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How To Make An Easy DIY Placemat

Published
May 08, 2024

Author
Suze Dowling

How To Make An Easy DIY Placemat

Creating your own DIY placemats can be a practical — and fun — approach to protecting your surfaces. It can also add a personal element to all of your meals! 

Besides enhancing the aesthetics of your table setting, DIY placemats allow you to choose materials and designs that can be expressive — while, of course, still serving the purpose of a functional placemat. So, whether you're looking to refresh your dining area or searching for a custom gift idea, crafting your own placemats is a delightful and easy project to undertake.

Whether it’s a family dinner, a special holiday meal, or just a casual gathering, having unique placemats can set the tone and style of your dining experience. So, we’ll walk you through the simple steps to make your own placemats, offering an opportunity to tailor them to your taste and room decor. 

What Are the Materials Needed?

So … where do you start? 

The choice of materials for your DIY placemats can vary quite a bit depending on the style, durability, and design you are aiming for. Here’s a list of common materials you might consider:

  • Cork: Great for a natural, rustic look. It’s also heat resistant, making it practical for hot dishes.
  • Vinyl: A good choice for durability and easy cleaning. Comes in many colors and patterns.
  • Woven Materials: Using rattan or bamboo can give a textured, organic feel to your table setting.

For each type of material, you'll also need a few additional supplies:

  • Scissors: For cutting fabric or vinyl to the desired size.
  • Craft Knife: Essential for cleanly cutting cork or thicker materials.
  • Ruler or Measuring Tape: To ensure your placemats are uniformly sized.
  • Adhesives: Fabric glue for no-sew projects or special cork adhesive.
  • Decorative Elements: Such as threads for sewing, paint for customization, or decorative borders.

These materials can be found at most craft stores or ordered online for convenience. When choosing your materials, think about how they complement your dining room’s décor — and how they will stand up to the wear and tear of your daily dining. 

How To Design Your Placemat

We’re at the fun part! Let’s get creative.

Tailor your dining space to reflect your personal style or seasonal themes. The choice is yours! And, for a little extra help, here are some design considerations to help you get started:

1. Style and Theme:

  • Modern: Opt for clean lines, minimalist patterns, and a monochromatic color palette.
  • Seasonal: Incorporate colors and motifs appropriate for holidays or seasons (e.g., red and green for Christmas, bright floral patterns for spring).
  • Kid-Friendly: Think about fun, vibrant colors and patterns or themes like animals and cartoon characters that appeal to children.

2. Color and Pattern:

The selection of colors and patterns for your DIY placemats should mesh well with your existing tableware and dining room décor. Find a palette that seamlessly fits with the aesthetic of your space. Will you make a bold statement or add some subtle accents? It’s up to you.

Also, consider the practical aspect: Opt for patterns that amplify visual appeal and can conceal inevitable stains. Choosing concealing colors is particularly useful for placemats anticipated to be used constantly during dining.

3. Customization Options:

Personalize your DIY placemats by adding a monogram to each for family members or guests. You can also try using stencils or freehand designs to add graphic motifs or abstract designs.

For those who enjoy planning their designs before creating, sketching out a few ideas can be helpful. Alternatively, browsing online for inspiration or using design software can provide a multitude of visual styles and templates to experiment with.

What Are the Step-by-Step Instructions for Creating Your DIY Placemat?

Creating your own placemats can be easy! But don’t worry — below are detailed instructions for making fabric, cork, and woven placemats:

Fabric Placemats:

Measure and cut your fabric to the desired size, typically around 18x12 inches. Use a ruler and a rotary cutter for precision.

Next, hem the edges.Fold each edge over by about half an inch, press with an iron, and then stitch using a sewing machine. For a no-sew option, apply fabric glue or use iron-on hemming tape along the edges.

Cork Placemats:

Using a craft knife and a ruler, cut the cork roll into rectangles of your preferred size. To seal it, apply a clear acrylic sealer to make the cork placemats water-resistant and easier to clean. Allow it to dry completely.

Now you’re at the fun part! Paint or stencil designs onto the cork for your own unique touch.

Woven Placemats:

Choose your weaving materials, such as strips of fabric, yarn, or thin reeds. You can then start by creating a base of vertical strips (the warp) and weaving horizontal strips (the weft) over and under the warp strips. Secure each end with a knot or a dab of glue.

Finally, trim any excess and apply a fabric sealant to prevent fraying, or fold the edges over and glue them down for a neater finish.

Visual aids such as photos, diagrams, or videos can be incredibly helpful for guiding you through these steps. This can also be particularly useful if you are attempting something more complex or are new to crafting!

More Details on Personalization

Once you have the structure nailed, it’s time to personalize! Here are some creative ideas for decorating and personalizing your DIY placemats:

1. Stenciling and Painting:

Use stencils to add geometric patterns, floral designs, or custom lettering to fabric or cork placemats. You can also use fabric paints or acrylics can be used to create bold, colorful designs.

And for a subtle and sophisticated look, try a monochrome palette or metallic paints.

2. Embroidery and Appliqué:

Try adding texture and intricate designs with embroidery. Simple borders or corner designs can elevate the elegance of fabric placemats, so don’t shy away from them!

You can also try appliqué, which involves sewing or gluing shapes or designs cut from different fabrics onto the placemat for a layered effect.

3. Adding Embellishments:

Attach items like beads, sequins, or small stones to add sparkle and texture. This is particularly effective for special occasions. And for a rustic look, incorporate elements like small wooden buttons or twine along the edges.

4. Seasonal Adaptations:

Create interchangeable decorations, like Velcro-backed fabric cutouts that can be switched out according to the season or holiday. Use seasonal motifs and colors to reflect specific times of the year, such as leaves for fall or snowflakes for winter.

By adding these little touches, your placemats can really create a memorable dining experience. Whether aiming for elegance or simple fun, your chosen decorations can be made to suit any occasion.

Crafting Your Table's Story

Creating your own DIY placemats is a fun, creative, and practical project that can add plenty of fun to a traditional table setting. Whether you choose fabric, cork, or a woven approach, each material offers a unique opportunity to express your style and complement your home décor

By designing, personalizing, and maintaining your placemats, you ensure they are beautiful and durable enough to withstand daily use and special occasions. Experiment with colors, patterns, and textures, transforming ordinary meals into memorable times with family and friends!

Gather your materials, unleash your creativity, and start crafting placemats that tell your table's story — a reflection of your taste and hospitality. 

Letterfolk’s set of placemats allows you to easily DIY your perfect table setting. With a selection of tiles to place onto your mat, the possibilities really are endless. Check out our customizable placemats today!

Sources:

A BRIEF HISTORY OF DIY, FROM THE SHED TO THE MAKER MOVEMENT | Science Museum UK

Cork – a renewable raw material: forecast of industrial potential and development priorities | Frontiers

What’s Your Color Season? | C Magazine

Reusing polyester/cotton blend fabrics for composites | ScienceDirect

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