Making a Custom Welcome Mat

About: I run a YouTube channel called Farbulous Creations where I make all sorts of woodworking and laser crafted projects. Check it out and consider subscribing if you like the type of projects I do.

In this Instructable, I'll show you how I made this custom welcome mat for our front porch with a laser-cut template, a blank outdoor rug, and some black paint. It's super simple to do and adds a great personal touch to your front door to welcome guests.

If you'd rather watch a build video before jumping into the Instructable, be sure to watch the full video above. If you like it, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel so I know this is the type of project people enjoy learning how to make themselves!

Supplies:

  • A blank, coir, outdoor rug (from your local hardware store)
  • Flat, black exterior paint
  • 1/8" (3mm) plywood

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Step 1: Gather Materials and Supplies

The materials for the welcome mat are pretty basic. Just a blank rug, some paint, and a template that we're going to make.

Tools Used

  • Stiff, short-bristled paint brush
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Work gloves
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Workbench
  • Laser cutter (though a jigsaw or scroll saw would work if you don't have access to one)

Supplies

  • A blank, coir, outdoor rug (from your local hardware store)
  • Flat, black exterior paint
  • 1/8" (3mm) plywood

Step 2: Design and Cut Your Template

The first thing I had to do is come up with a design on the computer. I’m most comfortable using Adobe Illustrator but you can use whichever program you like, or even freehand a hand drawn design. Just make sure to add connector lines to the negative space so the holes in the various letters stay in place once its cut out.

For the record, I don't have my own laser, so don't think you need one in order to do this project – I’m using the laser at my local maker space. If you live in or near a moderately-sized city, there's likely a maker space near you. Even certain libraries and universities have them and will allow you to use them for a small fee.

If you ultimately don’t have access to one you could just as easily use a scroll saw to make the cuts. It just may take a little longer to make the cuts and you’ll need a steady hand.

Step 3: Prep Rug for Painting

I used an 18x30 inch coir door mat. I think this cost $9 or $10 dollars at the Home Depot. Super cheap because it's super basic, but we're going to make it so much more than basic with our template.

Before getting started I decided to give it a quick vacuum in case there were any loose fibers or dirt so that it wouldn’t interfere with the paint once we got started.

As for paint I just grabbed a small can of premium exterior paint and had them tint it black for me. I got flat because I don’t want the design to be glossy and look weird.

For paint brush, I had a few options at hand because I wasn't sure what was going to work best, but it turns out a short, stiff bristle brush is what you'll want.

Step 4: Apply Template to Rug

As I was setting up the template, I realized one of the things I was worried about was definitely going to be a problem. And that was the template not wanting to stay down flat in certain spots.

What I decided to do may sound a little crazy or hacky, but hear me out. I decided to nail it down to my work bench, right through the template, rug and all. For one thing, I figured this would give me optimal hold-down and make sure it wouldn’t move between coats. And if there are a few holes on the bottom of the rug at the end, it wouldn’t be big deal because realistically it could help with water drainage since this is an outdoor rug.

If you don't have a work bench, any large scrap piece of wood that you can nail to will work.

After getting the template and rug secured to the bench with a “few” nails, I was ready to get painting.

Step 5: Apply First Coat of Paint

Painting is a super easy, but a tad slow-going process. I discovered that I needed to be extra careful around the pointy bits inside the “W” and the “M”, as these pieces were really too thin to put a nail through. I basically held them down with my finger and painted around them, really carefully. The coir fibers are quite stiff so a thick bristled paint brush is your friend here to help to really press the paint down in there.

I was considering using spray paint but I worried that would be just a surface coat and not get any paint below the surface of the rug. You're free to try that as well!

The smaller letters were a little more tricky to work with, as there just wasn’t as much room for the brush to do its work. So what I did was really pool the paint into the letters and give it a moment to seep down into the rug on its own before dabbing out the excess.

Step 6: Apply Second / Touch Up Coat

After the first coat, I let it dry for a day or two in my garage. The can says 2-4 hours between coats, but that’s assuming a thin coat on your wall, not thick saturated fibers like we’ve done here. So I figured the longer dry time would be best. After the first coat I was able to take a look at it up close and see all the areas where my paint didn’t make it the first time around, allowing me to focus on these for the second coat.

I got to work on the second coat and focused even more on really pressing the bristles into the rug.

After the second coat, I let it dry for another day or so, as I eagerly awaited getting to see if this worked or not (as this was an experiment), or if the paint had all seeped underneath my template and it was a complete bust.

Step 7: Remove Template

After the paint was dry, I was able to remove all the nails that I had applied to keep the template from moving. And discovered when I went to lift it that…it was stuck. I was trying to pry it up with my bare hands, but I was kind of tearing up my knuckles trying to pry it off so I went to get some work gloves to protect my hands.

I was trying to get the template off the rug all in one piece in case I needed to reuse it for a second attempt but I realized that wasn’t going to happen. The easiest way to get it off would be to break it off in a few different pieces. But as I broke off that first piece, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the template had worked! There was great coverage and definition on the letters and it looked really really good. I was quite pleased.

After getting all the large chunks off, there were tiny bits all inside various letters and I had to use a pliers to get at those, since they were kind of stuck to the paint too.

Step 8: Detail Touchups

After getting it fully detailed with the pliers, I had one small bit of painting left to do – filling in the template lines that held the inside of the “O’s” and “E’s” and other various letters with holes in place. I decided to just do one coat and was very careful with the brush since I didn’t have any template to guide me.

Step 9: Welcome Friends and Family to Your Home

After the custom welcome mat was all done and dried, it was time to place it in it's final home at my front door to welcome our friends and family into our home!

Be sure to watch the video above for more details, and if you like it please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel for more projects like this.

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