DIY: Handcrafted Placemats

Follow these steps to make customized placemats for your home using fabric and dye.
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.