Tatami mats are traditional Japanese floor mats made from woven straw. Traditionally, they were used in homes and temples to cover the dirt floors during special occasions. Still, today they are mainly used for decoration or as a surface that’s easier to clean than carpeting. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to make a tatami mat!
In Japan, home builders sometimes include an area of tatami mats in their houses by removing some of the wood floorings. This is called shouji which means paper door. It’s intended to create a more elegant space using natural materials like plants or bamboo instead of paper screens.
The key to making a tatami mat is the different types of grasses used. The most common materials for Tatami are wheat straw, rice straw, and bamboo. Wheat straw is the softest type of straw, while rice straw has an upright fiber pattern.
Step to Follow on How to Make a Tatami Mat
Step One: Planning
Take a look at how many mats you want to make, and measure the length of your finished mat. I would suggest allowing an extra inch on each side for the binding strip. Then multiply this number by two for two long sides and three for all four edges of the Tatami.
Add more if you want to make a thicker mat the more layers, the better compression and resilience. I used a half-inch thick mat, and my measurements were a little less than a foot wide by slightly over a foot long for each mat.
Step Two: Cutting the Mats
Lay the mat down on a flat surface and trace around it with a marker or pencil. The easiest way to cut mats is to use a box cutter but work slowly and carefully. If you have nice tools for this kind of thing, cut them out using those.
When cutting the mats, sew two pieces together roughly an inch or so smaller on all sides; this will cause the Tatami to be slightly compressed when rolled up due to the small gap between the two mats. However, it helps them fit better in a mat bag and also makes for a tighter roll.
Step Three: Rolling the Mats
Using a sewing machine will sew much easier if you baste each edge with strong thread, then run it through the machine. Next, roll up your mats in sets of four or six, depending on how big your mat bag is. Tie them together in groups, so they don’t come undone in storage or transit.
And then sew a strap on them to keep them from shifting around in your bag. Then sew the other end of the strap to itself and cut off excess thread. The full mat can be rolled from either direction, but it is easiest to roll from the short edge. The final product should look something like this:
Step Four: Finishing Touches
Once sewn, I wrapped a strip of black cloth around each end and tied a small knot in it to keep it from unraveling. Now that you’ve made your Tatami, all that’s left is to roll them up in a mat bag. Many places sell cheaper ones than is necessary, so feel free to buy one there if the extra cost doesn’t bother you.
I bought mine for five dollars at my local Japanese grocery store, and it’s far better than the one I purchased online. Just like that, you’ve got yourself a brand new tatami mat! With minimal materials and equipment and minimal time, the average person can make themselves a simple tatami mat. This will help in how to make a tatami mat.
Step Five: Take Care of Your New Tatami Mat
Tatami mats are porous, and they will absorb liquids, so be careful with what you clean them with. I use plain water to clean mine, but some people like to buy special cleaners for their tatami mat floors. If you end up spilling something on your mat, try to wipe it off before it soaks in.
Measures can also be taken to make the mat impervious to liquids if you like. Maintenance is easy, brush them off or vacuum them occasionally and they should stay looking new for a long time. To do this, remove your Tatami from the bag it came in, spread it out on the floor, and then vacuum or brush off the dust.
Step Six: Store and Transport
Tatami mats do much better when they’re rolled up. So if you aren’t using your carpet right now, don’t leave it out. Instead, roll the mats back up in their bag and store them somewhere dry and cool where nothing can spill on them. If treated well, Tatami will keep for a long time, but eventually, they will dry out or go stale.
You can revive them by leaving them rolled up in your mat bag for several days when this happens. This will draw moisture back into the Tatami and freshen them up, but be careful of mold growth if you do things like leave them stored in a humid basement. If mold does grow on your mat, brush it off with a dry cloth, or use a vacuum cleaner to clean the affected areas.
If this doesn’t get rid of the mold, try washing it with warm water and soap. Just make sure you get all of that soap residue out before you roll them up again, or they will go stale faster! Tatami mats are very easy to make and maintain.
What Is a Tatami Mat Made of?
Making a tatami mat is simple. All you need is the rice straw, wheat straw, or reed and a weaving loom to weave it into the desired size and shape. Thicker mats are used for outdoor use, while thinner ones serve as decoration inside the house. The foundation of our discussion will be on how to make a tatami mat.
Tatami mats are made of rice straw or reed, which are later woven together using a loom. It is a traditional Japanese craft that has been traced back to the Kamakura period. Tatami mats are primarily used as flooring materials with tea rooms, dining rooms, meditation areas, and genkan the entryway before entering the house being primarily tatami-matted floors.
Can I Put Furniture on Tatami Mats?
It would help if you did not use tatami mats as flooring for activities that require a hard floor surface because they are only half an inch thick. Instead, they are meant to be used as cushioning material, serving the dual purpose of increasing comfort while keeping your floors safe from scratches caused by furniture legs.
The combination of tatami mats and hardwood floors can also result in furniture slipping, so it is best to use them as bed mats or tatami mats for sitting only. If you prefer tatami mats as flooring, try putting them over a thick carpet for extra cushion.
We’ve provided a few helpful tips for those looking to make your tatami mat in this blog. We hope these pointers will help you as you embark on the process and that they’ll provide some ideas about how to customize your mats as well!
If tinkering with materials sounds like fun or if you’re just curious to see what other people have done – feel free to browse our gallery page, where we showcase many other examples from around the world. In comparison, this article was mainly about how to make a tatami mat.
You may read it also – How to Clean Tatami Mats.