Completely OTT Car Mats

Is your car looking tired? Need some advice on how to keep your car in great shape? Into detailing and cleaning and want some advice on products. Then ask away in here.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Johnny 216GSi
Club Member
Posts: 2010
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:17 pm
Location: Birmingham - the home of Rover!

Completely OTT Car Mats

#1 Post by Johnny 216GSi » Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:09 am

I’ve moved from having some fundamental jobs done on the car to detailing, as a way of achieving some instant gratification and to spur me on to get the remainder done.

Decent / showy car mats was something I’d had in mind for a while, and with having the club’s discount reinstated with Unique (carmats4u.com) I had no excuse not to.

I decided to go for custom mats – Unique had provided me with the templates for their standard R8 mats but they were shorter in the foot-well area than the ones I’d had previously. These were also made by Unique some 20 years ago when I purchased the car, but most likely using templates supplied by the local Rover dealership.

I just marked around my original mats onto the back of some cheap Christmas wrapping paper, so the patterned side was the carpet side of the mats I wanted and their scanner would see the plain side of the paper. You have to then cut these out – which also allows you to confirm the fit in the car.

The scanning fee is £5 and I’d decided to go for their Platinum range of mats - the most expensive at £99 a set with an indulgent 2cm of carpet pile. The club discount takes 15% off the total price. They’d sent me a sample when I’d had the discount re-instated, which was grey with grey edging and white stitching. I liked the look of that combination so much, that’s what I went for. Here are the finished mats in the car:

Image

I’d thought about customisation. The sample I’d been sent allowed me to experiment with adding badges and I’d found a few on Ebay:

Image

From left to right, these are:

150 * 120mm jumbo badge, available from auto-unique:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Rover-Longshi ... 1260082034

80 * 65mm badge, also available from auto-unique:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Rover-Longshi ... 1260082990

80 * 65mm badge from PolyPillion:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MOTORSPORTS-R ... 1325284078

Smaller 75mm tall badge:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/75mm-ROVER-LO ... 1392161874

They’re all quite nicely done. The badge available from PolyPillion has the densest stitching and some really bright colours (although the smallest 75mm badge is brighter still). The two available from Auto-unique have deeper colouring, less-dense stitching and the font used for the “Rover” name isn’t strictly correct. But since their “jumbo” and “standard” badges are identical in every respect other than size, that’s what I went for on the premise I might be able to use the smaller ones for the rear mats and make use of the larger ones on the fronts.

I’d experimented with attaching the badges to the carpet mats using the sample I’d been provided. Unique will heat-weld badges onto their mats but generally only simple wording/lettering that isn’t copyrighted – not manufacturers names or car models. If you want this, you have to do it yourself. I basically ended up cutting/shaving the carpet pile down so the badge sat “in” the mat rather than on top of it, thereby achieving a similar embedded effect to having them heat-welded on. The good result I achieved on the sample confirmed this was the way to go:

Image

Image

So, to produce the mats, the first thing I did was to decide where the badges looked good. This can be done on the car and some measurements taken. Then the placement can be replicated indoors and some PVC tape added to mark the outline on the carpet pile, brushed straight:

Image

Image

With just the tape outline as above, cutting can begin. I used a scalpel with a brand new blade. Start by gripping a few fibres in the middle of the outline and cutting them off at their base. When you have a small bald spot, you can then swing the blade to scythe the remainder quite quickly. A fresh scalpel is the only knife sharp enough to allow you to do this.

Image

You need to check periodically that the marking tape hasn’t shifted whilst you were cutting, and stop very close to it, thusly:

Image

You can then try placing the badge in the hole. You should try brushing the carpet fibres outwards to maximise the opening you’ve created, and also folding the badge a little to make it fit. Once there’s evidence the badge can be forced into the hole without crushing too many fibres around the edge, you’re done.

Image

It should be evident if you offer up the badge that the finished holes you cut will still be undersized by a few millimetres all the way around if the carpet pile is brushed straight with your hand. Because folding the badge to get it to fit isn’t a good idea when the final adhesive is applied, you can open-out the hole by placing tape around its edges and pulling outwards before sticking down, to keep the fibres bent over. I did this with 2-inch wide packing tape:

Image

The tape I used to fix the badges to the carpet mats was made up of 3 layers. The middle layer was 2-inch wide double-sided GTPro foam tape about 1mm thick – which I’ve found to be the strongest padded tape known to man. Each side, I stuck on 2-inch wide double-sided carpet tape made by Tesa. Their “extra strong” variety is also the strongest I’ve found for material-to-material applications – once it’s on, it isn’t coming off…

To create enough tape area, I used PVC tape to hold together strips of the tape construction I’d made, applied to the carrier on each side:

Image

The cutting guide for these was just a paper template made by drawing round each badge. An inner line drawn free-hand inside each outline was used to reduce the pattern size by a couple of millimetres all the way around.

Image

These outlines were stuck to each tape assembly with a few pieces of PVC tape, then drawn around and removed so the tape could be cut.

Image

Getting close to finishing – the adhesive tape assemblies were stuck to the underside of each badge and the adhesive backing removed from the outer layer of Tesa carpet tape:

Image

Finally, the badges were stuck down into the pruned holes in the carpets with careful positioning. The packing tape I used to keep the fibres at the edges spread outwards was then removed and the pile brushed straight by hand, giving the finished effect:

Image

Passenger side all done:

Image

Driver’s side all done:

Image
Image

Rear mats all done:

Image
Image

And looking the part in the car:

Image
Image
Image
Last edited by Johnny 216GSi on Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:34 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Rover 216GSi K reg. Flame Red over Tempest Grey

Image Image

User avatar
1234dist
Club Member
Posts: 5560
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:08 pm
Location: Chapel of Dist, Manchester
Contact:

Re: Completely OTT Car Mats

#2 Post by 1234dist » Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:12 am

i agree OTT :laughing2

but i likes it :clapping
220 Coupe turbo K785OAT (issues :glare )
Rover Sport 220GTI m-series K56AEP
218 VVC Cabriolet R170FEU
220 GTI M-series J777RAL
75 2.0 CDT P80CJM
620 SLI P267LOM HONDA
420 GSI Turbo L191CVP

User avatar
Johnny 216GSi
Club Member
Posts: 2010
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:17 pm
Location: Birmingham - the home of Rover!

Re: Completely OTT Car Mats

#3 Post by Johnny 216GSi » Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:21 am

1234dist wrote:i agree OTT :laughing2

but i likes it :clapping
You know you want to have a go really... sky's the limit on how you can make them look. I've also found a few people who can do embroidered lettering on felt or sports fabric of literally any size. The club logo could go on, the words "R8 Series" could go on, etc. In the end, for me the simple badge design looked elegant enough.
Rover 216GSi K reg. Flame Red over Tempest Grey

Image Image

E_T_V
Technical Advisor
Posts: 3009
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:25 pm
Location: Scunthorpe
Contact:

Re: Completely OTT Car Mats

#4 Post by E_T_V » Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:50 pm

I'm liking the skills and perseverance that went into that!

User avatar
Johnny 216GSi
Club Member
Posts: 2010
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:17 pm
Location: Birmingham - the home of Rover!

Re: Completely OTT Car Mats

#5 Post by Johnny 216GSi » Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:15 pm

E_T_V wrote:I'm liking the skills and perseverance that went into that!
Took a day I reckon :blink but I did it in stages, popping out to the car to do some badge placement and pondering one night, firming up on measurements the next, etc.

I only discovered the scything technique on the second badge - doing it the slow way (grabbing fibres between the thumb and forefinger and sawing them off at the base with a knife) takes forever.

I probably spent as long building that 3-layer tape and cutting it as I did pruning the carpet holes. To be honest, if I'd gone for the lighter-weight carpet, I wouldn't have to of worried so much about building up the height of the badge underneath and could have probably got away with a few strips of carpet tape alone. But at least the Platinum mats I bought come with a lifetime guarantee. Bit like the R8, really...

My desire to use the large badges on the fronts kind of precluded getting some wording on there because it would have had to be huge lettering to be in proportion. Another idea I had was to replicate the mat layout of the official Rover ones, possibly using "R8 series" rather than "200 series" (but not sure) as the lettering and using one of the colourful smaller badges where the gold-embroidered Rover one was on the originals. They'd look even better than the originals do, and you could still do the same on the passenger side and the rears rather than just giving the driver the benefit of the branding...

I'd had this mat customisation in mind for months if I'm honest - I'm just getting round to doing a long, long list of things I wanted to achieve on the car.
Rover 216GSi K reg. Flame Red over Tempest Grey

Image Image

Post Reply