Good morning! Today I have a fun tutorial for making your own waterproof placemats just in time for Autumn! Can you believe it is September already? In my book September is officially the start of Autumn, my favorite season! We have needed new placemats for a while now and I finally got around to making some. We already have nice placemats we received from our wedding registry, but after using them for our day-to-day meals, they are starting to take a beating. They are dry clean only and not very practical for three meals a day with a baby and a toddler! I’ve cleaned those and put them away for special occasions and we are now using these fun leaf-printed placemats. They are much easier to clean after each meal as I can usually just wipe the tops clean. I like that I have child-proof placemats that don’t look like they are just for children!
As I said above, I had been planning to make new placemats for a while, but I hadn’t figured out what I wanted them to look like. Sometimes a blank canvas can be hard to fill! I came across some beautiful leaf-printed placemats at Crate and Barrel and the pattern looked perfect for re-creating with a stamp!
After using some old potatoes we had in our kitchen and some fabric supplies I already had in stock, I was able to create these placemats and not spend a cent – yay! Stamping with the potatoes was a lot of fun and would make a great project to do with children!Below is the tutorial for making these Hand-Stamped Autumn Placemats!
- Paring knife
- Acrylic paint (I used red, purple, grey, green, and light blue)
- Paint brushes
- Beige or tan fabric for top layer cut to 13.5″ x 16.75″ for each placemat *
- Colored fabric for backing – cut to 13.5″ x 16.75″ for each placemat *
- Muslin for in-between (optional) – cut to 13.5″ x 16.75″ for each placemat *
- Iron on vinyl
- Press cloth or scrap of fabric for ironing
- Double fold bias tape (two packages will make three placemats)
* These are the dimensions I chose for my placemats based on the fabric I had on hand and the size of my iron-on vinyl. You can, of course, make these any size you want.
STEP 1: Create your potato stamps! Using a paring knife, carefully cut your potato in half, lengthwise. Lightly trace a leaf with the tip of your knife then begin carving it out. I did one side at time. I cut about 1/2″ down along one side of the leaf and then brought my knife in horizontally to remove the chunk of potato. I did this to both sides. I then cut a line down the center of the leaf. After that, make diagonal cut lines on each side of the leaf evenly spaced. Cut out every other diagonal line creating the leaf pattern. I made three leaves all slightly different sizes.
STEP 2: Stamp! Use your potato stamps to stamp the top layer of your placemats. I had three different stamps and decided to use the following paint colors: red/green, blue/gray, and purple/green. I painted the colors onto the potato stamps with paintbrushes and then randomly stamped them until the fabric was full. I needed to re-apply the paint every time I stamped.
STEP 3: Cover the top of the placemat with vinyl. I had a roll of iron-on vinyl left over from making bibs and it was perfect for this project. I cut four pieces of vinyl slightly larger than my placemats. It worked out that each placemat was the exact width of the roll of vinyl. Follow the directions on the package for ironing the vinyl onto your stamped fabric. Remember to use a press cloth so you are never touching the iron!
STEP 4: Sew the placemat. You will need to cut out the backing for each placemat. I also chose to place a layer of muslin in between my backing and the top stamped layer since my backing was so much darker than my top layer. I flat-lined all three layers together. To do this, I stitched the three pieces of fabric together around all four sides, close to the edge so the stitching would be in the seam allowance. When flat lining, sew each side from end to end, do not turn your fabric to continue sewing, this will cause the fabric to bubble in places.
STEP 5: Bind the edges. Using the double-wide bias tape, bind all of the edges. Open the bias tape up and pin it along one of the long edges, right sides together. You will then machine-stitch the tape down along the first fold line. Your seam allowance will end up being 1/2″.
Repeat this step for the other long side. You can then wrap the bias tape around to the back side and pin in place. All raw edges will be hidden. When you fold the bias around to the back side, be careful not to stretch the bias as this could cause pull lines. Hand stitch bias tape down on the back side of the placemat using a slip stitch. You could stitch in the ditch using your machine from the right side of the fabric if you would rather not hand stitch. I do think it turns out better doing it by hand because you can control the bias from stretching, this is definitely a personal preference, though!
Once the two long edges are done, you can repeat the same process for the short edges. The only difference is you will want to fold under the ends of the bias tape. This way there will not be any raw edges left. Stitch this the same way and finish the binding on the back side the same way you did the other edges. Yay, you are all finished! Give everything a good pressing – remembering to use a press cloth – and you are all set!