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DIY Outdoor crafting mats
Nationwide lockdowns have seen many individuals get back to basics, often picking up DIY tasks and crafting activities to keep both themselves and children entertained. If you’re keen to join in on these activities but want to minimise the mess generated within the home, you may consider an outdoor crafting mat that is suitable for such activities.
First, assess the type of mat you wish to create. For some activities, such as those that are paper based and rely on gluing or precise neat painting, it’s worth considering a thinner mat. These can still be made using foam to achieve a degree of comfort but will not compromise on the stability of its working surface. For example, these types of activities are best suited to a mat that is an inch or so thick and is made from a very high-density polyurethane foam that can retain its shape under pressure. For children’s mats and for less intensive crafting activities that do not demand precision accuracy, we’d recommend a slightly thicker foam cut to be used for optimum comfort and for the safety of a child – preferably between 2 to 3 inches.
We always recommend making your decision as per your intended activity type, rather than what feels most comfortable to sit on. As described above, foams that are more rigid and supportive include severe density and high-density foams. For children’s activities, Reflex superior foams and memory foams are most appropriate given their softer nature – perfect for craft mats placed on patio paving. Should your mat be used for water-based activities and liquid crafts, or is to be permanently based outside, you may wish to improve its waterproof qualities by selecting a water-resistant foam such as Plastazote closed-cell foam. More detailed information on eFoam’s foam types is available here.
When selecting your cover material, an outdoor mat is best suited to a PVC fabric similar to that used on baby changing mats and tablecloths. However, if it is to be used on dry grass, or you have an alternative material in mind for a purely aesthetic purpose, a tougher material such as a heavy weighted cotton is an option.
Next, decide on the size of your mat. You may want a simple flat sheet style mat for a smaller outdoor space such as a patio, or a larger patchwork-style mat that is suitable for larger spaces and can be attached together with Velcro strips. For a single block mat, we’d recommend 1m x 1m, however, for children’s activities we’d recommend a larger option – perhaps 2m x 2m or 3m x 3m. This depends on personal preference, and whether this mat will also double up as a generic outdoor play mat. For a Velcro mat made up of individual squares, we’d recommend 0.5m x 0.5m foam squares, multiplied by the number you desire (which will then, in turn, estimate your total mat size).
After ordering your foam cut to size using eFoam’s easy to use website, prepare your material by adding one inch to the original measurements recorded for your foam inserts. Attach a small zip fastening to one side of your DIY mat. If you have opted for Velcro mats, use either a zip fastening to enclose your foam inserts or stitch them together entirely before attaching a Velcro component. However, only do this if you are certain that you will not need to remove the outer fabric for any reason!
For more guidance on creating a DIY outdoor mat, please contact us.