We’ve all heard the old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
It applies to more than just how we look when meeting someone for the first time. Think about your house. When someone comes to your front door, what do they see-nicely painted trim? A light fixture? Flowers and a trimmed lawn (or a shoveled walk in the winter)? All of these things say a lot about who is living inside. An instant and inexpensive front door improvement ( see our guide on best deadbolt ) is a welcome mat. Make your own, and really give your guests a glimpse of your personality.
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Look for a rug specifically designed for outdoor use or one that will hold up to the elements. The one I used came with a contrasting double border.
You will also need:
- Adhesive backed paper (like Con-Tact Paper)
- Stencil brush (a flat head brush)-they come in natural bristles or foam
- X-Acto knife or craft knife
- Cutting board
Choose a font that suits your style. Just make sure the letter has some “weight” to it. You don’t want a skinny letter. Print a copy as big as you can on an 8½x11-inch piece of paper.
Make the Stencil: Cut out the paper letter and trace it onto an adhesive backed paper. I used Lite-Tack Con-Tact Paper, but a heavy-duty self-adhesive paper will probably stick better to a textured rug. Carefully cut out the letter using the X-Acto knife and cutting board. You want a nice, smooth edge.
Mark the center of the rug with tape. Do the same on your stencil.
Lay the stencil on the rug, lining up and matching your center marks.
Pour paint onto a dish. I used an acrylic craft paint, but you can use latex or porch paint.
Don’t overload your paintbrush-dip it in the paint and then dab off the excess. Using an up and down stamping motion, apply paint. Keeping the brush perpendicular to the rug surface will ensure nice crisp edges. Work from the center of the stencil out toward the edge. Take your time; add more paint until you are happy with the look. Natural fiber rugs or rugs with a heavy texture will absorb paint quickly and will most likely take several extra coats of paint.
Resist the urge to peek! Don’t remove your stencil until you are finished. Once removed, it’s impossible to line up the stencil on the exact same spot.
Allow the paint to completely dry, and then peel off the stencil.
Proudly lay out your masterpiece at the front or back door, to welcome guests with your personalized mat!
Interior designer Merri Cvetan often writes about her own home craft projects for Home Depot. If Merri’s personalized, stenciled welcome mats inspire you to create one for your home, you can visit the Home Depot Home Decorators rug selection for a large collection of outdoor mats available online.