• hamillwhitney


'Tis the season to be scary!

I don't know about you but as soon as fall vibes hit the air and the holidays are around the corner I get a major crafting itch.

Decorating is always what gets me in the Halloween spirit, so what better way to kick off this season of scaring with a cute Halloween decor DIY?

I am no queen DIY-er so when I say "if I can do this, then you can do it", I mean it.

With that in mind, here's a quick tutorial to add some homemade spook to your Halloween decor. 👻


Before starting you will want to pick out what phrase and/or image you want on your doormat.

This was my inspiration, but there was absolutely no way I would spend $43.00 plus shipping on something I could make myself for $10-$15 (depending on what supplies you already have on hand)

I recommend choosing something relatively simple and short (a lesson I learned the hard way last Christmas).

[I also recommend getting yourself a spouse, friend, or family member who loves you enough to help you with the tedious parts of DIYing.]

If you need some help getting your creative juices flowing, here are a few ideas of things to put on your Halloween-themed Welcome Mat:

"Hey, Boo" (with or without a ghost)

"Witch Please" (with or without a broom)

"Trick or Treat" (with simplified versions of the Charlie Brown gang's costumes or other Halloween characters)

"This is Halloween" (with any of Nightmare Before Christmas characters)

"Just a bunch of Hocus Pocus" (with a witch hat)

"The Neighbors Have Better Candy"

"We Don't Say Bleh-bleh-bleh" (with a Drac silhouette) - this is the one I will probably would have made had I thought of it sooner. (S/O to my toddler for watching Hotel Transylvania 2 this Afternoon)

Those are just a few but there are seriously so many other ideas out there. You can also make your own little tweaks and add your own designs to make it more one of a kind, or come up with something totally your own- whatever spooks your fancy. That's the fun of this project - it is 100% customizable!

Once you've decided what to put on your mat, you'll need to type (or draw if you're talented like that) out a template. I used Google Docs because they have lots of options for free fonts but any writer document program will work.

You'll need to hitch up the font size pretty large for this for it to look right and to make it easy to trace and cut. I think I did size 300 font for this mat but you can play around with it. Since the phrase I chose was rather short, I went pretty big with my font, you may need to size down from 300 depending on the length of yours. Also keep in mind that bolder, basic fonts are going to be MUCH easier to trace and paint than a thin, script font will be. Do what you please, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Once you have it to your liking, print it out and gather your materials.


  • A blank coir or other mat. I HIGHLY recommend this one - it's the perfect size and color plus it's under $10 🙌

  • Clear/transparent contact paper. You can find this at pretty much any store and any brand will do, but this is basically what you are looking for. (You just need to be able to see through it for tracing).

  • A sharpie or other dark marker that doesn't smear easily.

  • Acrylic paint. (I personally didn't go fancy with mine but some people will recommend using special outdoor paint. Regular old acrylic craft paint worked fabulous for me, but you do you.)

  • Paintbrushes. I recommend using really cheap ones you don't care about because the rough texture of the outdoor mat will trash your brush of choice. I used these ones because they are what I had on hand and they worked well.

  • An X-ACTO knife or any precision cutting tool (we just used the utility knife from our basic toolkit and it worked just like an X-ACTO would)

  • Cardboard or some other surface to cut safely on top of

  • Sewing pins or thumbtacks (optional, but recommended)

  • Ruler or measuring tape (for centering/mapping your layout)

  • Spray sealant (optional)

And that's it! See - so simple!


As my two year old would say: "Let's do this thing!"

(forgive my pictures in advance, I am no photographer)


1. You will want to use your marker to trace your phrase and/or image(s) onto the contact paper. (You can use tape to secure your phrase if it helps you keep it from moving with you as you trace.)

2. After you trace out your design, you'll want to cut it out of the contact paper using your precision cutting tool. Go slowly and carefully so you don't cut yourself and/or mess up your work. I cut mine out on some cardboard so as not to scratch our table. This is what you should be left with:

3. After you've cut out all of your design you can use scissors to trim up the edges of the contact paper if you want. This just gives you a better idea when you are laying out your design without a bunch of extra blank space between words or images from the excess contact paper. You do want to leave some edge though, which I will explain in later steps, so DON'T cut it all the way up to the edge of your design.

4. Next you'll want to lay out your design as you want it to appear on the mat. This step is totally up to you and how you want it to look. You can center it, put it in the bottom left corner, whatever your heart desires. This is were a measuring tool can be helpful (especially if you're anything like me and struggle with straight lines...)

5. After you've got it layed out how you want, I find it extremely helpful to use sewing pins to pin it all in place before painting. You can peel the back off the contact paper and try sticking it to the mat but I found that the paper quickly loses its adhesive due to the rough texture of the coir mat. This is the reason you'll want to leave at least some edge around the design after you cut it out.

6. Now it's time to get painting. This is your mat and you can do with it what you will, but keep it mind not all colors are going to look as great on this canvas. Black definitely stands out best.

Initially I was using a cheap sponge brush to dab the paint on but I found that 1) it was too bulky and didn't give me a whole lot of precision and 2) it didn't get paint below the very surface of the rough mat. After some trial and error, I found using small paintbrushes with thick globs of paint (but not so thick that they will drip when you pick up your brush and drag it over the mat), and blotting the paint into your design is what worked best for me. That way you can be precise and get the paint deeper into the mat, therefore making the design harder to wear off as time goes on.

When you remove the paper it should look something like this:

If you want to do a small design (like the ghosts we did here), you'll probably not want anything too intricate since you will mostly have to free hand the details and it's hard to get any really tiny details to show up.

And that's it! You should have a finished product that roughly resembles whatever it was you saw on Pinterest/in your mind (hopefully).

9. Spray with a sealant if you are worried about it holding up outdoors. I decided to forego this step because we don't get a lot of foot traffic at our front door and this will only be outside for 4 weeks of the year, but if it gives you peace of mind, go for it!

You will want to give the paint a couple of days to dry before using your mat/placing it out in the elements.

That's it! 9 easy steps.

Now grab some cider, a cozy blanket, and stand weirdly in front of your door enjoying your amazing, festive creation that looks like you worked much harder on it than you really did (or like you spent $43 on at West Elm)

And the best thing about this? You can change it up with each holiday or season. There's no limit to the possibilities. Best of all, you won't see it at every other house around the neighborhood #targetculturesyndrome #amiright ?

What do you think? Are you going to make this your next DIY?