DIY Stenciled Welcome Mat

…a Silhouette stencil project

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!

I was a good girl at my local big box home building store last week. I kept my hands in my pockets, eyes straight ahead, and whispered, “Too soon. Too soon. Too soon.” as I walked past the array of artistically shelved bedding plants. Yes, I did manage to resist the lush greenery and beauty promised. Sadly, I had to. Our last snowfall was barely a week ago. Although tempting, anything planted now would surely succumb to frost.

But when I happened upon a bin of coir door mats—plain ones just begging for some Silhouette intervention!—I popped one in the cart. A new welcome mat would freshen up the front porch nicely and help me to “think spring” until it was safe to plant flowers. With a little outdoor craft paint and vinyl stencil, my mat was soon transformed.

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!
As usual, I’ve got a free cut file, full instructions, and a ton of photos ahead, so you can make one of your own.

This post includes affiliate links. If you click through and buy something, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you…win-win. Read my full disclosure policy HERE.

What you need…

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!Free file download
Silhouette v3 .studio3 Welcome Mat File
Silhouette Legacy v2 .studio Welcome Mat File


The design…

The font is King Basil Lite, to which I added a small offset to thicken it a bit. If you’re wondering where I get all my coolio commercial freebie fonts, check out this post on where to find great free fonts. The corner flourish is a commercial use freebie from pixelscrapper.com. The original looked like this:DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!I used the top two elements for my mat corners. To do that, I traced it, released the compound path (select the design, right-click, then choose ‘Release Compound Path’ from the list), deleted the parts I didn’t want, then regrouped the two remaining parts together (select them, right-click, choose ‘Group’).

Adjusting the design…DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!

The design in the free file is sized to fit a 30″ x 18″ mat. If your mat is a different size, check to make sure the design still fits. To do that, draw a rectangle the size of your mat. Then ungroup the corner designs (select them, right-click, then choose ‘Ungroup’ from the list) and arrange them and Welcome on your rectangle. If it looks good, you’re set to go, carry on. If your mat size is quite different, you may need to change the size of the design. When I resize something like this, I grab a corner of the selection box and drag it in and out until the design looks good. If you change the size of the corners, select them all before dragging a corner so they all end up the same size.  Oh, yes, and keep the boxes around the components. You’ll see later how they make it super easy to get the stencil positioned properly.

Cutting the stencil…

Since the Silhouette cuts a maximum width of 12″ and the design width is close to 17″, you can’t cut the whole design in one go. Instead, cut the corners in one pass through the machine, and Welcome in a second pass. Here’s how my 12″ x 24″ mat looked:
DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!Notice that the corner boxes are close but not touching, and they and the Welcome rectangle are completely on the mat.

When working with the longer mat, you need to change the page size and mat size settings in the Design Settings window. To do that, click on the ‘Open the Design Settings Window’ icon (A); under Page Size change the Height to 24.000 (B); under Cutting Mat, change the Cutting Mat to “Cameo 12 x 24 in”(C).

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!
Cut and weed the designs from adhesive vinyl. Trim the backing to the vinyl. You can use scissors to trim, but a rotary cutter and clear ruler (on a self-healing mat as below) are more accurate and much faster.

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!
Apply transfer tape to one of the corners (you can reuse it on the others later) and to Welcome. Used transfer tape is fine—if you have a piece that long hanging around—otherwise de-sticky the tape a bit by applying it to a pillow or your shirt a few times before using it. The vinyl sticks to the coir well enough to act as a stencil, but it doesn’t offer much resistance when you remove the transfer tape. De-stickying the tape first will make removal much easier.

Technically, transfer tape isn’t necessary on the corners because they’re made of one piece (no small parts that need to be kept in place). Go ahead and wing it without tape, if you’re feeling reckless, like you want to waste vinyl.lucky, but the added stiffness makes the vinyl a whole lot easier to work with, so I went with the transfer tape.

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!
If you look closely at the above photo, you’ll see transfer tape down the middle of the word only. My apologies if you have to squint, cock your head, stand on one foot, and hold your tongue just so to see anything. Note to self: don’t use white vinyl on white backing for demonstrations. #facepalmmoment #toohardtosee You really only need the transfer tape to hold the counters (middle bits from the e, l, and o), so the center strip will do the trick.

Applying the stencil…

Start with the corners (if you’re using them). Remove the backing and plunk a corner stencil right onto the corner of the mat. Thanks to the boxes cut around the flourish, placement is easy peasy—when the stencil edges match the mat edges, the stencil is in the right place. Aren’t you glad of those boxes now?

The coir is a difficult surface for the vinyl to stick to, but pat it down as best you can.

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!Then, holding the vinyl down with one hand, carefully peel the transfer tape off with the other. Keep your vinyl-holding hand close to the transfer tape, moving along as the tape moves off the vinyl.

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!The grey hand is where my hand would be if it weren’t on camera duty. The thumb is up, not touching the transfer tape. At this point, the vinyl isn’t sticking particularly well and you may have thoughts that this is going to be one big fail, but carry on. Go slow. Keep the vinyl edges lined up with the mat edges. It may seem like the vinyl won’t do the job, but it will.

Once the corners are applied and the transfer tape removed…

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!…position the Welcome stencil. Again, the box around Welcome, makes it super easy to place. All you have to do is measure from the box edge to the mat edge and make sure that the top and bottom measurements are the same and that the right and left side measurements are the same. For my mat that meant the top and bottom measurement was about 4″, and the side measurements about 3″.

When you have Welcome where you want it, place a piece of blue painters tape across the width about 2/3 of the way along so it extends onto the mat, like this:

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!Make sure the tape is securely stuck to the mat. This is the center hinge method. It’s one of the best tricks to apply adhesive vinyl exactly where you want it. Next, on the large side, peel the stencil off the backing and fold it over the tape, leaving the backing on the mat (the back of my vinyl is grey).

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!With scissors, cut the backing off an inch or two from the tape.

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!Then slowly roll the backless vinyl onto the mat, smoothing and patting it with your hand as you go.

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!That’s the first half of the Welcome stencil applied. To apply the second half, remove the blue tape and bend the second half back onto the applied section. Remove the backing and roll the vinyl into place on the mat. Gently push it down to get it to stick as well as you can. I know it looks really insecure, but it’ll work…it will.

Once the whole Welcome stencil is on the mat, carefully peel back the transfer tape to remove it, using the same technique you did with the corners: one hand peeling, one hand holding the the stencil down close to the transfer tape, moving along as the tape is removed.

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!Thumb is up on the right hand, not touching the transfer tape.

Painting…

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!Skoosh a thumbnail blob of paint onto a tray (or plastic sour cream lid). Dip the stencil brush in the paint and then smunch it around away from the paint blob to get the brush good and saturated with paint. You want the paint evenly distributed on the brush…no blobs.

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!I began with a ¾” stencil brush (on the right above), but quickly discovered a smaller one (about 3/8″, on the left, above) worked better to get in between the stencil edges.

Paint Welcome first. It’s easier to do and you’ll have a good feel for the technique by the time you get to the corners. I painted letter by letter, going from left to right (if you’re left-handed, go the other way). If a letter had a section wider than the brush, I started there, pouncing up and down with the brush until that area was well coated. Then I moved on to the stencil edges,..pounce, pounce, pounce. While painting along the edges, I held down the vinyl close to the edge where I was pouncing, and I replenished the paint on the brush often. This is not a dry brush technique. And don’t be a wimpy pouncer. The stiff bristles of the stencil brush are well-suited to getting down into the coir fibers, but I found I needed a generous medium force to get that to happen. Just make sure to pounce up and down, not at an angle that might poke the bristles under the stencil.

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!Because the vinyl doesn’t stick as well to the coir as it does in other applications, I was constantly feeling like paint must be getting under the stencil, but it wasn’t. Unlike stenciling on wood or fabric, paint doesn’t run under the stencil or wick through the coir. As long as your brush contacts the coir and stencil straight on, you’ll get a crisp edge.

When the painting is complete, carefully peel off the vinyl and admire your handiwork.

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!As I said, I was SO SURE I was making a mucky mess of things, so I was completely amazed at the crisp edges I ended up with.

DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!DIY a "Welcome" door mat with a Silhouette stencil. FREE cut file!

Have fun creating your own welcome mat!

Oh, yes, and Happy Spring! to you.

effCheers!

–Eff

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8 thoughts on “DIY Stenciled Welcome Mat

  1. Great tutorial. have seen the mats a lot lately and thought I would like to try. Your tut makes me believe I can. thanks.

    1. No. I used outdoor acrylic paint, so it should be okay. I figure if it looks worn and faded at the end of the season, I’ll give it a good hose-down, cut another set of stencils, spruce it up with another coat of paint, and at that point spray a coat of sealer to see if it makes a difference. Or…LOL…the mat cost less than $8, so maybe I’ll shuffle this one off to the garage or back gate and do a new design for the front door! :^)

    1. Woohoo! Go for it, Jerri! I love how mine turned out. I’d love to see yours when it’s finished…send me a pic! :^)

  2. I’ve seen several diy doormat projects – some use acrylic outdoor paint others use outdoor spray paint. Will one work better over the other?

    Great tutorial!

    1. I haven’t personally tried spray painting a mat, but when deciding what I would use, I heard way more “epic fail” stories about spray paint than I did any other, so I went with the brush application instead. And, bonus, I didn’t have to deal with over-spray, which can get messy.

      My gut feel is the brushed-on paint would last longer because the stencil brush pushes it deeper into the coir fibres. Spray paint, on the other hand just sits on top…the coir is too dense for it to go any deeper. My mat has been on the porch for only a month, but it’s been through snow and severe rain and people walking on it and still looks great. We’ll see what it’s like in the fall after a season’s worth of use. If it’s super worn and faded, I may try marine paint next time. It’s theoretically more durable than the outdoor acrylic, but more expensive, and would be a special purchase for me just for this project, so may not be worth it unless I was planning to do a bunch.

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