The bamboo mat is a beautiful, durable type of mat or rug made from sustainable bamboo strings or strips intertwined together. It can be used in many ways at home: as modern decor, as a floor mat, as a cover for furniture, and for other interior design purposes.
Bamboo is a widely used material that is praised for its sustainability and durability. People living in these more ecologically aware times are finding increasing uses for bamboo due to its ability to grow prolifically and therefore serve as a substitute for wood from old growth forests, or for other textiles that are not as sustainable.
There are many uses for bamboo mats, like the bamboo chair mat, which is used to make the seat and backrest of a chair more flexible and comfortable. Bamboo floor mats, are used to make sitting or lying on the floor more comfortable.
Probably one of the most popular versions of the bamboo mat is the bamboo bath mat. These mats are durable and water-resistant.
While some bamboo mats are conventional and plain, others are created in artistic patterns, using varying strips of dyed or stained bamboo strips. Handcrafting artisans in Asian countries are well known for creating artful bamboo mats using this practice, which would serve as a great conversation piece wherever it is placed.
Making a bamboo mat has five main steps. The first one involves the processing of raw bamboo sticks into fine strips. This is done by removing the bamboo crust, smoothing the edges and sectioning the bamboo into slivers. The slivers are then separated and sliced into thin layers before tearing each layer apart to make strips.
Next, the strips are sent for machine striping. This is done inside a workshop using mechanical methods, where the operator moves a wheel with a blade by stepping on the pedal. The strips are passed through the machine to create custom cut strips of bamboo.
Many bamboo mats are made from bleached bamboo strips. This step involves chemically or naturally bleaching the material to remove stains or imperfections. The unfortunate side effect here is that bleaching is less than ecologically ideal.
Once the bamboo strips are prepared, it’s time to weave them into bamboo mats. This process entails preparing a jig, usually with a standard of 45 cm by 45 cm, leaving an extra 1.5 cm on each edge to allow for finishing of the borders. A standard mat is made by holding nine strips running parallel with each other and then inserting each perpendicular strip one by one through them.
This is where quality craftsmanship stands out. The more complicated and artistic pieces use different strips of varying sizes and colors, which are woven in unconventional patterns.
After the job is finished, the completed bamboo mat is cut from the jig. In the final finishing, the edges are trimmed and woven together, or covered with a fabric border. The bamboo is brushed to improve its softness and durability before sending the mat for quality inspection.
That’s about all there is to know about bamboo mats, which have been a staple in home decorating for hundreds of years. From the antique to the modern look, there is sure to be a use for this versatile material in your home.