Zee Swartz wrote:... I must know: is it possible to paint on an earthen floor with, say, kaolin paint before sealing and expect the design to hold up? ...
Anyone done anything like this with earthen floors?
I attempted something similar and can suggest how not to do it. The floor mix I used in the first room I did had too much clay in it and had shrinkage cracks. I filled the cracks with a mix of kaolin and fine, white silica sand. My thought was the cracks filled with white material would contrast nicely and show the cracking pattern. However, sealing with linseed oil significantly darkens all colors and made the white filler somewhat translucent (and dark). The color difference was muted by sealing and made it barely noticeable.
Based on that experience, I think it would be best to do the stenciling after the floor has been fully sealed. This would help maintain the contrast. It would be more durable to do the stenciling before doing a final floor finish (I use a hardwood floor finish on top of the sealed and cured earthen floors). However, this will affect the color of the stencil. You could do the stencil last, but it will wear (paint would be much better than kaolin alis if done last).