This is another project I’ve been waiting to see come to fruition—my own black cat silhouette doormats! I decided to make a few during my virtual open house last week, in part to answer some questions about materials and designs for me, and to gather feedback on the whole idea. The idea was a hit, and some of the feedback I got both surprised me and made the printing process easier.
This design began as a marker sketch of Bella having a stretch in the kitchen, along with two other activities that easily lent themselves to a set of sketches, called “Fun Things Bella Does With Her Tail”. I always liked those silhouettes, and knew someday I’d “do something” with them. This is the first “something”, but it won’t be the last.
Developing the product
Many years ago, just after I moved into this house, a friend gave me a coir doormat with two black kitty silhouettes on it. I still have it at my front door, and it’s still in pretty good shape. It’s provided a lot of that inspiration to make my own doormats too.
Lately, I’ve been following all the crafty posts about stenciling doormats, mostly these “coir”, or coconut shell fiber, mats, as well as other types of synthetic carpet and felted types. For the most part the makers use acrylic craft paint and advise they are not weatherproof and may not wear for very long. What kind of a doormat is that? Certainly not a mat like the one I’ve enjoyed all these years. And if I’m going to make something, and someone else is going to spend money on it, it’s going to be durable and last longer than a few months.
I purchased a few 24″ x 16″ premade coir doormats at IKEA to play around with. They are a good size, got good reviews, and seemed pretty sturdy after I used one for a bit and let it be rained on and rolled and folded it.
But the paint was the real question—which of the many paints available was going to stand up to both weather and wear? Back in the 1980s I was a sign painter and used a product called 1-Shot lettering enamel, and some of the signs I painted then, like my house sign, are still in good shape now. I purchased a new can of black, cut the stencil out of adhesive vinyl, and stenciled one up. The paint was very sticky for this application, and though that works well for lettering it picked up my stencil and I had to be very careful of losing the edges in tiny areas, especially if I had text, which I had originally planned, and I had to use more paint than I expected. The paint is expensive, a little too expensive to use for this in order for me to be able to resell them for a reasonable cost. I put a little more thought into what was the next most weatherproof and durable paint and decided that would be porch and floor enamel, which is more fluid but easily applied, and very affordable for this project. Plus, it dries a lot faster, there are no toxic fumes, and cleans up with soap and water. That’s a win all around!
Designing the mat
Next was to work up one of the ideas I had, and I went with my favorite. You’ll see above that I had a line of text under the kitty, “SCRATCH YOUR CLAWS HERE!” Most of the doormats I see anywhere have text on them, and sometimes they’re all text. I’m all for designing something that people apparently want and I had several ideas like this one. But because of the sticky issue I described above with the paint, there was no way I could stencil the text. So I shared the mat without it just to get some feedback. And that’s what really surprised me—everyone I asked said they preferred it without the text! Well, that made my job that much easier. Nearly all my designs had text on them. I may still have one or two that have text, but I like just the kitty silhouettes I’ve worked up over the years. Let me know what you think in the comments below or send me an email, and as I work with these I’ll figure that out.
Where to purchase the mats
Mats are $15.00 each in person, $20.00 to with shipping. Because of the weight, 3.5 pounds each, I can’t offer any discounts for purchasing multiple mats. Click here to find them on www.PortraitsOfAnimals.net.
Maybe Mimi can have a new doormat to scratch on too!
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All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!