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DIY Painted Foam Play Mat

2.27.2013

I pin a lot of things.  And I have grand plans to complete oh 85% of them.  But somehow that does not happen and my pins just sit there looking pretty on my boards.  Maybe even mocking me a little bit.

As part of the Pinterest challenge over at Young House Love, Bower Power, Decor and the Dog and The Remodeled Life I decided to change that.  I probably should have chosen a faster project, or at least one with less drying time.  But thanks to two blizzards and days off work, this one got done.

DIY Painted Foam Playmat

Carter needed a play mat for his playspace.  And it needed to be indestructible.  And easy to clean.  Not to mention attractive.  Finding nothing that fit the above criteria, I decided to DIY.  

I was inspired by this…

(originally posted at Design Sponge)

The basic how-to is pretty simple.  Buy a cheap foam play mat, prime the non-bumpy side and paint with acrylic paints.  Finally seal with a couple of coats of polyurethane.

Easy and quick if you decide to make a large scale design with a couple of colors.  Small triangles on the other hand took a while to paint.  Especially since it took multiple coats to achieve color saturation.

But it was easy to paint while I was watching TV and somewhat relaxing to do- triangle after triangle after triangle.

In order to draw out the design, I used my sewing cutting mat to make a template out of cardboard of a 60 degree angle.

I drew straight lines on the primed mat-

DIY foam mat

And then used the template to draw in the angles.  My triangles are approximately 5 inches.  I mismeasured at some point and my triangles got a little jacked up in the middle.  I figured out my mistake, but did not want to re-prime and re do all my lines so I decided to channel my inner Tim Gunn and “make it work”.

DIY foam mat

I did not use tape to paint the triangles with the acrylic paint, so my lines are not perfectly straight but I like it that way as I think it looks more hand-painted.  At least that is what I am telling myself because it would have taken forever to tape.

DIY foam mat

Three coats of gloss polyurethane later, we have this.

DIY Painted Foam Playmat

All ready to be played on.

 DIY Painted Foam Playmat

In the basement play space that almost gets no direct light for decent pictures.  Especially when there is two feet of snow outside covering the windows.

DIY Painted Foam Playmat

DIY Painted Foam Playmat

The play area has had some other projects go in it, but I waiting until everything was done to blog about the space.  The rug was the last one, so that should be coming up.

So how does it hold up?  It has not cured the complete 24 hours as instructed but has already held up to books being dropped on it and a rousing game of stacking and knocking down blocks.  Before the poly went on, it seemed like it would crack easily.  But with the poly it seems a lot more pliable.  I will keep you posted. For now it is a hit.

And I am not painting triangles for awhile.

13 comments on "DIY Painted Foam Play Mat"
  1. That is fun! I like the makeover you gave it

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  2. SO adorable! I love the way it turned out!

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  3. Wow, that is some triangle painting dedication! But, such a smart idea seeing how all playmats are hideous...

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  4. Cheers to you!

    We found a play mat like this during the Thrift Challenge, but I told my hub "no" as I didn't think it could be transformed.

    I'll be on the hunt for a mat in the future for Susanna, and who knows where it will lead.

    Thank you for showing me you can make something beautiful out of a play mat!

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  5. Wow - I have never seen any remotely good-looking playmat before and here yours is being completely beautiful!

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  6. I totally spotted this playmat in the Pinterest challenge and thought it looked so cool. And then I see it as you. So of course it's cool. I love how its channeling a quilt look and the colors are so fun. This is a project is like to try when Henry gets a little bigger.

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  7. wow..nice idea! this multicolored mat is looking cool.

    Forest Contract

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  8. It is so awesome! I have to check out the other projects now.

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  9. Hi there! Love your blog! I'm thinking about doing this project because we tiled our house, and now with a new baby, I don't have anywhere to put him down in the main living area. How does the paint hold up over time?

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    1. We have only had it about 2 months, so I cannot comment on long term wearability yet, but so far so good. It is an area that gets a lot of things dropped on it and I have been surprised it has not shown any dings. Even when a heavy metal dump truck has fallen from a shelf! Hope this helps!

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    2. Hi there! I just came across this blog as I'm trying to find a way to make a second hand play mat better looking. Did these mats hold up--i.e. did the paint stay on and stay looking nice?

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  10. Jenny, LOVE the playmat. How has it held up? I know you've been asked before, just thought I would ask for an update! Thank you for the idea :)

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