How to Make Table Mats

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Table mats are an easy way to change the look of your table without spending a lot of money. They can be made from cloth, straw, woven plastic sheets, woven paper, thread, yarn, twigs or reeds. Holiday table mats are easy to make and take very little space to store since they can lie flat. Reversible plastic laminate table mats allow you to change from one holiday to the next with greater ease and make storage even simpler. Laminated table mats can also be used as teaching tools, by combining letters, numbers and pictures for your child to identify.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 22-inch by 28-inch sheets of poster board in your choice of colors
  • 2 22-inch by 28-inch sheets of white poster board
  • 8 16-inch by 24-inch sheets of plastic laminate or clear contact paper
  • Scissors
  • Markers, crayons, acrylic paints
  • 2-inch wide soft bristle paintbrush
  • Chunk of natural sponge
  • Shallow dish of water
  • Ink pads in your choice of colors
  • Ink stampers
  • Plastic tapestry needle
  • Embroidery floss or yarn
  • 8 16-inch by 24-inch plastic canvas sheets
  • Wall sizing
  • Burlap cloth in your choice of colors
  • Satin ribbon
  • Seam binding
  • Hot melt glue gun
  • Clear glue sticks
  • Jute twine
  • 20-inch long, very thin twigs or oat straw
  • Cut each sheet of colored poster board in half. Glue two different-colored sheets together, choosing colors that fit your two chosen holidays. Allow glue to dry completely. Decorate each side with markers, crayons and holiday stamps dipped in colored ink. Use a natural sponge or soft bristle paintbrush dipped in acrylic paints to make holiday scenes on each table mat. Dip the sponge into a shallow dish of water to clean between colors. Allow paints and inks to dry completely, then spray with a clear acrylic sealant. Lay your table mats on sheets of clear plastic laminate or contact paper. Lay the second sheet of laminate on top and seal, pressing from the center point of the sheet to the right, then left, then up, then down. This smooths out any air bubbles.

  • Cut two sheets of white poster board in half. Glue pictures cut from magazines onto one side of each poster. Add foam letters and numbers to spell out words and make number problems related to the pictures. Allow the glue to dry overnight. Glue the plain sides together. Cover with clear contact paper.

  • Choose your favorite three colors of embroidery floss or yarn. Thread a plastic tapestry needle by pulling two to three inches of thread through the eye. Fold the thread end over and hold it against the needle with one finger. Draw the needle through the plastic canvas. Go in and out through the first row of holes. Turn the canvas around and return to the beginning point. Continue to weave thread in and out through the holes in your chosen plastic canvas until the entire canvas has been covered. Switch colors and go back through all the holes, covering over the spaces that you skipped the first time.

  • Cut 22-inch by 16-inch sheets of burlap. Use a hot melt glue gun to attach seam binding all the way around all four sides. Mix wall sizing in a shallow bowl according to package directions. Dip burlap into wall sizing and squeeze out any excess. Spread burlap flat on a sheet of plastic laminate to dry. Separate sized burlap from the laminate. It will now be very stiff. Attach satin ribbon or other trim using hot melt glue gun and clear glue sticks.

  • Cut twigs or oat straw to 20-inch lengths. Lay oat straw or twigs side by side until you have a mat about 16 inches wide. Thread a tapestry needle with jute thread and tie the end of the thread to the first twig. Wrap around and pull the needle through the thread loop. Begin going over and under each twig until you reach the end, then turn around and weave over the twigs you skipped the first time through. Tie off with a very tight knot at the end. Repeat for the other end of the table mat. Twig and straw mats are great to use as mkeka for Kwanzaa.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose red, white and blue for Independence Day and green, yellow or brown for Back to School or Fall Equinox. Choose orange or black for Halloween. Black, white, brown, green and yellow will work for Thanksgiving. Choose red, white and green for Christmas, blue, gold and white for Hannukah, or black, red and green for Kwanzaa.
  • Use the lightest paint and ink colors first to get the clearest, brightest stamps and designs.
  • Print out pictures of the letters of the ASL finger alphabet and laminate them with a matching foam letter and magazine pictures at deafblind.com

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