How to Make a Chair Rail Using Place Mats

Try this chair rail as a quick treatment to cover dents and dings in your wall.
By: Lisa Price

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The clock was ticking on a Friday night and I needed a fast solution to cover up dents and dings in my dining room wall for a get-together, with no time to patch and paint. Here's a quick and easy way to cover your wall by creating a chair rail to match your decor.

Just start by selecting a stack of place mats (I used inexpensive bamboo mats with black accents from Pier1 ), attach them to a ribbon using a staple gun, and you've got clean walls and an updated look in about 15 minutes.

Materials and Tools:

placemats — number varies on wall and mat length
measuring tape
thin-lead mechanical pencil with eraser
push pins
staple gun and staples
1-1/2-inch wide grosgrain ribbon and double-sided adhesive (optional)

Steps:

1. Determine how you want to place the mats on the wall: end-to-end, side-by-side or mix it up, turning every other one so they line up side-to-end, as illustrated. A sketch is helpful in making this decision.

2. Measure the length of the wall and, based on how you're planning to position the mats, determine how many mats you'll need to go across the wall. If the combined length of the mats falls short of dividing evenly into the wall measurement, plan to begin and end the chair rail with equal spaces. If desired, you can embellish these spaces with a length of ribbon.

3. Using a thin-lead mechanical pencil, lightly mark a straight line on the wall where you want the top of the chair rail.

4. Using the penciled line as a guide, position the mats on the wall, tacking them up temporarily with push pins.

5. If opting to mix the orientation of the mats, you may need to draw a second line to help position the second placement or use a measuring tape to help set the mats evenly.

6. Continue until all of the mats are on the wall, snugging the edges of the mats tightly together.

7. Once the mats are in place, center a length of ribbon in the spaces at the ends of the rail if desired, using double-sided tape to hold it in place.

8. Use a staple gun to attach mats to the wall. I used four staples in each mat and placed them where they were most camouflaged by mat design. Erase any visible pencil marks.

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