Man Cub's Car Mat

Feb 16, 2015

When each of my girls turned 2, I made them a raggy quilt out of fabric featuring their favourite Disney character of the moment. For Sunshine, it was a Finding Nemo quilt, for Beebs it was a Wally quilt. As Man Cub's second birthday approached, I knew exactly which character his quilt would be made from... all the friendly citizens of Radiator Springs.

The thing is- Man Cub hates blankets. Maybe "hates" is too strong a word, but he certainly doesn't like them, unless he is crawling into my bed in the morning and wants to "snuddle" me under my blanket. But in his bed, he refuses to sleep under any kind of blanket or covering. He also has no interest in using a pillow...

Knowing that Man Cub doesn't even like blankets, I started to doubt whether it was worth the effort of making him a Disney quilt for his second birthday, but I love the tradition of making my children something special at that age. Then I remembered a car mat I had seen at a friend's house. They had hand drawn and painted it on a thick piece of fabric and it literally covered the majority of their living room floor. It had a school and a church, their home, a grocery store and a park. It even had a football field and clock tower. They had personalized the entire thing and even now that their kids are grown, it is something they hang on to and pull out when little friends (like Man Cub!) come to visit.

I suggested to Bruce Wayne that perhaps we make Man Cub a car mat of his own, and maybe we could even model it after his favourite Disney movie? Bruce was all over this idea and was more than willing to put his awesome artistic talents to use to sketch out the initial design on a large painters drop cloth. Then he traced it all in permanent marker and passed the project on to me for painting.

I had an absolute ball painting the car mat. I took dozens of art classes in high school and college and use to do all sorts of artsy things, but as I got married and had children, those things took a back seat. Of course, I've still enjoyed photography and the occasional craft project here and there, but painting.... sigh. I had forgotten how much I enjoy painting. I put all my painting and colour theory classes to good use while painting Man Cub's car mat, as I carefully tried to match our project to a map of Cars Land from Disney's California Adventure. And I think the finished product turned out darn good!

We gave Man Cub the car mat at his birthday party and we have all enjoyed playing with it ever since. Beebs especially enjoys getting it out and parking all the Cars characters in their respective homes. I am still a little giddy each time the kiddos get it out to play with as I think about all the time and effort Bruce Wayne and I put into this gift. Hopefully it will be a gift that Man Cub treasures for many years to come.

Materials Used:
* A large painters drop cloth purchased at Home Depot
* Delta Ceramcoat acrylic paints
* cheap brushes! (The rough texture of the drop cloth destroys brushes! Don't use expensive ones)

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