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Artful Place Mats | Pretty Place Mats

Artful Place Mats

Total Time Needed: 1 Hour

A simple stencil technique allows your toddler free expression while painting these one-of-a-kind gifts - and results in near-perfect designs. She'll be proud as a peacock to see them grace a friend or relative's holiday table.



  • Ruler and pencil
  • Pinking shears and scissors
  • 1 yard fray-proof multipurpose cloth (we used Roc-lon)
  • Con-Tact paper
  • Cardboard
  • Craft knife
  • Newspaper
  • Fabric paints and brushes
  • Paper plate


1. Use the ruler, pencil, and pinking shears to mark and cut six 14- by 18-inch rectangles from the cloth.

2. From the Con-Tact paper, cut 6 rectangles slightly larger than the mats. Then cut out cardboard templates of such holiday shapes as ball ornaments (circles), dreidels, trees, and stars.

3. Trace the templates onto the Con-Tact paper rectangles and cut out the shapes with a craft knife (a parent's job). One rectangle at a time, peel off the backing and stick the Con-Tact paper onto a mat. Be sure to press out all the bubbles to prevent the paint from bleeding later.

4. Cover your work surface with newspaper. Then squeeze some of the fabric paints onto a paper plate, give your child a brush, and show her how to fill in the shapes with a dabbing motion.

Step 5 - Artful Place Mats

5. Carefully peel away and discard the Con-Tact paper and, when the designs are dry, add other painted details, such as ornament hooks.