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How to Decorate a Claw Foot Tub With Floral Accents

Updated on February 09, 2017
Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green is an avid crafter. She enjoys learning about different techniques and sharing tips and insights with readers.

Clawfoot Tub Decorated With Flowers

Adding eye appeal.
Adding eye appeal. | Source

A Vintage Tub and an Idea

I am fortunate to live in a Victorian house with two claw foot tubs. And I have always wanted to add flowers to pretty them up. I wasn't sure as to what was the best way to go about it. I'm no painter, so knew if I tried painting them on by hand, I wouldn't be satisfied with the results. I thought of using stencils but could foresee problems with that, and simply gluing on thick flowers, such as those decals you can buy, wouldn't do the trick either, for the effect I wanted to achieve.

A few years went by and I was no closer to a solution, until one day, I found a lovely pillow case that had been sent to me as a gift. I'd stored it away thinking it was just too pretty to use. As I eyed the flowers on it, I wondered if they would do for what I had in mind. The more I looked at the pretty pansies, the more I thought they would be fab for my vintage tub. I hated to cut up a perfectly new pillow case but I reminded myself it would be no different from buying fabric for the same purpose. And the fabric seem just the right thickness--not too thick, so I didn't have to worry that it would stick out from the tub, nor too thin and too easily fray-able.

I cut out each flower and some leaves, then sat on the floor in front of my tub and experimented, placing them this way and that on the front side of my tub to get a visual on how they would look, and I kept rearranging them until I was satisfied. Once I'd decided where I wanted them to go I placed the flowers in small groupings on the floor in front of the tub and next to the areas I wanted to decorate.

If you like this idea, read on to learn how I did this project. You can do it too if you have an old tub that needs a facelift and are willing to bring to the table (or in this case, the tub) a dash of imagination and a splash of creativity.

Which Flowers?

Which flowers are best suited for tub decorating? That depends on personal preference, of course; however some flowers, because of their round or bell-like shape, might be preferable.

It is best to stick to flower shapes that are easier to cut out. Unless you have lots of patience, trying to cut out something with a serrated edge, or cutting out a feathery flower or a flower having many thin petals like a daisy, would be much harder than cutting out a flower that doesn't have too many edges or too many petals.

One advantage of fabric flowers is that they are already flat but one still will have to consider their edges and how difficult it would be to cut them from the fabric.

If you are planning on adding flowers to your tub, it pays to do your homework as to which flowers would do or if you visit a fabric shop, spend some time looking at the different samples to see what might work for your tub.

Some Flowers at a Glance

Anemone
Anemone
Blue Poppies
Blue Poppies
Lotus
Lotus | Source
Morning Glories
Morning Glories | Source
Poppies
Poppies
Waterlily
Waterlily
  • anemone
  • baby blue eyes
  • balloon flower
  • begonia
  • bell flower
  • bleeding heart
  • bluebells
  • blue-eyed grass
  • blue star flower
  • calla lily
  • clematis
  • cosmos
  • desert rose
  • dogwood
  • flamingo flower
  • flax flower
  • forget-me-nots
  • frangipani
  • freesia
  • gardenia
  • hibiscus
  • hollyhock
  • honesty
  • lavatera
  • lobelia
  • lotus
  • magnolia
  • mallows
  • moonflower
  • morning glories
  • orchid
  • pansies
  • peace lily
  • periwinkle
  • phlox
  • poppies
  • primrose
  • rain lily
  • rock rose
  • roses or rose buds
  • snowdrop
  • soapwort
  • sundrop plant
  • trillium
  • waterlily
  • wild rose
  • veronica
  • violets

Choosing Your Fabric

Flowered Fabric

Rose-Patterned Fabric
Rose-Patterned Fabric

Larger or well-defined flowers on fabric make good specimens for cutting out.

Why Not Cut Out a Panel?

You may decide to cut a whole section from your cloth, depending on the design on the fabric.

Sweet birds add charm perched on top of roses.
Sweet birds add charm perched on top of roses.
A mixture of beautiful flowers would make for an eye-catching center panel.
A mixture of beautiful flowers would make for an eye-catching center panel.
Butterflies and roses look captivating and would add a special element to any tub.
Butterflies and roses look captivating and would add a special element to any tub.
A panel of roses would make a nice center decoration for a bathtub.
A panel of roses would make a nice center decoration for a bathtub.

Covering Your Entire Tub Front

Another idea is to use the whole piece of fabric and affix it to the entire front side of your tub and around the two sides. This would require careful cutting but is still doable. You would, of course, need a wider brush and more Mod Podge.

Using Whole Fabric

Imagine how striking a claw foot tub would look covered in either of these fabrics.

Traditional Textured Fabric
Traditional Textured Fabric

DIY Tub Decorating Materials

As can be seen from the ideas/images above, you can produce outstanding results using simple materials.

  • Cloth of your choosing. Stick to a cotton fabric or any cloth that has a slight stiffness to it. Flimsy material is not suited, for obvious reasons. You may choose to cut out flowers from extra fabric you have on hand as I did.
  • Scissors
  • Sparkle Mod Podge
  • Small brush
  • Damp cloth

Gather all your materials and head to your claw foot tub.

Pansies Pretty Up a Claw Foot Tub

Decoupaged flowers pretty up a vintage bathtub. This thin fabric was the perfect medium to adhere to the tub's rough surface.
Decoupaged flowers pretty up a vintage bathtub. This thin fabric was the perfect medium to adhere to the tub's rough surface. | Source

Contrast Helps Set Off Flowers

Before you decoupage your flowers onto your tub, you will want to consider contrast, so that your flowers will show to best advantage. For example, if you were going to use blood red roses, a white tub might provide a great background. Or, if you have a dark-colored tub (and many vintage tubs have been painted in dark colors, such as red or deep pink or dark blue), you would choose lighter flowers.

As can be seen in this article, my white claw foot provided a perfect background for my deeply-colored pansies.

Blue Pansies Decorate Mid-Section of Tub

Image: Panies Decorate Mid-Section of Tub
Image: Panies Decorate Mid-Section of Tub | Source

Embellishments

You can also add other embellishments, such as trailing vines, rose buds and leaves or even birds or butterflies.

Flower Cut-Outs Dress Up Front Edge of Vintage Tub, Sparkle Adds Pizazz

I cut out some leaves and added them.
I cut out some leaves and added them. | Source

Why Mod Podge?

Mod Podge is the perfect decoupaging medium/sealant for the job. Your flowers will stick to the tub with no problem. Mod Podge isn't overly sticky on the fingers either.

Note

Mod Podge will go on cloudy but it dries clear.

How to Decoupage Fabric to Your Tub

Once you've cut out your flowers or panels and experimented with placement, it is a simple matter to affix them to your tub.

I used Sparkle Mod Podge but any type of Mod Podge can be used. I thought the sparkle added a nice visual element to the flowers.

  1. Brush the surface of the tub.
  2. Brush the back of fabric with Mod Podge.
  3. Stick to your tub. And don't worry, If you need to move your fabric around you can. Mod Podge doesn't dry immediately, so you have that latitude. Experiment until you are happy with how your flowers look.
  4. It's a good idea to view your floral accents from all angles to ensure you are happy with your placement. Stand back from the tub and check from that angle, too.
  5. At this stage, I used my fingers to ensure all flowers were spread out flat and that no bubbles were present.
  6. When you have all your flowers arranged, brush over each one with your Mod Podge. Make sure that it covers all outside edges of each flower or panel.
  7. Use your damp cloth and carefully remove excess Mod Podge around each piece of fabric. Carefully wipe tub surface and floor to catch any drips that have found their way down there.
  8. Allow to dry.

Enjoy your handiwork.

A Project That Took Just Minutes

This project took me just minutes and I was pleased with the results. My old tub got a facelift and the process was painless.

My Finished Tub

DIY Tub Decorating
DIY Tub Decorating | Source

A Satisfying Project With Good Results

This was such an easy and enjoyable project. And what a difference to the tub! Visitors are always delighted when they see my claw foot and ask about the flowers and how I did this.

Have You Ever Decorated a Clawfoot Tub?

See results

The "Iron Lady" With Floral Accents

Image: Decorated Clawfoot Tub
Image: Decorated Clawfoot Tub | Source

What Do You Think of This Decorated Tub?

See results

Enjoyed This Tutorial?

If you've enjoyed this article, please leave your comments below and/or share your tub decorating experiences.

© 2013 Athlyn Green

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    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I love this idea! What a way to pretty-up a tub! I would not have thought on a tub. Thanks for the idea!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 years ago from America

      Very interesting hub. Good idea I would have never thought of using fabric....Voted up.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This looks interesting and lovely. Its a good idea to decorate the claw foot tub.

      Thanks for suggestions and instructions!

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