How to Weave Holiday Place Mats and Napkin Rings
Place mats and napkin rings made with holiday-themed paper make a great table setting during the holidays. Follow these instructions on how to make them yourself.
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For the rings made to go with the placemats, I used eight strips of folded shiny red paper and eight strips of matte green paper.
I had hoped to make the mats in the same manner as the napkin rings, but because I never learned how to weave the rows together, I resorted to the old fashioned way of just weaving. However, to give added strength and body to the strips, I cut them four times wider than I desired the finished strips to be and folded them lengthwise, as I did the strips for the napkin ring. You will notice that the directions are written for the full-sized red and green mat; however the step-by-step photos are made with sized strips cut from an all-over floral pattern. I hope the differences will not confuse you.
The 12" x 18" size is not only a standard size for many placemats, but it is perfect for using the 30-inch-wide gift wrapping paper, as the horizontal strips are all 18 inches long and the vertical strips are 12 inches in length. It certainly makes cutting easier.
Materials and Tools:
wrapping paper (we used red foil and flat green)
cutting mat with grid
1. Cut 18 green 12" x 4" strips and 12 red foil 18" x 4" strips.
2. Cut four additional strips of red foil wrapping paper: Two are cut to 18" x 4-1/4" and two are cut to 12" x 4-1/4." Fold each of these strips as directed in the next step, keeping in mind that these strips will end up being slightly wider than 1 inch when finished. These are the strips that will edge the placemat and give it a finished look with no raw edges showing.
3. Fold each strip as follows: Fold in half lengthwise so that you have 18 green 12" x 2" strips and 12 red 18" x 2" strips. Open each strip flat and fold the long sides to the middle. Fold each strip in half again (lengthwise) so that you end up with 18 green 12" x 1" strips and 12 red 18" x 1" strips. By folding this way, you have sturdy strips with no raw edges showing.
4. Begin weaving as follows: Lay one of the 18-inch folded red 'edging' strips (from the previous step, above) along one of the top gridlines on your cutting mat. This will help keep your weaving straight. The folded edge should be on top lined up on the gridline. Glue each of the 18" x 1" red strips inside this folded edge. These strips should be glued vertically to the bottom (underneath) only of the edge strip.
5. Pick up one 12" x 1" green strip and weave it over and under the red strips. Push this first green strip all the way to the top of the red strips, just touching the bottom of the red edge strip.
7. Trim any excess edges from the sides and bottom when you are finished weaving.
8. Glue the 12-inch red 'edging' strips to each side. We found it easier to put glue on the inside bottom of the 'edging' strip, glue the woven strips to that, and then put glue on the top inside of the 'edging' strip to glue the top of the woven strips down.
9. Fold and glue the top 'edging' strip down.
10. Glue the remaining 18-inch red 'edging' strip on the bottom of the placemat.
11. You have the option of spraying your placemats with a clear sealant or brushing on a clear acrylic coating. At least two coats are recommended.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Even with the heavier weight paper, some is very inclined to crack at the corners. It is strongly recommended to make corner protectors. Cut the corners from several envelopes so that you have triangles to slip over each corner of your mats.
When you have the size and fit you want, cover each triangle with a piece of the gift wrapping paper and slip it back over the corner. It may be secured with a piece of double-stick tape.
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