Painted Burlap Placemats: a Tutorial

If you’ve been a reader here for awhile, you might remember a tutorial I shared awhile ago on The Southern Institute: painted burlap placemats.  I never posted the full tutorial here on my blog, so I’m sharing it today.  They are perfect for a simple, quick handmade gift!

  1. Measure and cut your burlap.  You can use a placemat you have on hand as a guide or just eyeball it.  I cut mine about 16in. x 22in.  Keep in mind that the placemat will end up being a little bit smaller than you cut it, plus you want to leave a little margin for error (burlap can be tricky to cut in straight lines!)
  2.  Zig-zag stitch about one inch in from the edge of the burlap, all around the placemat.

    When you are sewing around the edges, be sure to back stitch at the beginning and then again at the end.  When you reach a corner (leaving about an inch to go before the edge), don’t take your needle out.  Leave it in and pivot your burlap to continue sewing on the next side.

  3. After you have zig-zagged around all four edges, trim each side of the burlap to make sure they’re all even.  Be careful to cut the burlap as straight as you can
  4. Now you’re going to fray your edges.  Carefully pull out the loose threads of burlap – the ones that are parallel to the side you are fraying.
  5. As you are fraying the sides, you may occasionally come to a spot where the burlap thread won’t pull anymore because it has been sewn into your zig-zig stitch.
    When this happens just trim close to the zig-zag stitch- but don’t cut through that!
    This is what your placemat edges will look like when they are all frayed.
  6. Now you get to add your paint accents! You can free hand paint or use freezer paper stenciling. I recommend using freezer paper, because you’ll get a much cleaner line. I’ve done it free hand, but it doesn’t look quite as nice.If you’re going the freezer paper route, draw your image onto the dull side of the paper, use a sharp paper cutting tool to cut it out, then iron it onto your burlap, shiny side down.

  7.  Then use fabric paint to paint over your freezer paper!  Let it dry some before pulling the paper off your placemat.  If you pull carefully, you should be able to re-use your freezer paper stencil for your other placemats as well.
  8. Let the paint dry completely and set the table with your beautiful new placemats!
  9. Pair them up with some cloth napkinsto add a fun new look to your dinner table!

These are fun to make for holiday decor or lovely for everyday use as  well!  Tomorrow I’m going to share another quick and easy handmade gift.  Because I can’t be the only one still making gifts, right…?

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