Saturday, June 01, 2013

How To Make Laminated Placemats

When the seasons change, your decor can too.

Why not channel the interior decorator in you (and in your kids) by creating DIY reversible placemats for your home?   

Table Setting DIY Kids Project Placemats
Teach your kids to set the table with laminated reversible placemats.  

This tutorial will show you show you how to create a laminated placemat which doubles as a training table placemat for kids (on one side) and a creative table placemat for adults (on the other side).  It’s easy peasy.

Here’s why I love this project:

  1. House friendly: We currently rent a house and so I can’t just paint the walls or change the wallpaper on a whim.  But I can definitely change the placemats.
  2. Toddler friendly: When I’m ready, I can use one side of the placemat to train my toddler to help me set the table for dinner.  Right now he’s learning not to throw his fork when he’s done eating.
  3. Budget friendly and adult friendly: Flip it over and viola! I can use the other side of the placemat when I wine and dine our adult friends and family.
  4. Inspiring:  I need ideas for decorating on the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. I can be that cheesy mom that does so with placemats.  
  5. Utilitarian: Most of all, I can easily wipe off the mess because it’s laminated.

Time commitment:  Depends.  If you are doing it yourself and have all the ideas in your head already, I’d say give yourself a good creative hour.

However, I find that this project is more fun when you are doing it with others: on a playdate, with a couple of friends, with your kids, etc. Both the adult and the kid can have fun creating something for the house together!

For instance, I was recently on a playdate with my cousin and her two kids. I had the paper. She had the crayons. The time was ripe for making DIY placemats.

We had a great time crafting together. Her 3-year-old daughter’s face lit up as she picked out her favorite colors and cut out paper flowers for the placemat.  She took pride in the fact that this was her placemat. I can see her in the near future helping mommy set the table---especially when she gets to her placemat.  For the adult side of the placemat, my cousin picked out a sophisticated, yet charming paper scheme. As for me, I was able to create and bust out with 4 placemats that afternoon.  Our younger sons weren’t interested, but they did play with toys side-by-side without any fuss.  It became a win-win craft project for all.

What You Will Need:

  • Pretty paper: construction paper, scrapbook paper, anything that you’ve kept in your craft box that you’ve been waiting to use, etc.
  • Markers or crayons
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks or tape
  • Optional: any embellishments such as stickers, ribbons, family photos, etc.

Scrapbook paper DIY table placemats

Step 1:  Decide on the size of your placemat.

Here are some typical sizes for placemats:

- Toddler size rectangle placemat:  9 x 12 or 12 x 12 inches

- Adult size rectangle placemat:  13 x 17 or 11 x 17 inches

- Circle placemat:  14 ½ inch diameter

To keep it simple (no cutting) and to make it toddler-size, use construction paper.

However, if you want an adult size placemat, you will need a larger sized paper to start with or you can creatively add more paper to what you already have to achieve a 11 x 17 inch rectangle.

For me, I opted to use a piece of scrapbook paper with stripes on one side and a solid green color on the back (originally a square at 12 x 12).  I cut it down to 11 x 12 to make it a rectangle.

Step 2: On one side of the placemat, arrange and glue the “table setting” onto the paper.

Using paper and and a cut-out pattern of your choice, trace and cut out a plate, fork, spoon, knife, and napkin. Here’s a link to a template I made for the utensils.   

This the fun part. Once you have those pieces, create a “table setting” for your placemat and glue it in place. The fork is typically on the left. The knife and spoon are typically on the right. For my placemats, I kept it real simple. But I did design the plates so that each had a slightly unique design feature.  

Once the basics are in place, personalize it further. For instance, if you have kids, have them add anything to the plate or draw or write on the sides. They may want to put a picture of themselves on there.  Or of the family dog. Stickers are a fun embellishment. Anything goes!

Table setting DIY for kids placemat easy craft
Table setting on one side

Step 3:  On the other side of the placemat, decorate the adult side (no kid opinions allowed! just kidding).

The fun continues. This is where mom can now express her creative and crafty side. For me, I left the adult side “as is” because the colors reflect a feeling of spring and summer at our house.  

Next time I do this, however, I will definitely add layers of embellishments, use other colors, cut out different shapes, add family photos, etc. I love going through magazine spreads or searching color schemes online for inspiration.    

laminated adult placemats table setting DIY craft
Make your placemat reversible: scrapbook paper have fun color schemes and patterns.
Step 4: Laminate your placemats.

Use a laminating machine if you have one or take it to your local office supply store (such as Kinkos) and get it laminated. Trim it to your desired size.
All done!  

Something tells me I’ll be returning to this craft project (see reason # 5 from above) to create more of these in the future.

Have an upcoming play date and need a craft project to do? 

Or do you need to change things up around the house?

Add this this simple and easy DIY table placemat to your project list today!  


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