This past winter was an intense one for most of us in North America...you know, you were there. It wreaked some serious havoc, including taking its toll on my welcome mat. After four straight months of boots covered in salt and ice and black sludge, it was time to say goodbye.
So, I teamed up with 3MDIY to create a new, handmade welcome mat, using some of my favorite materials: wood and brass. It was relatively easy and used just a few tools and about $40 in supplies.
Here's how it went down.
Tools and Materials:
- Decay-resistant wood suitable for outdoor use - we used redwood
- Crosscut saw
- ScotchBlue™ Painter's Tape
- 3M™ Sandblaster™ Pro Advanced Sandpaper with NO-SLIP GRIP - 150 and 220 grits
- Brass tube - 1/2" diameter and .029 thick
- Electric drill and 1/2" drill bit
- Two-part epoxy
- Outdoor wood finish - we used Teak Oil
- 3M™ Safety Products: respirator, dust mask, ear protection, safety glasses
1. The first step: gather your materials. Since the welcome mat will be outside, it's important to select materials, adhesives, and finishes that are able to stand up to the weather. With that in mind, I went with redwood. Because redwood, like cedar, contains irritants, it's important to wear appropriate safety gear include safety glasses and an N95-rated dust mask. And be sure to do whatever you can to avoid splinters. (Though never wear thick gloves when operating stationary power tools.)
I bought my redwood as a 2x6" and ripped it down to 7/8" strips. But you could easily use cedar 1x2s (actually 3/4 x 1 1/2") cut to length which you can find at any home center. Your slats will just be 1/8" thinner.
2. I cut the redwood strips into 29" lengths at the miter saw. Whenever I work with softwood like redwood, cedar, or pine, I like to use ScotchBlue™ painters tape on the cut line to prevent splintering. This trick also works great for cutting plywood with a circular or table saw.
3. After cutting, I sanded the slats with 150 and 220-grit sandpaper. Then, I wiped on a coat of water to raise the grain, and sanded once more with 220.
4. Next, I drilled holes with 1/2" drill bit 7 1/2" from each edge. Since the brass tube is 1/2" in diameter, I "overdrilled" (shifting the drill angle) ever-so-slightly to increase the hole size so the tube would slide through.
5. For the end pieces, I needed to drill a stopped hole 1 1/4" through the wood. So, I carefully measured and make a stop out of ScotchBlue™ tape to prevent me from drilling through. I also eased over the top corner on these outside slats for a more finished look.
6. With my wooden slats ready to go, I cut the 36" long rod in half into two 18" lengths. I assembled the whole thing for a dry fit, and determined that a 1/2" spacing between the slats worked best. Then, I used a square to make sure the brass tubes were perfectly perpendicular with the end slat, and glued them in place.
7. To glue metal-to-wood, I opted for an outdoor-approved two-part epoxy. Since it has a five-minute "open time," I mixed up several small batches and only glued two or three slats at a time.
I spaced my slats 1/2" apart, using some 1/2" plywood and MDF scraps as spacers. Obviously, you can only adhere these one at a time without covering everything in epoxy, so just cover the appropriate area of the brass rod in epoxy, then slide the slat into place.
8. Once the epoxy had set according to the package directions, I finished the redwood with Teak Oil. There are a few options that would be appropriate here, but I had the Teak Oil on hand, plus it's the option of choice for water-proof boat hulls. So, if it's good for a boat, it's good for my outdoor welcome mat. I thought the slats might be a bit of a hassle, but a small foam brush fit easily inside the 1/2" spaces. Each coat only took about 5 minutes to apply.
Whatever finish you choose, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions. With Teak Oil, you simply flood the surface, wait 30 minutes, re-apply for 15 minutes, then wipe away any excess. I like using these little painter's triangles when working on a project where both sides will be finished so I can paint or work on each side at once.
After allowing the finish to cure, my outdoor wooden welcome mat was ready to go. Overall, it measured 29 x 17 1/4."
I really love the warm redwood and brass combo, and the wood will continue to darken up and become richer with exposure to the sun.
I am proud to be a 3M- sponsored blogger, and, as part of my responsibilities, I get the opportunity to evaluate new products from 3M DIY. Opinions are my own and additional product used in the project were selected by me.