Floor Staff Carpet

It’s finally summer in my studio.  Not that you could tell by looking at a calendar – the “official” June 21st start to the season is still a week away, and I’ve already been on summer teaching schedule for 2 weeks.  Nope… It’s finally summer because my to-do list has been cleared to the point I can work on some creative projects I’ve been putting off for months!!!

I’ve spent the few weeks finishing up all of the requirements for MTNA Certification and working on a big grant proposal for our local association.  Both worthwhile endeavors, but both pretty heavy on the left-brained thinking!  Once everything was mailed off, I was antsy to tackle a “fun” project for the studio:

Up until now, I’ve been using painter’s tape lines on the floor to create a giant floor staff for note-reading practice and theory games.   That worked great… except for the fact that I had to remove the tape each time I vacuumed the studio (between 2 big dogs and 50 students, I vacuum a LOT).   Those rolls of painter’s tape start to add up!!

The rug in the picture is a 5 x 7 carpet remnant that’s been edged.  I picked it and a can of black paint up for just under $40.  For the same cost as 8 rolls of painter’s tape, I now have a permanent addition to the studio that doesn’t have to be re-taped each time I clean, and doesn’t send rolls of tape to the trash each month.

All I had to do was tape off lines and paint (I did find it a little ironic that it took MORE painter’s tape to do the project).  The carpet does soak up quite a bit of paint – it took a full 32 oz. to evenly cover all 10 staff  lines.

Staff lines taped at 7″ spacing and ready for paint…

… and painted, using a 3″ trim roller.

The rug was already a hit at lessons today.  I’ve got several students who are working on mastering their grand staff note names.  We mapped out lines and spaces with plastic plates (seen in the top picture), then took turns tossing a beanbag and naming the note where it landed.

If you haven’t ever used a floor staff, there are lots of great ideas for games and drills in this post from last summer and also this follow-up post.  Be sure to read through the comments – several wonderfully creative teachers shared ideas on how to construct and use this great tool.   Stay tuned… I’m working on a couple of new floor staff games.  I’ll share as soon as they’ve been student-tested and approved.   As always, if you have any ideas to share, please leave a comment!!


Floor Staff Carpet — 8 Comments

  1. Love it!! I really need to make one of these. I have been using tape on a rug in my studio as well, and keep pulling it off and putting it back on again. Looks like fun, can’t wait to see more game ideas with this! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Love this. I was debating doing a vinyl banner staff (like the Teaching Studios vinyl piano). I would bet that this would last longer. Thanks for your posts!

  3. Hi Jennifer,

    I was wondering how the painted lines are holding up for you. I am considering turning the carpet under my upright piano into a floor staff. Do you think the lines would be ruined if I repeatedly rolled my piano over them? Any thoughts about using permanent marker?

    • Hi Kelly,

      My rug has held up great so far (and we’re on it every day, so it gets quite a bit of traffic). The paint makes the carpet fibers stiff – you can feel a difference in the texture of the lines and the areas of the rug that aren’t painted. If you have pretty durable carpet, I doubt that rolling an upright piano over the lines would cause any wear and tear that you couldn’t fix with a little bit of touch-up paint once in a while.

      I didn’t ever try using permanent marker, although I’d guess that it would work, too. When I made my rug, I found that the paint soaked into the fibers, and I needed to apply several coats to get the lines as dark as I wanted them. You might need to do several applications of marker, too.

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  5. Thinking about doing a painted music staff on my music room floor–a tightly woven berber-style carpet. It would also double as a seating arrangement for the elementary kids. There would be numbers on the white staff lines.

    What kind of paint did you use? Just latex paint? Semi-gloss? Flat? Water-based?

    Thanks. Hope you’re still getting these

    • Hi Don,

      I used a semi-gloss latex paint (although I don’t think that semi-gloss vs. flat would necessarily matter – that’s just what the hardware store had in the size I wanted). My rug soaked up a LOT of paint, but it’s held up well through lots of foot traffic for several years.

      Good luck with your project!


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