How to Make River Rock Placemats

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Things You'll Need

  • Sturdy placemats or material, such as 1/4-inch corkboard

  • Utility knife

  • Newspaper

  • Craft glue or extra-strength adhesive

  • Small river rocks

Pebble-sized river rocks work well for making placemats.
Image Credit: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

River rocks create eye-catching placemats for home decor. Their natural colors, varied shapes, smooth feel and light-catching luster make them an appealing material to enhance a green, natural or eclectic decor style. Making river rock placemats gives you an inexpensive way to decorate your table with natural materials that blend well with any color scheme. River rocks protect the table from scratches and hot plates, as long as you make river rock placemats on a solid, not mesh, mat to avoid the risk of scratches.


Step 1

Cut a placemat or corkboard the desired shape, such as a rectangle or oval. Trace an oval platter to mark an even oval on the mat, if desired. Use a utility knife to cut the placemat.

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Step 2

Center the placemat on a double layer of newspaper. Squeeze glue in a 6-inch line 1/4 inch from the left-hand edge of the placemat to create a line parallel to the placemat's edge. It isn't necessary to measure -- just work on a few inches at a time so the glue doesn't dry before you apply the rocks. If you're left-handed, start on the right; this reduces the risk of dislodging the river rocks as you work.


Step 3

Stick rocks on the glue in a line, placing each rock so it touches the previous rock. Continue gluing rocks on the mat a few inches at a time, working from the one side of the placemat to the other. Glue a special rock in the center, if desired, such as a heart-shaped rock for a mother's day gift.


Step 4

Leave the placemat in place to dry overnight. Attempting to move it too soon could dislodge the stones. Repeat the process to make as many river rock placemats as desired.


Use rectangular placemats for a kids' or beginner's craft project. It's easier to glue the stones in straight lines than in curves for an oval placemat. Hardware and home improvement stores sell corkboard. Use the smallest river rocks you can find to keep the placemats from becoming too heavy or thick. Avoid using rocks that are larger than most of the others so that the surface won't be too uneven. River rocks generally come in multicolored or all black. Craft stores and certain discount stores sell them by the bag.


For a kids' project, use craft glue, not extra-strength adhesive, and cut the mats ahead of time. This is a time-consuming project. Teaming up with family or friends on a rainy day with music would make it go faster. Avoid skin contact with extra-strength adhesive. Keep extra-strength adhesives out of the reach of children.


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