A friend just finished getting a new deck installed and offered to give me some short pieces of leftover ipe wood if I had any good ideas for what to make with it. Having wanted to replace the welcome mat in front of our door for a while this seemed like the perfect project. Here's how to make your own doormat using scraps of wood and a bit of string. I made mine at techshop.
To end up with the same size as I made you'll need enough 1" thick lumber that is 26" long or longer to cut 15 strips, each one inch wide. 3 1"x6"26" boards should do it. You'll also need some jute twine to tie the thing together.
Let's get started!
Step 1: Cut All the Wood to Size
Using a chop saw cut all the wood to 26" long, move to a table saw and make a pile of 1" wide strips. The wood I used had rounded edges so I saved two pieces to use as the outside pieces for my mat and trimmed the rest of the edges before cutting the boards in to strips.
Step 2: Drill Holes for the String
Make a quick jig using scraps of wood and some clamps so that you'll be able to drill a hole in the same place on each piece of wood. The drill bit should land about 7" from the end of the piece of wood. Drill a 5/32" hole, flip the board around and drill another hole towards the other edge. The photo in the next step shows how the pieces should look after drilling.
Swap out the drill bit for a 1/4" bit and use it enlarge the first 1/4" of the holes in the two pieces of wood that will be used for the outside edges of the doormat. The idea is just to countersink the hole so the knotted twine has a place to sit inside the finished doormat.
Step 3: Tedious Assembly Time...
Cut two pieces of twine each about 30" long. Find a small hex wrench and a chair, make yourself comfortable.
Tie a knot at the end of one piece of twine, thread the untied end through the first slat using a hex wrench to help along the way. Pull the twine tight, tie an overhand knot and cinch it down against the side of the wood. Repeat for the other piece of twine. Then do the whole poke-twine-through-tiny-hole, pull tight, tie a knot thing over and over again until you run out of wood. Trim the twine after everything is tied together.
Step 4: Add a Finish
Use an outdoor friendly finish to prevent the wood from fading and cracking. I smeared this Watco teak oil on mine but that's just because I had some sitting around.
After the finish dries toss your fancy new doormat in front of the door. Job done!