Welcome to EDDYLOW! | Week 22 | #52wonderfilledweeks

Welcome to EDDYLOW!

We’re back from our week-long road trip.  The trash can/bag from last week worked like a charm and we survived traveling 2200+ miles with two kids under the age of 4.  Now that our trip is done and over with I am chomping at the bit to get the outdoors of our sweet Chicago bungalow in order for summer.  You know, flowers planted, little touch ups of paint, sweet pieces of whimsy throughout the outside spaces…we have a list of items that we are planning on getting to in the coming weeks, but I needed something easy and quick for this week since we were travelling for most of it.  

This DIY doormat was just the ticket.  Our current mat is fine.  It totally works, and has been in its place since we moved in in 2009 but I really wanted to see if we could upgrade the front steps a bit.  I’ve seen these mats all over my FB Silhouette pages.  I knew I wanted to try one, but I wasn’t so sure what I wanted it to say.  It seemed wronged to waste a completely customized idea on the word “Welcome” and using our social moniker of “Laymaneers” felt a little too personal. Thankfully hubs suggested “Welcome to EDDYLOW, Est. 2009”.  It was perfect. 

A little back history.  We have named our last couple of places we have lived.  The third-floor apartment on Berteau Ave in Chicago’s North Center Neighborhood was quickly named “Chateau Berteau” or referred to as “The Chateau”.  When we bought our home we knew we would want to christen it with its own name, but what? We simply joined the street name with the word bungalow and came up with “Eddylow”.  It’s not as fancy as “The Chateau” but it works, and it’s stuck with the home for the last 9 years so I suppose it isn’t going anywhere, ha!

DIY – Doormat:
  • Doormat - I purchased mine from IKEA for $10 
  • Paint – I used some Rustoleum I had already laying around the house.  I will touch more on this below but I would probably use an outdoor acrylic paint for any future mats and apply using the pounce method (again I will explain below).
  • Freezer paper
  • Painters Tape
  • Handful of pins (if you feel the need)

To start I had to design the mat.  A tip I picked up from perusing the "interwebs" was to make a shape (rectangle in my case) in the exact size of the mat so I could accurately establish the size of the font I would want/need. Avid users of Adobe’s Illustrator, we have grown accustom to drafting up several possibilities when doing projects and comparing them.  It’s so much easier to see things back to back.

Once I had my final design decided on it came time to cut it out.  (I wanted to use freezer paper because USUALLY you can just iron it onto anything and it sticks and make the perfect, crisp stencil.  I had sifted through many facebook posts about this exact project and so many people said the freezer paper worked but I had a VERY hard time with it...more on that later.) I grabbed my giant stash of freezer paper and cut down some sheets to a 12"x 12" size to use on my Silhouette Cameo cutting mat.

***NOTE*** You do NOT need a fancy paper cutter to make things like this.  It helps for sure, but a printer and an exacto knife and you can get any stencil you want by hand.  I suggest printing what you want off the computer and placing the printout under the freezer paper and then trace and cut out the negative space (where you want to paint).  I grew up making stencils this way and it works perfectly, so don't let that stop you from creating your own welcome mat! ***

I love using an older rotary blade to trim down paper!

Once I had my sheets done I sat down to start cutting.  The image is HUGE compared to the mat (obviously) and I heard that you could drag images off of the mat and still cut...as in the machine would only cut those images on the mat...and this worked for the first "slice" but subsequent "slices" I had massive cutting problems.  To work around this (since I was of course doing this all at the last minute) I un-grouped the images and deleted everything that wouldn't fit on the mat.  It meant I had many more pieces to fit together in the end but I managed.

The "un-grouped" image ready to cut.

Next came the really fun part...I am totally lying of course.  From here on out the project sucked a big one.  My paper stuck to my mat so well I had to pry it off! The stencil rolled up on itself and I had to keep track of all the tiny letter fills!!! Lot's of expletives were used. Some how I managed to get everything cut out, and unrolled from itself.

THIS is one of my stencil pieces....aaahhhhhhhh!!!!!

I figured out very quickly that it would work easiest if I taped all the little stencil bits together first, THEN try and iron it down to the mat.  Well...the freezer paper was rolled so bad I had to iron it a bit as I taped the pieces together.  ***TIP*** do not use scotch tape when taping things together that you might iron.  It will melt when it touches the iron.  DO use painters tape. I have never had an issue ironing over (carefully of course) painters tape.

Taped up and ready to be ironed down.

Some of the stencil adhered to the mat but most of it didn't.  So frustrating.  I added painters tape around the entire stencil and on all the places where the edges were butted up against each other so paint wouldn't make it's way to the mat there. What parts of the stencil I did get to stick to the mat popped right up when I moved the mat outside to spray it.  I think the bigger issue was that I had a sisal mat that was not looped.  I think that the freezer paper would have stuck to a looped rug much more easily.  Oh well...I moved it outside and finished taping off the edges.

All taped down and seams covered.

I took the mat out back and sprayed it a few times with some light coats of Rustoleum Outdoor Paint and Primer in one.  I had it on hand and thought spraying it might be quicker than the more "traditional" method of "pouncing" the paint onto the canvass by a sponge brush and an up and down motion over the stencil.  Well the spray paint was quicker but in the end because the stencil was not adhered throughout it didn't turn out as crisp as I would have liked it.  (I used a few pins stuck into areas where the paper would not stay down, I read where others use pins when using the "pounce" method to hold the stencil in place.)

Ready for paint!

Between coats.  I was so nervous if it would turn out.

All in all it turned out.  I mean you can read the letters and it's really visually nice to look at.  There's a little over-spray/bleed on the larger letters, but I was pleasantly surprised that the little cursive letters came out as well as they did! Especially because I had to save and iron down all the little filler pieces!  Time will tell if the spray paint will hold up on this particular surface but I know this for sure - It's definitely an upgrade from what we had!


AFTER - Now about that door...

I love the idea of this project because if you knew what you were doing they make up quick and are great housewarming and/or hostess gifts.  I mean, $10 for a mat and a couple of bucks in paint and completely customized!  I am planning on making this same exact mat (we have a back door or two!) but next time use outdoor acrylic paint and the "pounce" method and see which is easier and which comes out cleaner.  In all my research I couldn't find someone who had actually used both methods so having this direct comparison might be nice.  


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