Sometimes I’ll get an idea for a project and tackle it the very same day, and other times it’ll take me years to actually get around to completing it.
Determined to finally make one of these wooden doormats, I pulled up a Pinterest tutorial and skimmed the simple materials list: 16 pieces of 2×2-inch lumber measuring 24 inches each, six feet of quarter-inch sisal rope* and a 3/8-inch drill bit. It was so simple, in fact, that I never went back to read the instructions — I am weirdly rebellious about instructions — and things still turned out perfectly.
During a home improvement store run I asked my handy husband to pick me up four eight-foot-long 2×2-inch boards (less than $15 total) and a 50-foot package of 1/4″ sisal rope* (way more than I’d need for one mat).
You know I’m normally not much of a measurer, but I was careful to measure and mark 24” sections before cutting them with my mitre saw. I didn’t want the mat to look like a choppy piano with crooked keys, after all.
Once I had my stack of 16 little planks, I gave them a good sanding so they’d be nice and smooth underfoot. Lots of little bare feet run in and out of our house from May through September, weather-permitting.
Armed with the requested 3/8” drill bit — borrowed from my handy husband, since my own bits were all too small — I prepared to drill the holes I’d need to connect each plank together.
Since I hadn’t bothered to read the tutorial, I didn’t know how far down each plank to drill the holes. I knew they’d need to be in exactly the same spot or else the mat would be wonky, so I used a cardboard scrap to make a drilling template. Then I marked a tiny Sharpie dot equal distances from the end of each plank.
Drilling into the stack of 2x2s wasn’t difficult, but it went slowly so I didn’t split any of them or drill crooked paths through the wood. After about 15 minutes, all 16 boards had top and bottom holes. The drilling wasn’t particularly clean, so I fussed around sanding the holes for a while. Don’t worry about that, because it ended up not being noticeable!
While I’d been drilling, I was thinking about how I was going to paint the planks. Did I want a crisp white mat, or maybe a fun yellow one? A combination of different stains? Rainbow colours? So many possibilities!
I decided on a pattern of white and pale grey, so I brushed half of the planks white — not bothering to do a “proper” coat since I wanted it to look casual — and sponged the other half with grey stain. I painted/stained all four sides of each plank, but in theory you could have a reversible mat with different colours on the top and bottom. (The “inside” sides of the planks aren’t that visible.)
Once the paint and stain were dry, I brushed on a few coats of polyurethane to protect the colour from the elements. I could hardly wait for the next step — stringing the planks on the sisal — so I likely rushed this part a bit.
I remembered from the original tutorial that I only needed six feet of sisal, so naturally, that meant three feet for the top and three feet for the bottom.
I cut off two lengths of about four feet — just in case — tied a double knot on one end of each piece, and strung the first plank in place.
Then I knotted each rope again, pushing the knot tightly up against the first plank, and slid on the second plank. It was working!
It was super fast — and oddly satisfying — stringing the planks onto the rope, and tying knots between each one. Oh, and if you’re having trouble jamming the rope through the holes, wrap a piece of scotch tape around the tip to help thread it through.
When I’d slid the last plank into place, I double-knotted the ends of the rope and cut off the excess. It was done!
Our new wooden doormat is really cool to step on, and surprisingly smooth and comfortable under bare feet. Hilariously, our dog refuses to step on it — maybe her paws feel like they’ll slip between the planks? — and jumps around it, but everyone else likes it.
I’ve already cut more planks to make another one of these for our back door, and I’m trying a combination of 2x2s and 2x4s this time — using wood I had on hand, since I have plenty of leftover sisal rope.
Twenty bucks for a totally durable, unique doormat? I can see myself making a lot of these!