DIY Thanksgiving placemats
Is it just me, or is Thanksgiving the redheaded stepchild of the federal holidays?
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. But I think starting the holiday season before Halloween is absolutely insane.
It gets harder and harder every year, but I refuse to start celebrating Christmas until Black Friday. There are a few Christmas-related things I’ll do in November — mostly the planning-focused Type-A things — like picking out holiday cards and confirming mailing addresses, and gift shopping… but holiday decorations, festivities, parties, celebrations? Not happening.
Anyway, I actually really like to decorate my apartment for fall. I put out some garland, wreaths and foliage (which is a good buy at JoAnn Fabrics right now, just a heads up) at the beginning of October, and leave it all out through Thanksgiving.
While the garland, wreaths and foliage stay out throughout the whole season, I do a mini-redecoration between October and November. My Halloween decorations go back in the closet and my Thanksgiving decorations — like my sad woodburning attempt… haha — take over my apartment until just before December.
I made these DIY Thanksgiving placemats a few years ago, and they usually find a home on my little two-person fold-out table when I make that Halloween-to-Thanksgiving switch. I’ve had these photos sitting on my computer for a while now, but I just kept forgetting to share.
But, I finally remembered this year! So, here’s a quick little tutorial for my painted Thanksgiving placemats.
I’ve used freezer paper as a stencil once before when I made my handpainted duvet cover a few years ago, and while it’s a little trickier to work with than actual stenciling material, the cost for quantity ratio cannot be beat.
- Simple placemats (however many you’d like to make! Mine were from the dollar store.)
- Black paint (preferably fabric paint. You can mix with a medium for ease of painting if you’d like, but I didn’t bother.)
- Freezer paper (note, this is NOT the same as waxed paper.)
- Craft knife
- Blunt stringing needle
- An iron
Start by making your design and tracing it onto the freezer paper. I used InDesign to pick out my fonts and then I just upped my screen’s brightness and used a pencil to trace.
You can freehand, or you can probably even cut a piece of freezer paper to run through a printer. This was just easiest for me.
Then, use the craft knife to cut out your lettering and make your stencils.
Create as many stencils as you have placemats.
Use the iron to iron your stencil onto your placemat, wherever you’d like it. Then, once it’s secure and has cooled, dab paint on to fill it in.
Once the paint has dried, use the blunt stringing needle to stitch a twine border into the outside of placemat, and either tie or glue the ends together on the back side of the placemat
And… that’s it!
A few notes:
I used textured placemats I got from Dollar General. The stencils and paint were a little tricky to apply, and while the design looks a bit weird from the angle these photos were taken, I really like how it looks when viewed head-on.
Also, I mentioned using a fabric medium to mix with your paint. I didn’t choose to do that since these placemats are pretty stiff to begin with, and don’t really need a lot of natural movement, but that’s totally an option.
Also, if you’re buying placemats that might shrink, make sure you wash and dry them before painting and stitching!
Overall, I’m really happy with how these turned out. Granted, I’m only using two of them on my little flip-out Ikea table, but I hope that one day I can host a full dinner and use the entire set.
I’m also planning on making a similar pair for Christmas once we get there. Maybe a metallic red placemat with silver ribbon and lettering?
Anyway, I know we’re still a few weeks out and I’ll be posting some more stuff before Thanksgiving, but I hope you guys all have a happy Turkey Day! I’m planning to head back to Michigan for a Thursday dinner with my family before I head to Montreal with some of my high school friends for the extended weekend.
Enjoy the turkey comas, guys!