Make re-usable DIY placemats for kids to color while they’re at the dinner table.
Hey y’all – today I’m sharing a tutorial for a kids placemat. These are sure to keep the little ones occupied while you cook and/or serve up the food.
So I have two issues when it comes to dinner with little boys. One is that by the time it’s time for me to make dinner, they are often D.O.N.E. and all they want to do is fight with each other or get in my way. The other is that when dinner is finally made and served, they are a mess. So I put my thinking cap on and this is what I came up with to help with both problems.
This way, they have something to do before dinner that does not involve contact with their brother, and then the placemats (which are washable) catch a lot of the crumbs before the floor does.
Want to make your own? You’ll need:
- Fabric with drawings. I used this Ikea fabric, but it’s not available online. You could also draw your own with Sharpies on canvas.
- Heat n’ Bond Thermoweb (affiliate link) I ordered mine online, but I think the big chain fabric stores carry it as well.
- Backing fabric. I used some scrap denim I had from the fireplace bumper we made years ago.
Cut your artwork fabric and the vinyl to 18″x14″ rectangles. The backing fabric should be 16″x 20″.
Iron the vinyl to your artwork fabric following the package instructions.
Iron all edges of your backing fabric 1″ to the wrong side.
At each corner, you’ll see a square made by the iron marks. Fold that square diagonally, then cut it off on the diagonal. Center you vinyl covered artwork in the middle of your placemat and fold the corners onto it as shown below. The point of the corner of the artwork fabric is touching the fold of the denim.
Fold the raw edges of your backing fabric so they touch the raw edges of the artwork fabric.
Fold the edges again, this time onto the artwork fabric, forming mitered corners.
Stitch in place around all 4 sides of the placemat.
And you’re done! Get those dry erase markers out (make sure each kid has a set so they won’t fight) and cook dinner while they color.
I’d like to take a moment to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about these placemats.
- What if I can’t find similar fabric?
- I think it would work just as well to draw (or trace) doodles onto white canvas fabric with sharpie.
- Do these really wash well?
- I have washed mine in the washing machine a couple times. I don’t put them in the dryer. The vinyl has gotten a little wrinkled in places, but still works really well. For most cleaning I wipe them down with a damp paper towel and only wash if the back side is starting to get really dirty for some reason.
- Do these work with regular washable markers?
- I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why not.
- Could I use overhead pens on these?
- Again, haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why not.
- Does the marker smudge onto the kids hands?
- Yup, if their hands drag in it. But since their hands are washable too, we just do that.
Fun idea!! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for this morning that links to your tutorial:
brilliant idea! must make some!
Now I know what to have when our friends come over with their kids or grandchildren for dinner or a bbq .. Have a few of these ready and markers , they can then do their thing while we are preparing ..
Thanks for the idea !!
I love this idea. I might make one for a birthday gift. Thanks for for he tutorial!
Such a great idea. Thanks for the instructions. It’s going to the top of my sewing list 🙂
Cute. I have seen and done it with chalk board material. It leaves a lot of chalk dust.
Very cute idea. Re the chalkboard dust problem perhaps a damp cloth instead of an eraser would help. On another note, I had trouble finding the giveaway entry form. Can you help?
i don’t know how they will react on the thermoweb… but there are also dry erase crayons. they don’t dry out (cuz my squirrely lil dudes are moving fast and forgetful!!) and you have less of that weird dry erase dust. these look fabulous by the way. i think that paper would work too under some shiny layer. laminated? just not machine washable, only wipeable. but still sewable!!
I am confused as to what type of vinyl you used. I didn’t see any listed under materials but the directions say to cut the vinyl? It looks fantastic and I can’t wait to try to make them.
Never mind…I figured it out. It’s the thermoweb, isn’t it?
Thanks so much for playing Melissa! I absolutely love this project!
What a fantastic post. Thank you 🙂
Looking forward to making this for my lil gremlin. Would make a fantastic present too! Just love it!
That is such a cute idea! I love it and I am pinning it!
i love that Ikea fabric but i was never sure what i wanted to create with it. this is genius! are they actually machine washable or just workable? i have the iron on vinyl but haven’t tried it yet.
Sorry. Wipeable. Darn auto correct 🙁
Does the dry erase end up on elbows and palms while they are coloring? Is it smuggy?
Yes, it definitely can get on hands and smudge if the kids put their hands all over it. Washable dry erase markers are best.
What a fab idea! I would love to make this for my little boy, just hope I can find some cute fabric to use. Thank you for the tutorial 🙂
Brilliant idea! This will be a great Christmas gift for my grandchildren.
Great idea! I immediately thought of making a sleeve so the image could be changed just by sliding a piece of paper with hand drawn images, or colouring book pages, into the sleeve.
Oh my god! I bought that fabric like 10 years ago. I just made my granddaughter a circular skirt that she can colour.
Now I can make placemats for all the kids with some of that material.. Thank you.