how i made a doormat with those straw trivets

you know the ones i mean.

straw trivet

a few weeks ago, i was wandering around the ‘net and came across a cool wall hanging made entirely of straw trivets. what would make this story better is if i had a link to share with you, but i can not for the life of me find it now!* i tried googling “straw trivets doormat” and similar searches and got no hits. basically, they had taken old straw trivets and somehow strung them together and hung them on the wall. picture it in your mind, it was pretty cool. and it stuck in my mind for days

* i need a better way to keep track of cool things i come across. bookmarking isn’t cutting it. suggestions? tumblr?

now, i really dislike visual clutter, especially on my walls. i wouldn’t say i’m a minimalist by any means, but i do like bare walls with the occasional piece of carefully chosen artwork.  (actually, don’t you find that art chooses you? but more on that another time…)

so i started wondering if i could take that idea and put it to use elsewhere. i like the colours and swirls found in these old trivets, there’s something intriguing and pleasing about the patterns.

straw trivet detail

i got a bagful of them the other day, and thought about how to connect them together.

bag of trivets from thrift store

i figured i could sew them together with clear plastic thread. but decided against that and tried to keep it a bit simpler and closer to the “natural” materials used in the trivets by using raffia instead.

clear thread versus raffia twine

raffia is made from the membrane found on the underside of palm tree leaves. there are so many uses for it, and i keep a spool of it in my kitchen drawer. you might remember it was used as a decoration on that card, as well as to tie up those herbs.

i cut the raffia into 5 inch (about 13 cm) strips, roughly.

cut raffia into strips using scissors

now the next part is either fun or torture, depending on how much you enjoy things like jigsaw puzzles. i moved the trivets around until they were in position next to each other, ideally touching each neighbouring trivet in one or more spots, while minimizing the gap between them.

basically, shift em around til you’re happy with the layout, making sure they’re all touching, then start tying them together right where they lay.

i slipped the piece of raffia through a loop in one trivet,

slipping raffia through spaces in straw trivet

brought it up through the neighbouring trivet, and tied a knot. i did this for the entire collection, until i ended up with this:

straw trivets tied together with raffia

i trimmed the loose ends down to about 2 inches (5 cm) each, then used my fingers to push the tail ends of each knot within the spaces of the trivet.  so it looked something like this for each tie:

tucked in ends of raffia

and that’s it. i flipped the whole thing over, and i had this funky looking floor mat.

trivet floor mat in kitchen

i considered using it in the kitchen, but the straw is a bit rough on bare feet. so i put it out back on the patio and i’m using it as a doormat.

doormat made out of trivets

i like it so much. the colours, the patterns, everything. fun, easy project which is totally functional. now if you’re concerned about how it will feel under foot or worried that it may not last, the same construction method can be used to create a decorative wall hanging, placemats, table runner, a mat for underneath plant pots or pet dishes or… do you have any other ideas?

what do you think? will you give this a try? if you do, let me know how it turns out. i’d love to see photos!

doormat made from straw trivets

update!

i found the link that got me started on this project. turns out it wasn’t a trivet at all, just sisal rope used to make a similar design!  it’s funny how your mind makes connections, fills in the gaps, and that becomes your reality. huh! :)

update #2! july 30, 2010

today, this project was featured on craft gossip (thank you!) and i thought i’d give an update on how it’s holding up now, almost a month later. we’re in and out of that doorway constantly, and it has held together well. one thing i would recommend is placing one of those rubber underpads (you can find them in the dollar store, the kind used to line drawers and such). depending on the surface you’ve placed the mat on, it can be slippery.  craft safely ;-) and have fun with this one!

i shared this post with sarah and her readers at thrifty decor chick.

and also apron thrift girl’s new feature, make share!

© imadeitso, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to ana at imadeitso.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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56 Responses to how i made a doormat with those straw trivets

  1. Alison says:

    Wow, that looks fantastic.

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  3. Shannon says:

    LOVE that! I want to make one someday. Where did you get the trivets?

  4. Nancy S says:

    Very cool! I’ve been trying to think of something other than a wallhanging…I didn’t want to use mine for that either. Just couldn’t picture it hanging on a wall somehow. I think I’ll try it but it may be awhile before I’ll get to it. Keep me posted on durability- I’m curious to see if they hold up.

    • iMadeItSo says:

      i’m curious about durability too. i had expected the straw to give under the weight when standing on it, but it doesn’t. i kept the more compact trivets in the center, now that i look it, and the curly bits out to the edges. i’ll take another photo a while from now after it has gotten plenty of use… we’ll see how long it lasts :)

  5. Well, that’s clever! And it looks great. Love how you took the initial idea and made it your own–even though you didn’t realize it! :-)

  6. Corey says:

    It is GORGEOUS! What a beautiful little collection of trivets.

  7. ~*~Patty says:

    Brilliant Ana … looks super! Don’t make me start collecting trivets heehee!
    That really is one fine trivet collection, repurposing at its finest.
    I’m off to check out your links
    oxo

    • iMadeItSo says:

      hehe! c’mon, you know you want to! actually, i had never bought these before now. i’d always see them, be drawn towards them, stare at them, maybe even hold them for a sec. but put i always them back. i couldn’t justify buying them. but now i can. anyone need an area rug? ;)

  8. Halima says:

    This is such a great idea! I see trivets like these at the thirft often and never buy them. It turned out beautifully, the designs and colors, it looks as though it had been made that way. You’ve got my creative buzz going – I will have to try this too!

  9. ZebraBelly says:

    I’ve always loved your projects here, Ana, but this one might be my favorite. Really gorgeous! (And I could use a new doormat….) And your photos are perfect, too. Love the angles. Thanks for sharing!

  10. dogsmom says:

    Very cute idea – and now you know it is all your own.
    I too am not the organized person I could dream of being. I started with bookmarks, then went to desktop icons, began blogging and now have a sidebar full of places I love to visit. All I could suggest is keep at least 2 days history of sites visited. I go in and delete a couple times a week. At least it is a start.
    Right now I am working hard to make a memes link page and have added some favorite home tour links and party links there as well. (As if I have time to revisit my favorites.) I am hoping this will work and inspire me.

  11. Tayla B. says:

    This is pretty awesome! I would love to do something like that on my walls like you were talking about. I don’t like a whole lot of clutter either but my walls are still completly bare and we have lived there for almost a year! Now, I just need to find some straw trivets… hmmm….

    • iMadeItSo says:

      have fun. it reminds me of a quotation from one of my favourite writers, that nothing inspires her with more terror than an empty page. i think the same may be true with decorating and putting things up on the wall. a blank space can be intimidating, but once you get going, it can be a lot of fun. enjoy the process… and thanks for dropping by.

  12. I have a bunch of these trivets and am going to try this–I love how it looks!

  13. Tara Benwell says:

    That is brilliant. You amaze me. My doormat is sickly. It used to be a pretty green colour with white daisies and a green background. My friends and family thought I was crazy when I was in search of the perfect doormat last summer. (Found it in Stratford). I don’t want to throw it out because it’s still serves its purpose, but I could use a crafty idea for bringing it back back to life. It’s one of those heavy hay-like ones (I’m sure there’s a name for these mats). The design is still in the background and I could probably trace it on again, but what kind of paint do I use that is safe and won’t get tracked indoors? Or, do you have another crafty idea for bringing it back to life. I know you do!
    PS-Have you tried delicious for bookmarking? It’s really easy and a great way to share good finds.

  14. Annie says:

    i LOVE it!!!!!!!!! what a brilliant idea, lucky you to find so many!

  15. sarah m. says:

    this is lovely! it resembles something you’d find for an enormous price at anthropologie. LOVE love it.

    • iMadeItSo says:

      thanks sarah! i keep hearing about anthropologie lately, but i have never been there. i looked it up online though, lots of nice things (and i see what you mean about the price!) :)

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  17. Annalisa says:

    troppo bello!!!

  18. Corey says:

    Picked up my first four of these at a yard sale this weekend. Have never seen them around here but I am hopeful and patient now to maybe find more. :D

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  20. Barbra says:

    Positively brilliant….out I go to look for some!

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  22. Whitney says:

    I think I’m in love. Truly beautiful.

  23. jess says:

    i love this! its wonderful.

  24. gaea bailey says:

    I’m heartbroken. I collect old woven straw trivets and to see these used in a way that they become ephemeral hurts. I use my trivets as decor around the top header of my kitchen above the cabinets. They are seperated by sets of different kinds of spoons that I have collected (wooden ones especially). They add color and are a reminder of the past. I can understand if you got these new from a store how you could use them but they are so beautiful that I wouldn’t want them subject to weather or foot abuse. They will eventually disintegrate. Lovely mat though.

    • iMadeItSo says:

      hi gaea, i’m sorry you are heartbroken and that you’re hurt. for anyone who knows me, i think i am very respectful of the past and if you look around my house, there’s very little that is “ephemeral”…i’m hardly one to catch onto the latest fashion and exploit it as a passing fancy. these trivets were bought second-hand, and if you could see some of them closely, you’d notice burn marks and grease spots from years of use. they were sitting bundled in a plastic bag, and i passed by them untouched for a number of weeks before deciding to turn them into something “new”. as i worked with each one, i wondered about who had used them, what meals they’d prepared, what their lives were like. but i’m like that with any object from the past, as i mention in my “about me” page. true, perhaps a collector such as yourself would have found them and made better use of them and given them the respect you feel they deserve. and with all that being said, in all honesty, i think i’d feel a little like you if someone had taken something i collect and cherish…say a favourite dish…and smashed it to pieces to use as jewelry findings and such. so…thanks for sharing your perspective.

      editing to add: this would work great on the wall, indoors, on countertops and tables, under indoor plants, etc etc. i’m sure anyone who makes this can find a use for it that suits their own personal esthetic :)

  25. I love it! This is about as far from “ephemeral” as you can get in my opinion…you are taking something and extending it’s life by giving it new purpose! Trivets are made for abuse…to take the heat of scorching hot pots. They are designed for this purpose…however, your new mat actually will take LESS abuse, and they now will be admired every day rather than being stuffed in a drawer, only to be covered up by a hot pot when out on the table. Very cool. I agree, this would be awesome hanging on a wall too. You could even take an empty frame to hang around it and make it look more like wall art. I’ll definitely be posting a link to your post on my blog this week! :-)

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  27. Van says:

    LOVE this idea, I really need a door mat and have been looking for ways to make one instead of buy one. I’ll be on the look out for these went I thrift so I have something at my door :)

  28. What a wonderful idea. We use that kind of trivet still for our hot dishes, but I love the idea of creating something else from such pretty things. I do think this would make a great piece of wall art too.

  29. its really nice…great

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  32. Esmee says:

    What a lovely idea!
    * You could maybe use pinterest.com. Its for ‘pinning’ images that automatically have a link to where you found them. It’s how I found your site :)
    At the moment it’s invitation-only, but there is a link to request one on the site, or I could send you one.

  33. Nicky says:

    What a clever idea for these!!! I was just about to sell a set of three of them in my Etsy shop and wanted to know what people were calling them! :D Through internet browsing I came across your cute blog!

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  36. Shelia says:

    updated web
    Thanks, I do machine embroidery.

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  38. How do you clean it? Does it make a difference in the life of the mat?

    • imadeitso says:

      dry sweeping and a gentle shake out is best. it’s true, it will deteriorate over time, moreso if it is used often in areas of high traffic and if left exposed to the elements. others who have similar concerns chose to make it and use it as a decorative placemat or wall hanging.

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