Wisconsin Woman Brings Foam Floor Mats To Life for Halloween

From Bumblebee to Arcee to Heavy Machinery, Wisconsin Mother Creates Costumes from Foam Puzzle Mats

By Brett Hart

Having already built a reputation for creating elaborate Halloween costumes, Tia Hoffmann of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, set the bar a bit higher a few years ago when she and her then fiance’ attended a Halloween themed engagement party.

Bumblebee & Arcee Transformers Halloween Costume Tia Hoffman Greatmats Foam Floor Tiles

”We wanted to surprise everybody with our costumes,” Tia said. ”They knew every year, we had something elaborate.”

Inspired by the Transformers movies, Tia came up with a plan to dress her husband as the yellow Camaro, Bumblebee, and herself as the motorcycle, Arcee. The first challenge was finding the right materials to create the costumes. She needed something lightweight, yet dense enough to hold its shape.

”I considered something like a PVC material and really just thought it was too heavy,” Tia said. ”I started looking at stores, going up and down aisles to see if I had any materials that popped into my mind, and then I saw yoga mats.”

Tia determined the yoga mats were too malleable, but knew she was on the right track.

”Then I thought of those foam floor mats, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. That would be great.”’

After a little research, she stumbled upon the website Greatmats.com where she found just what she needed – 5/8 inch thick Premium Foam Floor Mats.

She ordered five of the 2×2 foot mats in yellow for Bumblebee and another three mats in Purple for her Arcee costume. The project consumed her living room and her time for about three months as she constructed the jaw dropping costumes out of these foam tiles.

Using photos and her own imagination and references, Tia logged more than 800 hours working on the costumes.

”We couldn’t invite anyone over, and if we did, we had to scramble and shove everything into a bedroom,” Tia said.

But the time, effort and research paid off as Tia was able to successfully bring her ideas to life.

”I have a very cooperative husband who allows be to dress him up in elaborate costumes every year,” Tia said.

The experience also planted a seed for future costumes.

A couple years later, Tia came across a woman on Facebook looking for someone who could create a Halloween costume for her child who needed a wheelchair to get around. Tia knew just what she could do to help and ordered another 15 foam tiles from Greatmats and donated her time to create a Caterpillar front end loader costume to adorn the child’s wheelchair.

Front End Loader Halloween costume for wheelchair Tia Hoffman Greatmats Foam Floor Tiles

This August, Tia connected with that mother again and they decided to have Tia construct a fire truck costume for the boy using just seven foam tiles and 15 hours of her time.

Fire Truck Halloween Costume wheelchair Tia Hoffman Greatmats Foam Floor Tiles
”I really like using the foam,” Tia said. ”It’s works really well for what I do. I have no education in art, but I’ve always been creative and crafty.”

Since 2011, Tia has constructed four costume’s using the foam tiles, including bride and groom Lego characters. Now the mother of a 9-month-old child and owner of a new puppy, Tia’s time and focus is a little more restricted, but the experiences have inspired her to help other families with disabilities.

Her goal is to set up an annual charitable event where several families with children in similar circumstances can enjoy the festivities of Halloween.

Fire Truck Halloween Costume Wheelchair Tia Hoffman Greatmats Foam Floor Tiles
Tia Hoffmann
Pewaukee WI
For more on this topic please review our Foam Tiles product page.
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Archie Sutton Wall Art Flag with Greatmats Foam Tiles

Archie Sutton Hospital Wall Art Sculpture Made of Foam Gym Floor Tiles

Pebble Top Gym Floor Tile Art, Arizona Wall Art Using Pebble Top Gym Floor Tiles

By Brett Hart

Struggling to find a suitable substrate for a wall installation at a new hospital Arizona artist Archie Sutton’s online discovery of Greatmats.com was a pleasant surprise. Sutton, eight years removed from an Air Force career, was facing his biggest artistic challenge since becoming a full-time artist. His project… create a commercial installation on a 12 feet by 20 feet curved wall in the Veteran’s Hall of the new Canyon Vista Medical Center in Sierra Vista, Ariz.

Archie Sutton Wall Art Flag with Greatmats Foam Tiles

”I wanted to do something that occupied the space with a sense of flow on a static wall,” Sutton said. ”I wanted to honor veterans, but also the staff, patients and visitors of the hospital.”

Sutton, who was asked by the hospital art team to provide sample ideas, sketched out a gray silhouette of his ”Stars and Stripes” piece on white paper. The rest was an act of faith on behalf of the art team as they entrusted this large project to Sutton on very little information.

Sutton looked at balsa wood, foam and landscaping materials to serve the structural needs of the project and initially settled on horse stall mats. But he quickly realized that option was much too heavy to hang on the wall. That’s when a web search led him to Greatmats.com where he found just what he was looking for.

Archie Sutton Foam Tiles Wall Flag Art Creation with Greatmats Foam Tiles

Impressed by ”good options and good prices,” Sutton opted for Pebble Top Foam Gym Floor Tiles to serve the purpose. Flexibility, durability, weight and aesthetics all played important roles in the choice of mats.

Sutton commended Greatmats staff for answering his questions about the product and handling the ordering process in a professional manner. ”Tina was great.” he said.

”I wanted my substrate to be black and have a relief from the wall of 3/4 inch,” Sutton added. ”When I found pebble top foam, it all came together. … (It’s characteristics) gave me peace of mind to know it was archival to last for many years as real-property in a permanent commercial setting.”

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Needing the pieces to connect, Sutton used 17 interlocking tiles of the foam gym floor. The mats interlocking tabs allowed the piece to attach, unnoticed, to the wall. It also made it possible to move the entire piece in manageable 2 feet by 2 feet sections.

”It provided me the an aesthetic relief off the wall that helped create shadows and the flow I was looking for,” Sutton said. ”The mats gave me the ability of conforming the wall sculpture in a seamless fashion to a curved space.”

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Sutton cut and polished the tiles and then seamed the interlocking pieces together with a circuit board on site. He then used pale patina’d circuit copper board for the stars and white stripes.

”I left out the blue and red to blend and marry into the existing wall.”

”Doing a flag is tricky,” Sutton said. ”We see it every day. Bringing something unique that also is respectful and represents my body of work was my vision.”

After more than 400 hours of work on the project, Sutton’s finished product covered more than 160 square feet (8.8 feet by 18.8 feet) and weighed just 60 pounds. As for his 8 remaining Greatmats tiles… He sent those over to his brother’s restaurant to be used in a walk-in refrigerator.

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Archie Sutton
Canyon Vista Medical Center
Sierra Vista AZ
For more on this topic please review our Foam Tiles product page.

Customer Review-Premium Foam Mats 5/8"

“These mats did a great job for us at the Home, Garden & Remodeling Show in Louisville, KY.  They were easy to handle, install and break down.  They also provided great cushion for the sales team that spent as many as twelve hours standing in the booth speaking with prospects.  We will be able to reuse these mats for several shows which eliminates the need for handling bulky carpet or renting expensive carpet from the show decorator.”
-Thad A.
Thad chose Premium foam mats 5/8” for his trade show booth flooring.  These interlocking foam mats feature a full 15 mm of thickness in 15 vivid colors that will not fade over time.  The surface texture of these foam floor mats feature a thatch design that is resistant to scuffing.  This makes them ideal flooring for high traffic.  They also provide fatigue relief for people who are on their feet all day. 
These foam mats are a premium quality product made from EVA foam material.   Not only excellent trade show flooring, they also transform any basement or den into a playroom or indoor sports area.  Waterproof, they can be easily cleaned so they are great for kids play areas. 
The variety of brilliant color options allows you to mix and match to fit your décor.  Get creative with your foam floor mats!  You can use our online room designer to easily create scaled room layouts.
These interlocking foam mats are simple to install.  Just piece them together like a giant puzzle and you’re done.  For wall-to-wall installations, you can simply cut the excess away with a sharp utility knife.  Two border strips come with each tile so you can create a finished edge in island areas where no wall is present.
Premium foam mats are offered with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty against product defect and can be expected to last for 10 years or more in normal residential applications when cleaned and cared for on a regular basis.   We stock thousands of square feet of this and similar foam mat products for large scale commercial and athletic projects.  This makes for a quick and simple delivery.
If this particular foam mat is not perfect for your application or budget please consider one of our other foam mats, we offer a complete and comprehensive line of interlocking foam mats to our customers, some starting at $0.99 cents per square foot.   Other foam mat products are available with free shipping.  Please browse our complete line of puzzle foam mats. If you have questions please Chat with us online, send an email or call our friendly customer service center to speak with one of our flooring experts about our foam mats.

Call Greatmats at 877-822-6622.