Easy and convenient, the float mat eliminates the need for a number of different inflatables. They’re also made to be pretty big, so they can accommodate several people at a given time. But since float mats aren’t always that cheap, you might be able to cut down the cost by making your own DIY float mat. Here’s how to make a floating pad.
Buying a Float Mat
For the record - there are people who have managed to make their own float mat without a hitch. But if you’re not too confident in your DIY skills, or if you’re using your float mat for children or people who don’t know how to swim, then you might want to buy one instead to guarantee their safety.
If you decide to buy instead of making one on your own, there are lots of reliable options to choose from. The Rubber Dockie Floating Mat has earned quite a lot of reviews for its durable performance, tear stop technology, and its impressive size at up to 18 by 9 feet.
The Float Daddy brand has almost become synonymous with float mats, offering their 3-Ply Foam Lake Swim Mat to those who want something that will last. Their mats are built to withstand UV damage, and feature reinforced poly layer material that keeps everything as good as new even after months of use.
Finally, the Aqua Large Ultimate Floating Mat is another viable choice, with a weight rating of up to 500 pounds for a single mat. Keep in mind though that this one is an inflatable float mat, so while it does the same thing as the previous options, setting it up might not be as effortless as simply rolling it out.
How to Make a DIY Float Mat
Again, buying a mat can be expensive. And since they’re basically just foam with D-rings, you might be able to make your own with a few materials you can buy at your local hardware store. So if you’re a little more confident that you can make a mat that actually works, you can try the following steps:
Choose your Foam
Just to be clear, almost all sorts of foam will float. But you’ll want something that can resist the kind of damage you can expect from water and sun exposure. That said, you might have a good chance getting cross-linked polyethylene foam to work.
Although some hardware stores might sell them, and although you might be able to find the stuff on online, they’re typically sold in small cut up tiles. To get one big sheet, you’re going to have to visit an industrial foam supplier.
Looking into the foam mats available online, you’ll notice that they’re at least 1.5 inches thick, so that would be a good thickness to follow. In terms of size, it’s really up to you. You can buy enough foam material to make lots of single person float mats, or you can buy something a little bigger to accommodate more people.
Keep in mind though that it should still be just the right size so you can roll it up and pack it away for transport. Anything that’s too big might become a logistics problem.
Attach Grommets or Links
If you’re planning on using your float mat in a pool, then you can probably skip this step. But for the sake of safety, you’re going to want to punch in a hole so you can fix a grommet to the material. This should let you anchor the mat in place once it’s deployed.
Store bought float mats come with a D-ring that users can tie to a bungee cord to keep the mat near their boat or the dock. Be careful how you attach it though. As the mat moves and tugs at the cord, the hole can be pulled and ripped. That said, it might be ideal to attach some sort of grommet to protect the foam material from ripping.
Test the Mat
Now that your mat is ready, it’s important that you know how much weight it can hold. It’s ideal to test the mat in a controlled environment like a swimming pool just to prevent any potential accidents.
Here’s how many people you might be able to accommodate on a mat based on its size:
Float mats can be loads of fun, but they can cost loads of money, too. If you’re just not decided on spending so much for something that you’ll only ever use when you’re out on the water, then maybe a DIY float mat might be just the thing. Just make sure to test it for its weight capacity so you never end up having to worry about accidents on water.