Saturday, July 14, 2007

Woven paper placemats

placemat_woven_11 placemat_woven_13


  • A pattern for the frame (download PDF)
  • A pattern for the strips (download PDF)
  • Two pieces of 8.5" x 11" paper of contrasting colour or pattern
  • should you wish, materials for decorating or laminating your placemat


  1. print out the each of the above patterns (PDF file*) and transfer the pattern to your desired material or print it out as a practise run (be sure to check the specifications of your printer before printing on unusual media -- using "out of spec" materials can cause permanent damage to your printing hardware)

  2. start with the paper that will be the placemat frame

  3. fold it in half lengthwise

  4. cut along the dotted lines started from the folded edge toward the open edge (make sure you stop before you get to the open edge!)

  5. when you're finished cutting all the lines, open the paper out

  6. put the frame aside and take the sheet of paper with the template for the strips

  7. cut along the dotted lines right across the page

  8. until you have a fist full of strips

  9. take the frame and orient it so that the longest section is vertical. Then take a strip and begin to weave it over and under through the frame

  10. once it's through to the other end, gently push the strip down to the bottom edge as far as it will go. Start with the second strip -- if the first strip started over, the second strip should start under. (And vice versa.)

  11. gently snug the second next to the first strip

  12. keep going until you've run out of room on your frame

  13. depending on how tightly the strips were snugged, you may have a handful of strips left over

  14. should you wish to decorate (paint, marker, crayon, glitter) do so before you laminate (should you wish to)

Now, if you're tired of being on the straight and narrow, go free-style! The sky is the limit!



  • for people with less patience, make the strips and the slots in the frame wider (for example, cut every other line)
  • if you're going to do a pattern that's not simply straight edges, cut one strip at a time and place it into the frame before you cut the next strip (or number the strips as you cut them so you can keep track of the order)
  • using magazine photos or hand-drawn pictures on either your frame or the strips (or both) can lead to fun results!
  • if you don't like the fold in the middle of the frame, have a responsible adult use an X-Acto type knife and cutting pad to make the cuts with the frame paper flat out


(*) When printing out PDF documents, be sure to set "Page Scaling" to "none" (you'll want the document to print at 100%). You may need to adjust the position of the template on your paper depending on your printer's "offset" settings.

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