I love Roy G Biv! If the name makes you smile or sounds only vaguely familiar it’s because Roy is not a person, it’s the acronym for the visible color spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Summer is the perfect time to celebrate the colors of the rainbow while offering a cheery greeting to visitors via your welcome mat. The Riverside ReStore recently picked up a donation from a local carpet store. They were updating their product line which meant the old sample boards were obsolete and perfect for repurposing!

Donated carpet samples

Donated carpet samples.

Each sample board represented a color scheme and contained approximately 40 different, yet complementary, carpet shades. The boards had names like Plymouth Coast and Enchanted Castle and individual sample names like Peacock Plume. At $1 a piece these boards begged to be repurposed! I know we’ve all seen larger samples upcycled into gorgeous area rugs and runners, but I had a different idea.

Carpet samples, before

Carpet samples, before.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • carpet samples (book or swags) Note: see below to learn where to find.
  • menu display OR wooden tray or frame (without the glass)
  • putty knife, trowel, flat-head screwdriver OR blunt knife
  • exacto knife or sharp scissors
  • carpet adhesive OR upholstery tacks
  • breathing mask

Here’s what you do:

Choosing boards and deciding which colors to feature was more difficult than I anticipated. I suppose such design dilemmas are what come from being spoiled with choice. I was busy debating between two boards when I realized that they were exactly the same colors but their fibers were so different that it completely changed their appearance. I decided to exploit this by finding similar colors which drew attention to the varied textures of the carpets. Left: a very short grain with a checkered pattern, Middle: a long shaggy fiber, Right: typical medium fluff.

Carpet sample removal

Carpet sample removal.

Each individual swatch is glued (all too effectively) to the board, and removing them by hand really starts to hurt your fingers. So I grabbed an old putty knife which worked splendidly. I simply love the right tool for the job! I would think a trowel, flat headed screw driver or blunt butter knife might also do the trick. Remember to always apply force away from your body and to also wear eye protection.

Menu display, the base for our project

Menu display, the base for our project.

Once a menu display, this ReStore find was only $5 and would make the perfect border for my welcome mat. Other options include substituting a wooden serving tray or large frame without the glass. Also pictured is the bane of any pet owner’s existence and the very inspiration for this RePurpose project – the foxtail. This insidious weed imbeds itself in the paws and snouts of our furry friends, often resulting in scary and expensive visits to the Vet’s office. But back to pretty rainbows…

Creating a pattern

Creating a pattern.

There are as many design variations as there are colors in the spectrum. You might choose to alter the samples’ shapes or arrange them in a checkerboard or chevron pattern. Be warned that the carpet’s backing makes them very difficult and messy to cut. My frame happened to fit three down and twelve across perfectly, so I went with it. However, I alternated textures so it gives a rolling effect. Affixing the carpet samples to the inside of the frame was simple enough. Depending on your frame and base, you might use carpet adhesive or upholstery tacks for a riveted appearance. Whichever you choose be sure to wear eye protection and work in a well ventilated area, preferably outdoors. With regards to the base, you will want to make sure it is slip-proof. I created traction by affixing a liner to the underside using remnants of rubber shelf liner which provided considerable grip and traction. Other options might include area rug non slip pads or rubberized feet used under tabletop glass.

Carpet sample welcome mat, after

Carpet sample welcome mat, after.

Why a welcome mat at your garden gate you might ask? Well, remember those insidious foxtails? They love carpet, so we wouldn’t want it in our home but we love it as a welcome mat! A colorful sentinel protecting our fury friends, this welcome mat is both functional and fashionable.

Tip: contact your local home improvement stores or carpet and flooring shops to ask if they have any outdated (or “dropped”) books or samples they’d be willing to give you. Keep trying back, as they will go out of style at some point. Try also looking through DiggersList’s carpet listings…go ahead, dig around!

All photos and repurposing idea courtesy of our friends at:

For more information please email our repurpose team at [email protected]

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