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DIY: Handcrafted Placemats

Bryan McCay

I've always liked making sun prints but felt limited by the fact that the treated paper always turned midnight blue after exposure to UV light. So I was happy to discover Inkodye, a dye that involves a similar technique but comes in three shades so you can custom mix just about any color. Now I can create handcrafted fabrics for projects that coordinate with my decor. These citrus-hued placemats are a perfect example.


  • Stencil adhesive
  • Plastic stencil (or create your own with Con-Tact paper)
  • White cotton fabric (washed and dried before using)
  • Piece of foam core or cardboard
  • 1-inch foam brush
  • Inkodye
  • Double-sided fusible interfacing
  • Heavy cotton fabric for placemat backing
  • Double-fold bias tape in the color of your choice
  • Iron-on hemming tape (3/8 or 1/2 inch wide)


Step 1

Spray adhesive onto the back of the stencil; let sit for a few minutes. Stretch white cotton fabric over the top of foam core or cardboard and pin it in place. Adhere the sprayed stencil to the fabric.

Step 2

Work in low light to prevent dye from developing. Use a small foam brush to apply a thin, even layer of Inkodye over the exposed areas on the front of the stencil. Blot any excess from the brush onto paper towels before applying.

Step 3

Place the stencil and fabric-covered board outside in direct sunlight for approximately 5 to 6 minutes.

Step 4

Once developed, bring materials indoors, remove stencil and rinse fabric under warm running water to remove excess dye. Wash with a gentle detergent and air-dry at room temperature.

Step 5

Layer ironed, printed fabric over interfacing and backing. Cut out 14 x 19-inch rectangles (a rotary cutter works best). Following manufacturer's directions, fuse interfacing to the back of the printed fabric with an iron. Then iron on the placemat backing.

Step 6

Fold bias tape around sides of placemat and adhere with iron-on hemming tape, folding edges to miter. Repeat on other side.

Originally published in the July 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine.