Place mats are essential, especially if you have wooden tables that can be stained with food and drinks. One of the best materials that you can use for making place mats is burlap. Burlap is very cheap and is made from organic fibers that are safe and nontoxic. If you have children in the house, making burlap place mats will not only be a fun activity to hold with your kids, but will also minimize the occasional spills and messes that kids make. Here’s how.
- Cut. The first step is to cut the place mat itself. Purchase rolls of burlap from local specialty or craft stores. Generally, a 12 by 18 inch rectangle is a good size for a burlap place mat. This may seem very large at first, but you will create fringes from the fabric itself later on, which requires you to have additional burlap.
- Add the fringe. To add the fringe, simply take one of the raw edges from the cut burlap. Burlap naturally has easy to pull fibers which are larger than the fibers used in most fabrics. Take around four to six of these fibers from each side and gently tug them off until you have a spray of fibers on the edges of your burlap place mat. For some people, pulling four or so fibers is not enough to create the desired length of fringe for the border of the burlap place mats. However, continued use and laundering will increase the length of the fringe border, so a few will suffice. In fact, you may later on have to stitch the edges to prevent the place mat from developing longer fringes.
- Sketch a design. Next, decorate the burlap place mat by sketching a simple design on the surface of the fabric using fabric pens. Here, you can ask the help of your little ones to draw simple shapes and figures for you. Abstract shapes and figures also work very well with the burlap place mats. Keep in mind that you do not need very complex images especially since you will later on apply stitching on these sketches. A complex sketch can be very difficult to sew on.
- Sew on pattern. Use yarn in various colors to fill in the design. Yarn is suitable for burlap since burlap has large fibers which yarn will complement. Apart from the large fibers, the yarn will also fit in easily into the holes in the burlap. Smaller threads will disappear into the large fibers of the burlap cloth. Use running stitches to create the outline of the design, and then slowly fill in the colors for the design. If your child is old enough to be entrusted with a yarn needle, you can teach him the basics of sewing.
You can also add other accents onto the burlap place mats. For instance, you can add little beads on the corners of the place mat. An easy way to make your place mats stand out is to add a few centimeters of colorful stitching on the border. Making burlap place mats is easy. In just a few hours, you can already make an entire set for your entire family.