This is a fun, easy, rewarding project for those who still have leaves falling, or on the ground. Or perhaps you’ve collected some and you’re not sure what to do with them. Making a placemat will allow you to enjoy them for years to come. Even small children can be involved in this project by gathering leaves and helping with the design. You’ll need:
Iron-on flexible vinyl, available in fabric stores by the roll. It is made by Heat’n Bond or Therm O Web.
Medium-weight white cotton fabric, about 3/4 yard per placemat.
Your favorite Fall leaves.
A phone directory or other heavy book.
1. Gather some wonderful, colorful leaves that have fallen.
2. Place them in a phone directory, or other thick book to flatten them. Put them toward the back of the book, so there will be enough pages over them to press them. Make sure you leave space between the leaves, and space between leaves and the book’s fold. Leaves will be flat in a couple of days.
3. Cut fabric rectangles, 2 inches larger all around than you want your final placemat to be. I cut my fabric into 20″x 13″ pieces, to make 18″ x 11″ placemats. For the exact shape, I traced the outline of an existing placemat, which had rounded edges. Turn the fabric pieces over and make occasional guide marks 2″ around from the outside edges, lightly with a pencil.
4. Turn the fabric right-side-up again and play with the placement of the leaves. When you are happy with the way they look, you will be ready to iron the vinyl down. Don’t forget to leave more than a 2″ space all around your design.
5. Heat your iron. Peel the backing off the vinyl and place it sticky-side-down onto the leaves. Smooth the vinyl with your hands, then iron it onto the fabric, following package directions.
6. When the fabric is cool, turn over and cut according to your guidelines. For further sturdiness, you can iron vinyl onto the back of the placemat as well. Admire and use your placemats for years to come.
Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman