Confession: up until three weeks ago, our front doormat was Christmas themed. In my defense, no one, not even the Amazon guy, uses our front door. So in all honesty, I didn’t remember it was there until right before I had some out of town company coming. The only problem was I didn’t have another doormat to put in its place! My thought was if I could find a doormat that made me smile, then maybe I could inspire us all to actually use our front door! And so our Come Back with Tacos doormat DIY was born.
The best part about this tutorial is you can come up with any saying you want for your doormat and the steps still apply. So get creative, have fun and make something that will actually make you want to answer your front door.
What you’ll need to get started…
- Plain doormat (this was a bit harder to find than I thought, but luckily I found it here)
- Painters tape
- Black screen printing ink (this is what we use for everything)
- Sponge brush
- Spray adhesive
- Exacto knife
- Printer access
To get started you’re going to need access to a computer and printer. If you’re like us and your printer isn’t working, you’ll just need to run to your local office supply store or Fedex and you can print there for a small fee.
The template you’re going to use is what you’ll be making on your computer. Any program similar to Microsoft Word will work.
Set your page template to landscape and then you just need to decide on what you mat is going to say, select your font and then decide on how large you want it to be. For our doormat, I knew I wanted it to be the complete center of our mat, so I made each word its own page. We had four words in our saying, so I ended up printing four pages.
A piece of advice: if this is your first time playing with an Exacto knife, I would recommend a basic font for your template. The less intricate your font the less work you’ll have cutting it out.
Now that your template is all printed, go ahead and set it aside. We’ll get back to it in just a minute.
Looking at your doormat, you’re going to want to cover it with painters tape. I found it easier to lay the tape horizontally. You need to make sure the edges of your tape overlap. This will help minimize ink leaking through onto parts of the mat you don’t want stained. Another way to protect your mat from unwanted ink is to make sure and press the tape as securely as possible. Think your tape is on good? Just go ahead and mash it down one more time just to be safe.
Once your doormat is completely covered, take your printed template and lay it out to see where you want it placed. When you’re ready, you’ll want to put a light coat of spray adhesive over it (you may have some of that spray adhesive left over from here). Then adhere your printed template to your mat.
Taking your Exacto knife, you’ll want to carefully cut out your letters on your printed template. Be extra careful with letters that might have some tight spots (I was sweating bullets over my W and M), or areas where you might leave small pieces behind (like with an A or an O). Make sure to use a sharp blade (new would be ideal) to make this process as easy as possible.
When your template is all cut out, re-secure any spots where the painter’s tape may have moved or loosened because it’s time to start staining!
I opted to use screen printing ink because I wanted a cleaner look to my letters. Screen printing ink is what you use on t-shirts and fabrics because it soaks into the fibers to give you your color. So your end result looks a lot cleaner and more professional than regular paint or spray paint.
Using your sponge brush, get just the tip of it in the ink. Remember you’re not working with traditional paint here. A little bit goes a long way. Then lightly dab your ink throughout your template. Keep in mind, it will be light in color on your first coat or two. But resist the temptation to use more pressure than lightly dabbing or you will increase your chance of ink leaking under your painter’s tape.
If you’re like me and really want to check how everything is going under the template, you can CAREFULLY lift an edge of your painter’s tape/template and take a peak. Just be sure to carefully re-secure before putting any more coats of ink down.
Do as many coats has you want until you achieve the shade of color you want. I ended up doing three coats total on ours.
If you have a hair dryer handy, spray dry your mat to help the ink cure. I had enough time to do this for a few minutes but ended up just letting it cure overnight
When your ink is cured, go ahead and remove your painter’s tape and template, and check out your super cute doormat!