DIY Geometric Welcome Mat Ikea Hack

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With so much of our time being spent outdoors these days, I’m finding myself drawn more and more to exterior DIY projects. Case in point, our brand new DIY welcome mat. It all started with a natural straw mat picked up from IKEA for just $5. My initial plan was to give it a customized paint treatment, but what exactly?

At first, I considered a cheeky phrase or an emoticon symbol, but eventually decided on a simple arrow motif. The only challenge was that I didn’t want to literally paint an arrow onto my mat—I was hoping for something a little more subtle. Finally, I came up with the idea to create an angular striped pattern that would imply a directional message without being quite so literal.

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To make your own, grab a can of satin finish spray paint and a roll of professional grade masking tape. I recommend the professional grade tape, because the all-purpose budget versions just don’t seem to stack up. At just a dollar or two more a roll, I’ve come to realize that the brand name tape is well worth the money. As for the paint, I would suggest a satin finish since glossy will bring out all of the imperfections in the uneven surface.

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To recreate the arrow motif that I came up with, start by putting a length of tape down the center of your mat. You can measure to be sure you’ve hit the center, but I just eye-balled it. With the center line in place, cut multiple lengths of tape for the angled side pieces. If you want more of your mat to show through, use more tape. I wanted chunkier lines, so I doubled up on my tape lines down the sides. When the design is complete, press down firmly across all of the tape, ensuring that the edges especially are adhered to the mat’s surface.

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Next, carefully lift your mat and walk it out to a well ventilated area and place it on a piece of scrap cardboard or paper. Then, with your spray paint can held at least 1-2 feet from the top of your mat, spray in an even side-to-side motion. Make sure not to concentrate in any one area—instead shoot for several thin and even coats. Be sure to spray down on top of the mat as opposed to an angled spray since you may inadvertently end up spraying paint under your taped lines.

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Immediately remove your tape and allow the paint to dry for 2-3 hours before handling. After discarding the tape, I noticed that the center line in my design felt a little plain in its unpainted state. So I added two more lines of tape—one on either side of that blank center line—and sprayed white paint down the middle. The bright white color definitely made it a little harder to hide imperfections (disappointing), but I really like how the bold contrast finishes off the look. A final coat of clear matte spray paint on top completed the piece and will help to protect my design for the remainder of the summer season!

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