Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Supernatural Devil's Trap Rug

When it comes to demons, you have a number of options: you could line your doors with salt (but that's easy to disturb), you can ring the house with iron railroad ties (which your home owner's association would love), or you can tattoo every member of your family with anti-possession charms (which still leaves them vulnerable to getting all their parts broken). No, what you need is a good, old-fashioned devil's trap. Get one of those black-eyed buggers stuck in one of those and you have all kinds of time to figure out what to do next.

I should specify that I mean in Supernatural, right? Maybe I should have started with that. In any case, a devil's trap at your front door tells the world that you are a fan and tells demons that they aren't welcome. (Disclaimer: May not do anything about hellhounds. Shoulda thought about that before you sold your soul.)

You'll Need:
  • A door mat (Ours is double-sided for extra trickiness)
  • Posterboard
  • Spray paint
  • Acrylic paint
  • Fabric medium for paint
  • Brushes, cutters, drawing stuff, etc.

You'll want to start with a good shot of the Devil's Trap. I borrowed one from the Supernatural Wiki (aaaaand there goes your afternoon) and dropped a grid onto it in GIMP. (The finished Devil's Trap reference is available here.) From there, I could use a grid drawn on my posterboard to sketch the lines and symbols in pencil and a string compass. If you're unfamiliar with the grid method I'm describing, check out this tutorial. Once I got the sketches where I wanted them, I took a permanent marker and inked all the lines I wanted to keep.

I call them cross, dagger, swirly doot, goat, and dude.
From there, it was a lengthy effort with an Xacto knife to cut a stencil through the posterboard. Cut cut cut cut cut cut handcramp cut cut cut. With the template cut out, you can now apply your stencil to pretty much anything that needs a devil's trap (which is everything) and not have to worry about drawing all the wacky sigils all over again.

In the interest of full disclosure, it's pretty clear that the Supernatural art department takes a very liberal license with which symbols work and how they're drawn. A lot of examples use different ones, drawn weirdly, multi-point stars, multiple circles, the works. You kind of can't go wrong with this thing, so feel free to nudge stuff as needed. I anticipated selling these, and figured fans would point out that my Swirly Doot connected the bar or my Goat was all crooked. It seems like demons are a more forgiving lot with the intention of a devil's trap than fans are.

From here, it was a matter of measuring the rug and placing the template centered in all four directions. Tape it down, double and triple check, and then move on. Even with all my measuring, the trap is a little off center, top to bottom. I'm sure the one I'll make for your place will be perfectly centered, don't worry.

From here, it's a good idea to mask off all the remaining rug as well to protect against overspray.

This somehow omits that the process took, like, fifteen minutes. I blame the rug.
You probably have extra newspaper from pumpkin carving or your dayjob as a fishmonger.
A gentle spritz of spray paint all over will transfer all the marks to your rug. If the stencil doesn't lay flat to your rug, pinch the whole mess to the floor with a stick or other long implement to avoid the spray blurring through a loose opening. You want the stencil tight to the rug's surface. 

Still kind of blurry. I searched for a while to find a stick, too.
From here, it's a matter of picking a good contrasting color for your trap. I went with white for maximum contrast, but we intend to offer them in a variety of colors on the Etsy shop and even letting folks know they can order custom colors. Basically any color that you can mix with the fabric medium paint additive will work (we use a Martha Stewart product, but others are available), since the additive makes the paint able to be heat-set with an iron like the paint on a t-shirt. Mix your paint and medium per the bottle's directions and get to painting! I found that the first coat took forever and was all about fighting the texture of the rug. The second coat let me focus on connecting the peaks in the fabric and really saturating the paint line.

I'm not going to lie, painting this had a sort of ritual calm to it. Even though the sigils are made up for a TV show, it activates the part of your brain that makes it feel like an important tradition. Maybe that's just me.

Two or three coats later, you have a custom welcome mat covered in demonology. Let it dry for the specified amount of time and heat set it the next day with a dry iron (no steam). So far the marks have held up well to foot traffic for our big Halloween party and flipping it upside down for a baby shower. All told, it's been crossed well over a hundred or more times just in the past week and still looks fresh like the first time we put it down. And it hasn't caught a single demon yet.

Or has it?


  1. This is amazing!! Always wanted one of these for my room. Great read also:) Dean & Sam will be proud!

  2. Two-and-a-half years later, this is still the rug by our front door. It may be a bit faded, but it is still obviously a devil's trap. Score one for the wayward sons and daughters!