As many of you probably know first hand, the inspiration received from other shelter blogs is pretty ridic. Really, you should see the absurd amount of links I file in my Mail’s “Inspiration” folder. This past Monday, I took to my folder, and, well… got inspired. Not having a front stoop to primp and pretty for spring (our building has a maintenance crew that weeds our bitty tree lawn), I turned to our second floor door with mat decor from Restored Style – and even this more involved welcome from ReadyMade.
Here’s the ugly truth. We’ve been welcoming friends and family with the same college-day-doormat that my man’s been using for the last, oh, 8 years or so. Of course we love sporting Queen City pride, but that flimsy, soft mat had to go.
It’s not as if we’d never tried. Have you seen the doormats they stock in the stores? With most averaging around thirty dollars, we were actually happier to sticking with what we had. Too boring, too cheesy, too… ew, really? You bet we were picky.
But back to the whole inspiration thing I was feeling this week. We picked up the Ikea Trampa mat for just nine bucks – an over sized and surprisingly high quality scratchy coir with thick rubber backing. Our tiny door nook was a tight fit for the too-big dimensions, so I cut it down to a more slimming 20 x 30 inches. Tip: For anyone taking on their own cuts, I made my measurements on the non-slip back, then made at least 3 passes with a sharp razor blade. It’s easier (and much safer) to make several lighter cuts, rather than going for a single deep slice.
After running a few design ideas past Scott (he totally didn’t go for my big bunny plan), we agreed on a simple hi / bye theme – a welcome and farewell in one. Using Microsoft Word (although any program that allows you to use text would work), I printed hi and bye using a 400 pt Helvetica font. Because the paper would also act as the stencil, I used a heavy card stock to prevent any curling the paint may cause. From there, I simply cut each letter out with a knife, making sure I stayed within the lines and saving any inside pieces, such as the middle of my b.
A dry fit ensured I was on the right path (easy enough), and I used plain scotch tape to secure my stencils. Any part of the mat that was exposed was covered in old shopping bags, including the tiny edges my stencils didn’t cover. But learn from my mistake – I did all my taping inside, and you better believe that things would have been much easier if I had tackled all the stencil securing outdoors. Carrying my mat to the patio while keeping everything in place was quite the, um, unwanted challenge.
I used a few paint cans to hold everything down (since the wind was certainly not cooperating that day), and misted 3 light coats of on-hand flat black spray paint.
Once everything was good and dry (as in, I impatiently waited a whole 5 minutes to rip off the paper), I was relieved to see mostly clear, even letters. Eee! Over spray was minimal (although the edges are faintly fuzzy – let’s call that “charm”), and as I mentioned before, I’d recommend something sturdier than thin copy paper. I’d say our cover stock worked like a champ, but anything thinner would have been a near disaster (so dramatic!).
Holy heck of an improvement. (And cute, too.) Scott was as excited as any guy would be over a doormat, going so far as to eagerly volunteer and haul away the dingy Bengal. No complaints, and without so much as a last look at his team’s logo.
Not to mention that ol’ tiger never bid us farewell on our way out the door.
And for good measure, a gratuitous photo of our little man. You can’t see it from this angle (check it out above), but he’s staring right at his leash. If the door opens, you bet he’s hoping for a w-a-l-k.
Okay, so we may not have the luxury of stocking up on planters to flank the front door, but we’re really enjoying our own little version of sprucing up our so-called exterior.
What about the rest of you apartment dwellers? Any entry primping tips and tricks to share? How do you make the most of your not-so-outdoor interior exteriors? Woah, tongue-twister.