Placemats are very fun to personalize if you have the time to make it special and your own. Even if you consider yourself a butterfingers with sewing, you can still make something warm and inviting for your table with a little crafty ingenuity. Here are five great ways to make personality-filled placemats.

Pocket Party

A knife and fork can be the star of your placemat. What about making a simple pocket for a cute, upbeat look? You can start by making a placemat made out of your favorite fabric. To begin, make a flat placemat by cutting 18 1/2″ by 14 1/2″ with your favorite fabric, iron it so it’s nice and neat – and truly that size! – then fold down a quarter inch on all sides and press the edges. If you can sew or have access to a sewing machine, use that to finish the hem here, but if you’re not that big into sewing – no worries! We gotcha covered! Just place a hem tape between the folded edges and iron over the hem. You can find hem tape from your local craft store or even a Wal-Mart. If you’re not sure what exactly to ask for, one brand, for instance, is called Witchery Stitchery so you could ask for that or something similar. Repeat this step to create the back of the placemat, and join the two rectangles by either sewing or using the hem tape. Now, once you have your flat, finished placemat, then you can use the same fabric – or a new one that matches! – to cut a 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ pocket to hold your knife and fork, making sure to give this one a quarter inch seam and attaching to what will be the front of your placemat. There you have it! A cute as a button little pocket pal for your utensils. This is especially good if you want to create a personalized picnic basket – just add your utensils, roll them up, and use a decorative ribbon to hold the rolls in place and voila! The perfect cute little picnic pals. LOVE IT!

Chalk It Up To Fun

Chalkboard paint can be used to make any surface a chalkboard. Why not use them to make the fun kind of surface for your outdoor gatherings? You could even write in guests’ names in the chalk where they’re supposed to sit – that’s a great, fun touch for an outdoor wedding or even having friends over! To make this, you want to start with a firm surface, so pick a thicker material, say a cardboard, posterboard – even luan if you have some! – to the 18×14 dimensions (or bigger or smaller, depending on your preference). Then get some chalkboard paint from the hardware store. Paint the top and there you go! The perfect way to start a fun night with I bet at least one game of hangman or tic tac toe.

Yee Haw! Cowboy Placemats!

You can use a piece of jute coiled in a circle until it becomes a flat, finished disc to an inch past your biggest plate size. To estimate, I’ve seen a 34″ piece of jute yield a 13″ diameter disc placemat. Then just use hot glue to keep the jute together. By far the simplest placemat on this list, but also adds a great either down home cowboy or a warm beachy feel to any dining room or fiesta.

Pop Up Pals

If you can go to a stationary store, you can make this playful placemat. Simply buy a sheet of your favorite stationary, then cut out the silhouette of a “Pop Up Pal” – say a puppy or a kitten or a bunny for an Easter decoration or even a Christmas tree to make a mat that’s super cute. Make sure to leave the bottom of your “Pop Up Pal” connected so that when you fold it up, you can see it pop up above the placemat. If you wanted to use this trick for an outdoor wedding, why not use initials or a heart? Talk about a cute, low cost way to make everything very, very inviting!

Beady Beauty

Why not upgrade the tablecloths you already own? If you have a simple tablecloth already but just want to jazz it up, you can lay a strip of your favorite craft glue a half inch from both sides on the front of the placemat, then drizzle it with your favorite beads, sequins, or a stretch of a fun ribbon. This is a simple, fun, and relatively low cost way to turn what you already love up a notch and really come out and play.

There you have it! Happy decorating and may your next function be a much more playful party.