Makin’ it: Easy photo placemats

by on April 3, 2012

in Crafty,Prenatal,Toddler

This is a quickie craft project to turn a stack of photos, like the ones my mom is always sending me, into personalized placemats for sloppy eaters. We have several of these and they make me very happy.

Finished placemat right side up, being tested

Finished placemat, getting put to the test

My cousins originally created unique placemats that were photo collages of my life and Alec’s life up until the moment we were engaged as a bridal shower favor. Each side of the family had provided pictures of our babydom and childhood and they were intermixed with more recent photos of us together. We ate off of them during the bridal shower and were sent home with a stack of 12 one-of-a-kind placemats.

When Holden graduated from the feeding chair to eating at the table with us, we busted out the placemats to catch his food-overflow. He loves them because he can see his extended family every morning (as well as baby-daddy, little-kid-mommy, and other younger characters from his life).

In the interest of full disclosure, Alec hates these placemats because they showcase some of his geekier looks (boy in cage, boy with huge hair, and mismatched boy of the seventies) while I think they’re charming (me at prom, me looking remarkably like my son, me with good hair, and me with my dad).

I created a few more current placemats so I could share the technique with you. Holden and Milo love seeing themselves in pictures over breakfast!

Collage in progress

Collage in progress

Here are the steps to creating your own custom photo placemats:

  1. Gather materials: a stack of photos, scissors, glue stick (or tape), and some construction paper.
  2. Snip and layout a simple collage. Glue it down. If your kids (or relatives) are score-keepers, make sure each page is a fair balance of your cast of characters.
  3. Bring to Kinko’s FedExOffice for lamination. Request that they leave a 1/2 inch border of laminant around your work to keep them water-tight. My first effort (pictured above) had only 1/4 inch and that’s not as good.
All ready for lamination

All ready for lamination

Variations:

  • Kid art. Use some of your favorite kid art and laminate that. Make sure to label Picasso’s name and date.
  • Educational. Why not laminate a map or label some pictures with vocabulary words?
  • Proper place-setting. I don’t know about you, but I still forget where the fork, knife, spoon goes in relation to the cup. What about drawing outlines for these so your kid can learn correctly?
  • Freestyle. What else have you seen that you immediately wanted to copy? Can you draw something awesome? Print out a coloring sheet? Write simple words in a foreign language? Draw a family tree?

You can lay them out in the span of one nap and drop them off on a walk to pick up another time.

Once you get the hang of these, you’ll have your own bright ideas. Please share them in the comments to inspire us!

Not interested in cheesy placemats? Find one of our other Makin’ It simple DIY projects.

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RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on 510families.com or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.

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