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Give your place mats a second life with these creative ideas.

Unusual uses for placemats
Who knew? You can use place mats as a wall divider. Photo: Jonathon Fong Style

When I'm shopping for decor, I'm consistently drawn to the misfit aisle. You know, those $3.99 clearance bins overflowing with mismatched items like place mats and hand towels. And since I tend to buy stuff like this all the time, one of my favorite pastimes is figuring out what to do with a set of mismatched items.

Place mats are particularly fun to pull for these types of projects, since you can do so much with them. Next time you come across an odd number of clearance place mats, or maybe just a pair made with a lovely fabric, here are some crafty things you can do with them.

Unusual Use #1: Wall Decor and Dividers
With a few packages of clasps and an eye for arrangement, you can transform square or circular place mats into eye-catching wall dividers and displays. Just drill or punch a hole into the top and bottom of each place mat and link them by hanging hooks or clamps to binder rings or fishing swivels.

Bonus idea: Placed over a clear shower curtain lining, they can double as bathroom decor. Or try waterproof plastic place mats as an outdoor patio or garden wall. Check out your local hardware store or Ball Chain for the supplies you'll need to secure them at top and bottom.

Unusual Uses for PlacematsCourtesy of: mmmcrafts

Unusual Use #2: Pillows and Tote Bags
Fabric place mats offer endless possibilities for decorative textiles. Shop the place mat section of home design stores (online too!) and build your own throw pillow at a fraction of the price by stitching the sides together. If the place mat has a complicated design that would be challenging to line up, consider covering a pillow with a bold, solid case and centering the place mat design for a crisp, eye-catching effect. One crafty blogger used Anthropologie place mats to make the stylish throw pillows to the left.

Bonus Idea: Cute cotton or polyester fabric place mats can make great tote bags too!

Unusual Use #3: Pops of Color
When it comes to place mat shapes, who says one size fits all? With a good pair of scissors, plastic or polypropylene place mats can be cut down to all shapes and sizes to make a counter top space more colorful and chic.

A couple of ideas:
- Cut out individual pieces of place mat to line the surface around your kitchen sink. Place everyday items like sponges or scrub brushes on top -- the fabric will absorb excess water and you can easily toss it in the washing machine as needed.
- Skip the boring contact paper and line your cabinets with modern prints.

Unusual Use #4: Decorative Odds and Ends
- Transform one sturdy plastic or cork backed-place mat into a whole stack of decorative drink coasters.
- Size down a plastic place mat into a custom-designer mouse pad.
- Play with place mats of different shapes, colors and textures to infuse a garden space with different designs beneath standard planter pots.
- Pick a simple place mat print and frame it with brightly-colored frames for instant wall art -- great for the kitchen!

Unusual Use #5: Quick Tips for Mastering Place Mat Chic
- If ordering online, always check the fabric and dimensions of the place mat before purchasing and make sure the fabric matches the project. Cotton fabric place mats are better for bags and pillow covers while plastic, lacquered and polypropylene place mats are better suited for cutting, crafting and cleaning.

Now, ever wonder what you could do with Velcro? Check out our story on unusual uses for the hook-and-loop tape.

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  • Charlene

    On another note, I used a plastic placemat under our cat's food and water dish. Easy to clean.

  • Bonbon

    Can't believe they left out sewing two quilted cotton placemats together, add a button and elastic loop and you've got a great casserole carrier.

  • roxann

    They make good mouse pads also

  • KarenS

    thin braided ones make a great coaster for my garbage can on my hardwood floors in the kitchen. it also catches spills and toss-overs from the garbage and protects the floor from splashes and spills.

  • Susan

    Thanks for the articlel and for the folks who shared uses. Never thought much about repurposing placements, but I sure will now!

  • Momof2

    I was looking for a rug for my motorhome bathroom and my son and I walked through the kitchen section and he picked up a placemat and said "Look this is the size of the floor!" and he was right - it is a perfect fit!

  • 6 Comments / 1 Pages

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