There is a dearth of sassy, charming doormats out there. I ought to know -- I live in a building without the luxury of an elevator. Multiple times a day, I have the opportunity to review my neighbors' mats. To a one, they are dirty, ratty and wholly uninteresting (To be fair, Apartment No. 18 has made an attempt at wit: Theirs is printed with a cartoon frog in a hammock under the phrase "Welcome to Our Pad").
Why place something banal and ugly at the threshold to your home when you could welcome guests with a splash of color, mirth -- and even a political statement? For our example, we chose the image of Argentine-born revolutionary and Castro pal Che Guevara -- and learned why his image is seemingly everywhere. It seems that during his lifetime, the photographer who took the iconic shot -- Alberto Diaz-Gutierrez, better known as Alberto Korda -- rarely enforced his copyright because he wanted the image to be widely seen. T-shirt vendors of the world couldn't be happier. And, while prefab doormat options are limited, the scope of this project is as wide open as your imagination. You may experiment with other colors and images -- Republicans might fancy a GOP elephant or Marx fans a hammer and sickle.
Gather your supplies. You'll need a 16-by-24-inch coconut doormat (available at hardware and houseware stores); one can of white spray paint; cans of colored Plasti-Dip spray (at www.plastidip.com or local hardware stores) appropriate to your design (we used one each of red and black); a standard manila file folder; a printout of your image to size; an Xacto knife; masking tape; a sheet of cardboard at least two feet square; a box of straight pins; and white glue.
Begin by creating a base for your design. For a round foundation, like the one we used, trace and cut a 12-inch circle out of cardboard. Place the cardboard's hole onto the center of your mat, secure with straight pins, and spray thoroughly with white paint. Allow to dry about a half-hour. You can then place your design on top of this base. We sprayed the same circle thoroughly with red Plasti-Dip and allowed to dry thoroughly.
To create your stencil, thinly spread glue on the back of the image and paste it onto the file folder. Allow to dry for a half-hour. Then, using the Xacto knife, cut out the black part of the image to make a stencil.
Center and tape the file-folder stencil over the sprayed paint circle on your mat. Secure with straight pins. Spray thoroughly with the third color of Plasti-Dip. (We used black.) Carefully remove the stencil, allow the mat to dry thoroughly, and place outside to declare your revolutionary intentions!
Laura J. Vogel
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