- Coir outdoor mat (I bought my first one from Walmart, the second one from Hobby Lobby when they were on sale. I have also seen them at Ikea and Target.) I did not include a link, because the prices vary constantly. So, you will need to look which store has the best deal when you are ready to purchase this mat.
- Acrylic paint
There really is not too much you will need to make this project, but the results are amazing. These outdoor mats would make great gifts for birthdays, Christmas, wedding, or even a housewarming gift. I gifted them to my mom and grandma for Christmas. I love how they turned out so much that I bought more for future gifts and even to make one for myself.
So, how do you even go about making these outdoor mats? First you will need to come up with a design for your mat. The design I am using is the Notre Dame football sign all the players hit before running out onto the field. My grandpa was an assistant coach for the Notre Dame football team many years ago. Because of this my family has been big Notre Dame football fans. My grandpa passed away a few years ago. This outdoor mat will be a nice reminder of him every time we enter or leave my grandma or mom’s house.
You can watch my YouTube video on how I made this Cori outdoor welcome mat by clicking on the video above or by heading to my YouTube channel, where you can also save this video for later.
Now that we have our design it is time to cut out the design. I recommend using freezer paper to cut your design onto. I was unable to find freezer paper, so I tried a few different things. I found that Cricut Stencil vinyl worked the best for me. If you are able to find freezer paper, then you should use the copy paper setting, more pressure, to cut your design on your Cricut. You should also put the shiny (wax side) down on your mat when cutting out your design. You will also want to put the shiny side down on your coir outdoor mat, and heat it for a few seconds. This will make the wax stick a little to your coir mat. If you have an easy press, then you should set it to 310 F for 5 seconds.
Freezer paper is cheaper and when heated will stick better to the coir outdoor mat. Since I was unable to find freezer paper, I tried using removeable vinyl and permanent vinyl, but neither one seemed to stick very well to my coir mat. I also tried parchment paper and wax paper with no success. The stencil vinyl did seem to stick a little bit. So, I decided to use the stencil vinyl. The nice thing about using vinyl over the freezer paper is that it can be used a few times if you are making multiple of the same design.
When you weed out your design, it is a little backwards than how you normally weed out a design. You want to weed out all the areas you want in color. Do not forget to keep the center pieces of your letters and things.
You will now want to lay your design onto your mat. You can use pins to help hold smaller pieces or edges down. I just used my fingers to hold pieces down. I did not mind getting messy and I felt like this gave me more control. When applying your paint, you will want to use a stiff bristle paint brush and use the pouncing technique. This means dab the paint brush up and down instead of side to side like you normally would do when painting. I used apple barrel acrylic paint on my mats. You could also use outdoor acrylic paint or even exterior house paint.
If you do not have a lot of time, and do not want a lot of color in your mat, then using the black spray paint flex seal, may be a better option for you. Spray paint is a lot quicker to apply, and since it is a flex and seal spray paint, it does not need the clear flex seal spray sealer over top of it. Flex and seal does come in a few colors, but it can get costly, and the color choice is limited.
I recommend applying a sealer over your mat to help your design and hard work last longer. I used flex and seal clear coat. Some other sealers you could use are Krylon UV resistant sealer, or Spar urethane stain sealer. You could leave your stencil or freezer paper over your design and when the paint is dry you can spray just the design with the flex and seal or other sealer. I was excited to see my design and removed my stencil before my paint was fully dry. I also like to protect the entire mat. By sealing the entire mat, it will help keep it looking nicer longer. If you spray a section of your mat, you will see it will not fade and change colors as fast as the rest of the mat.
Once everything is dry it is time to place your mat outside or wrap it up for a gift. I really love how clean the letters came out. I was expecting to have some bleeding, but with the thick Cori mat, it really does not bleed. I used my hands to help hold down the vinyl to help with any bleeding, but I do not think I really had to do that. On my second mat, I tried not holding down the edges of my vinyl as I painted, and those edges looked great. I love how customizable and personal you can make this piece. I also love how great it looks. It looks like I just bought it from a store, and not much skill is needed. The first mat took me awhile to paint, but I was able to cut that time in half with the second mat. It just takes a little practice to get the hang of it. If you are interested in the reversible welcome sign next to my welcome mat, then click here to learn how to make your own.
I did finally find freezer paper. I thought it worked just a little better, but you can not use it twice and it takes a little longer to apply because you have to iron it down. I think the stencil is best if you plan on making multiples of the same welcome mat, but the freezer paper is better if you only need to make one of that design. Here is how my freezer paper welcome mat turned out. I made a matching cutting board with my Glowforge as part of a wedding gift.
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