How to Paint a Doormat

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Summer temps are already here!  This past week I decided it was time to freshen up our front door mat.  My fall and winter doormat felt a little out of place with temps hitting 90 lately.  I still loved the layered look I had before, but wanted to do something a little larger to better fit the front door.  After testing a few out (if you follow me on Instagram I had asked for your votes in my Insta Stories) I came up empty handed.  I loved this one from Studio McGee, but the price plus shipping was more than I wanted to spend.  So, I decided to use it as inspiration and make one!

For those of you with fancy cutting machines, you can find a bunch of tutorials and templates online and this is a super quick and easy process you can have done in 10 minutes.  For the remaining three or four of us that don’t have a machine, this is for you.  Or… am I the only one without a machine??  Anywho, I’m going to show you how to paint a doormat without a machine.

What I Started With

I found this pretty grey and cream patterned rug at Target for $24.99.  It’s a 30″x48″ and I love the larger size!  Most doormats are 18″x30″, and I wanted something bigger to fit the larger rug.  I found this plain 24″x36″ coir doormat at World Market for $18 on sale.  I thought about leaving it plain like this for a while, but couldn’t do it.

What You Need

Step One

Create your design and print it off.  I used, it’s the same free website I use to edit all of my photos.  The font I used for this design is “Futura Medium”.  You may have to play around with the size a bit to get it where you want.  I was able to fit 2-3 letters onto each piece of paper and then taped them all together and then to the countertop so they wouldn’t slip.

Step Two

Place a single piece of freezer paper over the printed paper and start tracing the design.  You’ll want the shiny side facing down, and matte side facing up.  Use a ruler to help get crisp, straight lines.

Step Three

Remove the freezer paper and place it on a cutting surface.  Carefully cut out your design using an X-acto knife.  Make sure to save any open pieces from letters like the O and R you see here.

Step Four

Place your stencil on the center of the doormat and iron down.  This will make the freezer paper stick to the doormat.  It won’t adhere really well, but a little is all you need.  Make sure you don’t forget to add in those open pieces!

Step Five

Time to paint!  Use a stiff bristled paint brush or a stencil brush to tap the paint straight down onto the mat.  You don’t want to make sweeping motions because the paint will get underneath the stencil.  Just firm stippling motions.  Some of the stencil edges started to pull up as they got wet with paint so I used my finger to hold them in place as I went.  I did just one coat of paint here.

Step Six

Peel off your stencil!  I was actually shocked at how crisp the lines were, and how well one coat covered.  You could call it good at this point, but I did a little extra below.

I took a small craft brush and went over the letters a second time with more paint just to make sure they were good and coated, and to fill in any areas that didn’t seem very crisp.

Step Seven

I’m not sure this step is necessary, but I loved how this doormat turned out and wanted to make sure it lasted a long time.  So, while the paint was still a little wet, I went over each letter with a quick coat of polyurethane.  Once it was dry the letters were nice and firm, keeping the fibers from pulling apart and disrupting the design.

You’re Done!

I’m so thrilled with how this doormat turned out!  I hope it inspires you to create one of your own.  What would you stencil on your doormat?


Gray rug // Plain coir doormat // Light gray planter from Homegoods (similar here) // Outdoor craft paint

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  1. Elaine - Visual Meringue Avatar

    Love this! So simple and sweet – awesome job. And, I don’t have a machine either ;). Great way to make a template!

    1. Shelley Avatar

      Hey! Now there are two of us without machines 😀 Thank you so much, Elaine!

  2. Pamela Jones Avatar
    Pamela Jones

    Love the simple way to customize the mat. This way I can have more for different times of the year and not break my budget. Pulling out the stencil brush.

    1. Shelley Avatar

      I’m even thinking about stenciling the back side of the mat so I can flip it over and have two for the price of one!

  3. cassie bustamante Avatar

    this looks awesome! i have wanted to paint mine, but laziness takes over and i am like, nah it’s fine. 😉

    1. Shelley | Crazy Wonderful Avatar

      Lol! Well, you certainly have much more important priorities right now!

  4. Lisa Avatar

    No machine over here either! I forgot about this freezer paper transfer method, so good! Your letters came out so perfectly! And I adore your layered rug styling. I’ve gotta do that!!

    1. Shelley | Crazy Wonderful Avatar

      Hey! We’re up to three of us without machines now 😀 I was shocked at how crisp they came out! Definitely have to try it.

  5. Lindsay Avatar

    Such a great idea! I’m definitely going to try this. How has your rug kept up? I love it but it’s not an outdoor rug so I worry about stains and getting worn out too fast.

    1. Shelley | Crazy Wonderful Avatar

      Thank you! The fabric rug underneath is holding up perfectly. However, our porch is covered and that area never gets wet from rain or sprinklers. I’m not sure how well it would hold up long term if it was exposed to the elements. There are so many beautiful outdoor options available though so I’m positive you could find something similar in an outdoor fabric if you wanted to go that route.

Meet Shelley

Hi, I’m Shelley! My belief is that with a little creativity and elbow grease, you can make your home look like a million bucks without spending it.

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