How to make laminated placemats

In an everyday home setting, with kids and commotion, you hate to put out your best cloth place mats only to have them soiled and stained. Make some day-to-day laminated place mats that can be rinsed off or wiped clean. The design for the place mat can be a piece of cloth, a section of wallpaper or just images of some leaves you’ve found. Since real flowers and leaves will die, even inside of lamination, copy the leaves and print out a photo of them for place mats.

Laminating machines heat lamination sheets and entrap the contents between them. As long as the contents are basically flat they can be laminated. This includes glitter, ribbon, lace, felt and even paint that is dry. Most laminating machines can only handle sheets up to 8″X10″ which is fairly small for a place mat. Small place mats for small kids are fine but for larger mats do your own laminating.

Lamination, which comes on a roll, can be cut to any size. Cut two pieces or simply cut one large piece and fold it in half. The latter is generally the best method. Crease the large lamination sheet well, directly in the center. There are many different shapes that you can give the placemat. After placing everything inside the lamination cut the corners at an angle to make an 8-sided shape. The shape will have 4 long sides and four small sides, at the corners. You can also make plain rectangles or even ovals. Keep in mind the shape you’ll be making while arranging the inside design. Stay at least a couple of inches away from the edges of the laminate.

Arrange the cloth, paper or other decorations inside the lamination sheet then place the other sheet on top. The sheets grab immediately so take care when you place the two together. Align the top and bottom sheet edges then slide your finger across it, holding the rest of the top sheet up, away from the bottom sheet. Continue to use the back and forth motion of your fingers to slowly place the top sheet. This keeps out bubbles and allows you to get a smooth placement.

You can easily make the placemat reversible. Simply place two pieces of cloth or paper with the wrong sides together onto the laminating sheet. And you can make designs along the edges with fancy scissors. Or just crop the corners of the paper while leaving the laminate uncropped. Another idea is to place strips of paper or cloth inside, leaving them spaced just a little apart. Use stickers, photos, handprints, or a printed poem. There are literally hundreds of different designs that are possible. Get the kids in on the project and let each make their own.

An alternative to the laminate is shelf liner. It’s just the right width and is usually available in a transparent style. The shelf liner even makes great place mats itself. Cut the laminate from the clear shelf paper while cutting the design from printed shelf paper.

When trimming the edges of the laminate stay at least an inch away from the inside design. To heat the laminate place a towel over the project and heat with a low iron.

When trimming

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