So you want to throw a garden party but you can’t find the perfect placemat? Or maybe you just can’t imagine shelling out 5 bucks a pop for one placemat.  Well, move over Martha, this summer you can create modish placemats from found materials.

The DIY placemat is a simple solution and the materials pop up in the most unexpected of places.  Last Mother’s Day, I took a trip with my family to The Japanese Garden at the Donald C. Tillman Plant.  I didn’t know what to expect.  It’s a 6 ½ acre oasis, home to native plants, white egrets, lakes, trees, a traditional Japanese tea house, all amidst the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, which processes more than 65 million gallons of sewage daily.

Sounds a bit strange, no?  Well it happens to be incredibly beautiful, and if you’re in Southern California, I definitely recommend a day trip to Van Nuys.

I also didn’t expect to happen upon the perfect found object to make into an ideal outdoor placemat.  It was a map in the gift shop.  It was about the size of a traditional placemat, black matte, with white writing.  There was a drawn map of the garden and a list detailing all the varying plants inside. It was perfect!

The next step is so simple. All you have to do is laminate. Now, some people don’t think laminating is very green, because once paper has been laminated, you can’t ever recycle it.  But if you find something you really love, and make a promise to use it until you can’t fathom ever looking at it’s design again, it’s simple decision. Repurposed maps and repurposed water, how very eco-friendly!

So keep your eyes peeled. You may find your perfect placemat in the most unexpected of places.

-Arianna Schioldager

50 thoughts on “DIY: Summer Placemats

  1. Wow! That is an amazing idea. It is true that laminating a piece of paper will not able it to be recycled but if someone wants to keep a piece of their memories with them forever, it is perfect! :)

  2. Very interesting. Sometimes things that are out of the ordinary can turn into beautiful items reused.

  3. This coment give me an idea.
    I have several postcards from various towns, cities and countries; not only due to those travels that i made, but also post that I receibe from my friends or family… and I think that if I make a collage with those postcards and adding the names of those who gave me the postcards; is going to be an interesting placemat and conversation topic.

  4. I love love love using random pieces of fabrics like scarves or left over scraps and incorporate it into my decor. Im all about reusing and turning something with a great pattern that once was on a dress and hang it on the wall for an amazing piece of “art”. sometimes its the ruggedness and the imperfections of things that attract us even more.

  5. report cards for the kiddies or pictures you love! wow i love this idea. gonna start looking around more

  6. I love this. My daughter’s teacher did this last year for Christmas with her art work she did in class. Which is something I will save forever.

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