A Sentimental Family Place Mat DIY

This isn't just décor - it's a conversation piece, too!

Create a Thanksiving to remember at home this year with this DIY – filled with purpose and sentimental value.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Assorted fabrics or shirts of choice
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • pencil
  • Safety pins
  • Needle and strong thread
  • Rotary cutter – optional
  • Self healing mat – optional

This is a DIY that is close to my heart. With Thanksgiving coming up and the change of seasons having us in clean up mode, opt to make these placemats using material from the girls old crib sheets. It’s a great way to make an heirloom piece as well that can be handed down as well, a nice keepsake. You can also use old shirts or even extra fabric scraps if you have them.

1. Select Fabric and Cut 1″ Strips

Start off cutting the sheet into 1” strips because you wanted a thinly braided mat.  Using a pencil and ruler to make the lines on the fabric and my rotary cutter and self-healing mat. A rotary cutter is great because it’s an easy way to cut fabric. Alternatively, you can use scissors to cut your fabric.  

You can definitely go wider if you want a chunkier braid if that’s the look want to go for! Also just a quick note – if you’re using t-shirts, fold the shirts in half down the front. Using scissors, cut down one of the sides. Cut off the bottom hem, then cut the shirt into your strips. Repeat for all the shirts.


2. Start Braiding

Next up you would get three strips, and sew the ends of the strips together. Tape your strips to a table or pin them to a surface like a sofa and start braiding strips together.

Crafty tip: securing the end makes it easy to work the braid


3. Adding New Strips

Crafty tip: think about mixing up the strips for a multi colour effect

When you get to the end of the strips fold the end over about a half of an inch and snip a small slit into the strip that’s ending making a small hole. Do the same to the new strip and lay the new strip on top of the end strip lining up the holes. Thread the strip, add a few strip of fabric. Thread the end of the new strip through the holes of that you sniped and voila! Your string is extended!


4. Sew Your Mat

Crafty tip: use a high quality thread in a color that matches closely to your fabric

So you continue braiding and adding new strips until your braided rope is long enough for the mat you want to make. Have your needle and thread ready and fold about 1.5″ of the braid back over on itself and wrap braid into a small coil. Stitch together the sides that are touching. Spiral the braid around, stitching in place as you go. It’s ok if your stitches show because this will be the underside of your placemat. Your mat will look like this as you continue coiling your braid and sewing.


4.  Finish You Mat

Crafty tip: use the same technique for all types of mats or rugs

When you get to the end of your braid, decide if your placemat is large enough. If it is not large enough, you can braid in more strips, and keep going. Once your mat is large enough, trim the ends, tuck them to the back, then stitch in place.

Flip over your braided rug – you’re all done! Repeat this for your other mats and your ready to set your table just like I have mine ready to go here! You even made little coasters and napkin rings using the same braiding and stitching technique using some of the girls old tee shirts so your options are endless! I added a centrepiece to the table and place cards with thanksgiving inspiration to our table and we’re good to go!