Clever DIY Ways To Repurpose Unwanted Yoga Mats

If you recently purchased a new yoga mat, you don't have to let your old mat end up in a landfill. Even if it no longer serves the purpose of helping you through your yoga sessions, your old mat may have more life left in it than you think. In fact, there are several ways to repurpose a yoga mat and make it into something completely new to decorate your home, keep it organized, or make it more functional.

Before you'll want to attempt any of the repurposing ideas shared below, it is important to clean your yoga mat. While a few may be machine washable, most will require hand-washing or spot-cleaning with soap, warm water, and a soft cloth. Always check the manufacturer's recommendations for your specific mat before attempting to clean it. Once your mat is clean and dry, you'll be able to pick a project — or two or three — from the ideas below.

Make a gardening knee pad

Spending time working in the garden can be very fulfilling. However, it can also take a toll on your body, particularly your knees. Kneeling down on the hard ground puts stress on your knees and ankles, which can make it less comfortable to complete your favorite gardening tasks. Rather than giving up one of your hobbies, consider making a DIY gardening knee pad out of an unwanted yoga mat.

The soft and cushioned design of the mats makes them a prime candidate to repurpose for this need. To make it even more supportive and comfortable, double the mat over and glue the two halves together for a thicker base. You can cut the mat to a comfortable size for your body and can even cut out a handle along the top to make it easier to carry around the garden with you. Your knees will thank you the next time you work in your flower beds.

Make a shoe mat for your entryway

If you're like many, you may be in a constant battle with keeping shoes neat and organized by your door. If you're not careful, they can easily get out of control and find themselves scattered all about the entryway — whether you have kids or not. Try taking an old yoga mat and cutting it down to transform it into a shoe mat. It will help keep everything more organized by providing a dedicated spot for sandals, tennis shoes, boots, and other shoes. With this dedicated spot, you'll find that shoes no longer take over the entire space and that your entryway feels much less cluttered. If you have a colorful or patterned yoga mat, it can even add some aesthetic appeal to your space.

Making a shoe mat from a yoga mat is simple. Another benefit of having a shoe mat is that it will help keep your house cleaner. Dirt and other debris that are tracked inside on the soles of your shoe will stay on the mat, instead of getting tracked around the rest of your living space. If you position the mat right next to the door, everyone can slip their shoes off as soon as they enter your home.

Save in-progress puzzles

There are few things less frustrating than being partially finished with a challenging puzzle only to have to put it away so that you can use the table for something else. Fortunately, this is a frustration you can avoid if you use your yoga mat as a puzzle mat. Start by cutting the mat down some. You want to make sure that it is at least a few inches longer and wider than most of your puzzles, but short enough that it will comfortably fit on your table or work space.

Before you're ready to start a new puzzle, unroll the mat on the work surface. Then, put your puzzle together as usual, directly over the mat's center. If you need to put the puzzle away to use the table for eating, crafting, or some other purpose, carefully roll the mat up. Use a rubber band or the strap that came with your mat to keep it securely rolled up and find a space where it can lay flat to store. Once you're ready to continue working on the puzzle again, move the mat back to the table and unroll it carefully. All of the pieces should still be together, and you can pick up right where you left off.

Make a mat to protect your floors from pet food and water

Do your pets always seem to make a mess when they eat? Are you tired of cleaning up scattered kibble or worrying about spilled water damaging your floors? If so, your unwanted yoga mat can help you create a simple, inexpensive, and attractive solution. After cleaning your mat, cut it down into a large rectangle to place under the food and water bowls. Measure the available space and how much room the bowls will need. When sketching out the mat, be sure to leave a few extra inches on each side to help catch more messes.

After your yoga mat has been cut down to size, simply place it on the floor with the food and water bowls centered over it. Now, if your dog or cat knocks some kibble out, it'll be contained on the mat. Moreover, if water spills, it won't just sit on your floors, threatening to damage them if left unnoticed. The new mat can also add some color to your space and create a more defined eating area for your furry friends.

Make a message board

The same rubbery texture of a yoga mat that allows it to cushion your body as you exercise can also make a great message board. It is soft and flexible enough for push pins to easily slide in and out, but also firm enough that it isn't going to easily be torn when pins are inserted. Making a DIY message board is also a simple task that will only require a few other materials and a little bit of your time.

The first thing you'll need is a picture frame. Any size that is smaller than the dimensions of your yoga mat will do, so it is really up to you to choose how large or small you want your message board to be. Once you've selected the picture frame you want to use, take off the backing and remove the glass covering where the photo is supposed to go. Use the cardboard insert as a pattern to trace and cut out a piece of your yoga mat. Then, just put the mat and cardboard backing into the frame and reattach the back. Your new message board is now ready to use. Be purposeful when deciding which yoga mat to use for this task. You want the color or pattern you choose to add to the overall aesthetics of the space.

Protect your counters

You can also use a yoga mat to protect your kitchen counters. If you have a dish drying rack that doesn't have a base or a way to drain water into your sink, you know what a mess it can leave on your counters. All that water isn't good for the counters and will just make everything look and feel dirtier.

Rather than going out to the store to buy a mat to put under your dish drain, you can easily make your own using a yoga mat. Start by measuring the dimensions of your dish drain and the counter space beneath it to determine what size you want the mat to be. Then, carefully cut the mat, and put it in place under the dish drain. For this project, you'll definitely want to make sure that you have thoroughly cleaned the mat since it will be going on surfaces in your kitchen near where you also prepare food.

Make a can koozie

This next idea is pretty simple and may have you asking, "Now, why didn't I think of that?" You can make a quick can koozie to keep your favorite soda, sparkling water, or beer can cold while you enjoy the outdoors. If you think about it, the material yoga mats are made from feels quite similar to that used to make the can koozies you can buy in the store. You just won't need to spend anything to make one — or several — koozies with your old yoga mat.

Start by measuring the distance around the can. You can use a flexible tape measure or a piece of string to find this measurement, which will tell you how long the strip from your yoga mat needs to be. Then, determine how high up on the can you want the koozie to go to find the width of the strip. Cut out a rectangle from the mat that matches these dimensions. Use hot glue or superglue to glue the edges of the rectangle together to make the sleeve for the koozie. After that's together, all you'll need to do is trace a circle base and attach it to the sleeve you made. Once it is dry, your new koozie will be ready to use.

Another benefit of making your own can koozies rather than buying them is that you can customize the size to match the exact dimensions of your can. All canned beverages are not the same size. Some are tall and skinny, while others are shorter and wider. When you make your own, you can ensure a perfect fit for each style of can you drink from.

Line drawers and cabinet shelves

Lining your drawers and cabinet shelves can help protect the wood from damage. But, more than that, a liner also helps give your kitchen a cleaner and more cohesive look. Your old yoga mats can help you accomplish both of these goals by making liners for the drawers and cabinets in your kitchen or bathroom. Start with making sure the mats have been thoroughly cleaned, then measure each surface you need to cover.

Carefully sketch out rectangles on the yoga mat that match the dimensions of each drawer or shelf. You may need to play some "Tetris" to minimize waste and get as many liners as possible out of each mat. After sketching the rectangles, carefully cut each one out and place it in the corresponding drawer or over the corresponding shelf. Finally, return all of your plates, cups, silverware, and other kitchen (or bathroom) products back to their correct spot.

Make a jar opener

Some jars can be surprisingly difficult to open. This can be true even if you're not dealing with arthritis or carpal tunnel, but even more true if you are facing decreased hand or wrist strength. Rather than fighting with that can of pickles for what feels like hours or searching for someone who can help you open it, make a jar opener out of your unwanted yoga mat.

Making a jar opener is probably the easiest project on this list. All you'll need to do is to cut a circle that is larger than the lids in your pantry — about 4 ½ to 5 inches should be good. Then you can use the cut-out circle to help you grip the lid on each jar to make it easier to remove. The reason a yoga mat can make a good jar opener has to do with the textured surface that is designed to help give traction to your body as you move. That same traction that helps your body during a workout can also help you get a better grip on a jar of jelly, salsa, peanut butter, or anything else you have in your refrigerator or pantry.