With so much of our time being spent outdoors these days, I’m finding myself drawn more and more to exterior DIY projects. Case in point, our brand-new DIY sponge-painted welcome mat. It all started with a natural straw mat picked up from our local hardware store for just $10.
My initial plan was to give it a customized paint treatment, but what exactly? At first, I considered a cheeky phrase or an arrow design, but I eventually decided on a simple watermelon motif — the perfect ode to our favorite season.
To make your own, first grab a plain welcome mat, a large, all-purpose sponge, sharp scissors, a detail paintbrush, paint containers such as plastic plates, and pink, green and black paints. For the main part of my watermelon shape, I bought a sample can of coral paint in an interior/exterior finish to ensure longevity against the elements.
Begin by using the scissors to cut the all-purpose sponge into a watermelon shape. You’ll need to cut two stamps — one to mimic the wedge shape of the watermelon’s pink core, and a second to represent the thin, curved green rind of the watermelon. After cutting the general shapes out, you may need to trim up the edges to ensure a crisp stamped shape.
Next, pour a large amount of paint onto a tray or plastic plate and dip your sponge into the paint. If you use a raw straw mat like I did, you’ll want to load up on paint. The natural fibers and crevasses soak up a lot of the color, so load on more than you think necessary. With the stamp’s bottom surface covered with paint, bring it over to the mat and press down firmly in random places across the surface. Because of the rough texture of my mat, I ended up stamping each shape twice to ensure full paint coverage.
As for my process, I stamped the pink wedges first and then went back and topped each shape with the smaller stamp loaded with green paint. Allow to dry for 20 minutes. Then grab the smaller detail brush and add tiny dots of black paint to the pink wedge to mimic watermelon seeds.
Allow the mat to sit overnight in a well-ventilated area to ensure that the paint has a chance to completely dry. A final coat of clear, waterproof spray paint on top completes the piece and will help to protect the stamped watermelon design for the entire summer season.