one layer of water-based polyurethane.  When doing this, allow it to cure for 24-48 hours.  Avoid using any cleanser or hard scrubbing on the painted surface for at least 30 days.

Things to note:

Buy a quality stencil – one with the guides cut out to help in lining it up as you move the stencil from section to section.

If possible buy a stencil with an extra piece that’s about 1/4 the size of the original in order to go around smaller spaces and around permanent objects on the floor.  In our project we had to navigate around a toilet…a extra/smaller piece would have made our job much easier.

Also, be sure and have the stencil oriented in the right (same) direction when moving from section to section.  We accidentally placed the stencil upside down on one section and had to scrub the paint off which also lifted off some of the base coat.  As a result, we have to add some base color, allow it to dry and then re-stencil correctly. (This dries like cement in that it is very durable; the paint fully cures after 30 days, but remains water-soluble for a few days after application.)

This project takes a little bit of time and patience…but it so worth it and results in an updated, fun look.

Have fun decorizing your space!!!


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