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.
Advertisements

Choosing the best home gym flooring

Because I work for a specialty flooring store, I am often asked which flooring is best for a home gym.  The answer depends on a few variables and I usually reply with a few questions of my own:

What will the home gym be used for primarily?  If you’re looking for a tough material to protect your concrete or hardwoods from being damaged by free weights or heavy exercise equipment, you may want to look at rubber.  Rubber is the traditional flooring for both home and commercial gyms and it is an economical solution for keeping your floors, as well as your equipment, protected.

However…

Rubber flooring is heavy.  By heavy, I mean REALLY heavy.  A square foot of 3/8″ rolled rubber weighs 2.3 lbs.  (8mm is slightly less)  That means to cover a 10×10 foot area, you’re dealing with a 230 lb roll of rubber.  “Well,” you say, “that’s not so bad.  A buddy and I could roll that baby out no problem.”  And maybe you’re right.  But here’s something else to consider:  the rolls show up at your front door on the back of a semi-truck.  If you get a liftgate included in your shipping costs (something to consider) they will lower the roll of rubber to the ground and drive away leaving you to wrestle it into your workout area.  If you don’t get a liftgate, you will have to pull that baby off the truck yourself and that’s a serious endeavor.

Another option is interlocking rubber tiles.  These come in various sizes (typically 2×2 foot or 3×3 foot) and can be installed without adhesive of any kind.  Depending on the type you buy, you can find them at a reasonable price, although generally more expensive than rolled, and they are much easier to handle.  Also, the fact that they require no glue makes it easy for you to bring them with you if you decide to move.

 However….

RUBBER IS NOT WATERPROOF.  Many people are under the impression that rubber is like plastic.  That it can be submerged indefinitely in a flooded basement and come out unscathed.  This is simply not the case.  The porous materials of most rubber flooring will absorb water and hold it.  Over time, this will break the rubber flooring down to such a degree that the floor is rendered all but useless.

If you are considering putting your home gym in a basement that gets mildly damp on occasion, this will probably not be an issue for you and rubber flooring may be your best bet.  If you’re considering putting your home gym in a wet basement that floods from time to time, you may be better served with a waterproof option  such as plastic, modular floor tiles that allow airflow beneath the tiles for a quicker dry.

Do you plan to do aerobic activities in your home gym area?  Zumba, P90x, or Insanity?  If so, you probably don’t want rubber.  Rubber is quite hard and provides little to no fatigue-relief.  If you’re looking for a flooring type to keep your teeth from chattering every time you jump up and down, you need something else.  I typically suggest foam.

Foam flooring is available in various densities and thicknesses.  The play mats that kids play cars on and the MMA mats that fighters throw one another around on are not the same.  Determining which type of foam product is best for your needs depends on what specifically you’ll be using it for.

Unlike rubber, foam is waterproof and can be submerged indefinitely without the foam taking in water and damaging the foam itself.  It provides great shock absorption, requires no glues for installation, and it’s lightweight.  It can be easily installed wall-to-wall because all you need to cut the interlocking tiles to fit is a straight edge and a utility knife.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.  However, under some equipment, foam will indent and stay indented for the life of the product.  If you can live with that, foam is generally your best bet.  It is inexpensive and, because it is so lightweight, is typically fairly cheap to ship.

Hopefully, this gives you some insight into what you’re looking for.  The easiest and fastest way to get your specific questions answered is to call one of our customer service reps and have a conversation.

Call Greatmats at 877-822-6622.

Customer Review-Premium Foam Mats

Amy H. found an interesting way to use our premium 5/8″ foam mats.  While these mats are commonly used in kids play rooms, those rooms are usually in a house.  🙂

“We bought the tiles to go in our 1-1/2 year-old’s playroom in our fifth wheel travel trailer we just bought.  It has a vinyl type flooring that resembles wood.  We wanted it to have more cushion for safety and also we wanted it to look pretty and colorful like a playroom should,” Amy says.


Premium 5/8″ foam mats come in fifteen vibrant colors so it’s easy to find mats to match your decor. This type of foam flooring is an excellent choice for kids rooms, exercise rooms, basements, family rooms, and trade show booths.  The interlocking foam mats are 2×2′ and interlock together easily with no glue required.  You can lay them directly over any flat, hard surface.

“The installation went great!” Amy told us.  “It only took my husband about 45 minutes.  I went to the Greatmats website and downloaded the installation brochure and the care brochure.  My husband followed the suggestions on the brochure as recommended.  He used cardboard to use under the tiles to protect the floors and a utility knife to make the cuts.  We used borders and went wall to wall.  We had to make cuts even in the center of some tiles to cut where the vents were for our furnace.  I am happy to say we have run the furnace since installation and the tiles have not warped or been damaged by the heat.”

Unlike many foam mats on the market today, these play mats are comprised of a dense EVA foam which makes them tough.  They resist scuffing.  They are also waterproof.  You can also rest assured that they are lead and latex-free.

“We would absolutely buy this product again and are very pleased with it!”  Amy says.  We have already recommended this to friends and family and will continue to.  When we finished installing it, we took pictures and put hem on our Facebook accounts for our friends and family to see.  We got many compliments and questions on where we purchased it and the cost.  We bragged about the wonderful deal and many bright fun colors y’all had to choose from.  The playmats in stores are flimsy and always tend to fall apart.  They also come in too many pieces which is very frustrating because toddlers tend to pull them apart which makes the mat come apart.  I’ve now had this mat for quite some time and never had my toddler rip it up.  It is very easy to clean and is very sturdy!  We are so pleased with y’alls product!”

Thank you for your review, Amy.  We appreciate your business and the time you’ve taken to let us know your thoughts.

If you would like to check out our foam products or any other specialty flooring at Greatmats, Call 877-822-6622 and talk with a customer service rep.  We can help you find the right product to fit your needs.

Customer Review-Premium 5/8" foam mats

Here’s another great review, this time from Dannette M.  Dannette purchased our 5/8″ premium foam mat which is an excellent, and economical, foam floor option for a variety of applications.  Dannette used these foam mats as an office and workout floor.
“I live in a garden floor apartment in Brooklyn with a finished basement floor,” she says.  “I use the basement as my office and workout area (mostly for P90X and Insanity which can involve a lot of plyometric or jumping exercises.)  I was finding that my yoga mat was very confining when doing these workouts and I have knee problems, so I was looking for something to help reduce the impact on my knees and vie me a little elbow room.”
All of our interlocking foam mats are made with a high density EVA foam material that provides excellent cushion for various aerobic activities.  Easy to piece together, these tiles interlock with one another like a large puzzle.  This provides a stable flooring option that requires no adhesive for installation.  Dannette says, “the installation was extremely easy and the edge pieces fit nicely together.”
Foam mats are soft and warmer than hard surfaces.  They are also waterproof.  Available in 15 bright colors, they add fun and warmth to any room.  These mats come with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty and should last for ten years or more in a normal residential setting.  The 5/8” premium foam mats are our most popular product.

“It was nice to be able to mix and match the edge pieces to create a funky look.  Since the ceramic tiles on which I was installing the mats are pretty slippery, I ended up using carpet tape to keep the mat secure.  Peeling the double-sided tape apart was the hardest part of the whole project.”

These foam mats are so popular because of their versatility.  We find that a large variety of people enjoy these mats.  We sell them to both nurseries as playmates and to military bases for training exercises. 

5/8” Premium foam mats are convenient and easy to handle because they’re so lightweight.  This makes installation and breakdown remarkably easy.  For wall-to-wall installations, the tiles can be easily cut with a sharp utility knife.  When it’s time to relocate, simply stack them up and you’re on your way.

“I would definitely buy the product again,” Dannette told us.  “I love the “grown-up” colors and the ability to mix and match.  I love the thickness and the quality.”


“Shipping was quick.  Customer service has been very professional.”
Thank you, Dannette, for trusting Greatmats to help you find the perfect flooring solution for you.  We appreciate your business.

Call Greatmats at 877-822-6622.


Customer Review-5/8" Premium Foam Mats


“We are absolutely thrilled with the product.”  -Nil O.

Nil used our premium 5/8” foam mats to cover the entire floor of her 1400 square foot dog training center. 

“We initially thought we’d just do the part where the dog would be, but then we decided our knees were just as important os we covered the whole area,” she says.  “We were looking for a tile that could stand up to dogs and people but didn’t need the 1” agility tiles.  These really fit the bill for us.”

Premium foam mats are an economical, extremely versatile foam flooring product that can be used for a number of different applications.  They are waterproof, lightweight, and easy to store and install.  The best part is they require no glue for installation so if you need to move, you can bring them with you.

Nil says, “the thing I loved best is how well the tiles fit together.  It’s as if you can’t even see how they were installed.” 

Interlocking foam mats fit together almost seamlessly like a giant jigsaw puzzle only easier.  Lay the mats down and piece them together and you’re done.  For wall to wall installations, a simple utility knife can be used to cut them to size when you meet the wall.  (Nil suggested we send along a cutting tool with each shipment.  We’ll have to look into that!)

“The dogs just love it – it gives them just enough traction to run around and I know that if they’re playing rough and fall, they won’t get hurt.  The tile looks absolutely fantastic.  I simply vacuum it and it looks like new.  I do also mop it up…so it’s easy to maintain.  The thing that surprised me most is how resilient it is.  So far, no dog nail rips or imprints.  Even some of our heavy equipment has only left slight impressions.  And the benefit for us humans is that the tile saves our knees and joints!  I’d definitely buy again.”

“My husband and I opened a dog training center and the space we leased had nothing but a concrete floor.  That would NOT have worked as it would have been dangerous for dogs to play there and for people too…the other thing that I LOVE is tha the tiles are so light that I can handle them myself…”

So, Nil, would you recommend Greatmats to your friends?”

“Yes, without hesitation.  In fact, we’re redoing our garage and will be coming back to take a look at your garage floor options.”

Thank you for your business and for your feedback, Nil.  We’re sure your foam mats will keep you happy for years to come.

If you would like information about foam mat flooring or other options for your home or business, we’re just a mouseclick or phone call away.

Call Greatmats at 877-822-6622.

Martial Arts Pro 7/8"


Built to withstand intense training with combatants in shoes and boots, the Martial Arts Pro is the granddaddy of all martial arts mats.  Designed of high density, EVA foam, this mat is built to last for years.  Great for combat sports of all types including boxing, MMA, and BJJ, they also work great as an aerobics flooring. This affordable foam mat material features a scuff resistant top-thatch texture that can take pretty much any punishment you can dish out.
Call Greatmats at 877-822-6622.

Used primarily for police and military tactical training, these mats are commercial grade.  Large 40×40” tiles create fewer seams than the smaller home version of these foam mats.  They are completely waterproof and can also be used in kids play rooms or multi-purpose rooms such as those found in YMCA’s.  Try them in your basement for a comfortable and soft surface area to work out or just hang out on.  They can be laid directly on concrete.
Interlocking edges on these foam mats allows for a quick and easy installation.  Mats are lightweight and can be easily moved from location to location.  No adhesive is required to create a stable and safe floor that provides the cushion needed for various martial arts moves including high throws.
If you decide this isn’t the perfect martial arts mat for your facility, we encourage you to look into our complete line of interlocking foam mats.  We have several different types of foam mats to choose from with some as low as 99 cents a square foot.  Not sure what you need?  Feel free to chat with us online, send us an email, or give our friendly customer service department a call.  We are standing by to help you find the perfect foam flooring for your application.
We are determined to not be undersold.  If you should find a lower price for the same product (including shipping), we encourage you to please let us know.

Economy Foam Puzzle Mat

Ready to be surprised?  According to the NCIPC, falls are responsible for more fatalities each year than motor vehicle accidents and more than half of all falls occur in the home. The good news is that with a few simple precautions, you can make your home much safer.  Go through your house and seek out any tripping hazards especially near stairs and windows.  Be sure your throw rugs and other “slidy” objects don’t pose a risk.  Then, take a look at your flooring, especially in areas where running and horseplay happens the most.

Introducing the Economy Foam Puzzle Mat.  It is a 1/2 inch interlocking foam flooring that’s great for almost any room in the house.  Lightweight and portable, it can be installed directly on any hard surface and requires no adhesive.  So easy to install, you can transform your hardwood, ceramic, or concrete floor into a softer safer play area in minutes.  These interlocking foam mats are great for kids rooms and recreation rooms.  They are tough enough to use in residential or commercial applications.  You can even use them in basements or garages.

Economy Foam Puzzle Mats are lead and latex free.  They feature a non-slip surface area that provides excellent traction as well as a soft landing surface.  They are so durable they can be used for dog agility training or even parachute staging areas.  They are waterproof and easy to clean.  These foam mats are also odor free so you don’t have to worry about having them in bedrooms or other areas where you plan to spend a great deal of time.

Each foam puzzle mat measures 2’ x 2’ and is 1/2” thick.  They provide fatigue relief so you can use them in areas where you will be doing a large amount of standing.  Have a big dinner planned where you’ll be on your feet in the kitchen all day?  No problem.  Piece the mats together in your kitchen floor until the job is done.  Then, simply stack them and move them to another room or a closet for easy storage.

Should you decide these mats aren’t perfect for your particular need, we encourage you to browse our complete line of interlocking foam mats.  We have a number of different sizes and thicknesses with some starting as low as 99 cents per square foot.
Call Greatmats at 877-822-6622.