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Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats


By Prev Info - January 13, 2023

 Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

Did you make potato stamps when you were in elementary school? We did, and we made them at home, too. They were simple to make and easy to use. Our creations adorned the refrigerator and decorated the windows during the holidays. Wouldn’t it be fun to stamp on something more permanent? More useful? Like a set of autumn placemats.

Supplies

  • 3/4 yard burlap (makes four placemats)
  • 1 yard iron-on craft backing
  • Grosgrain ribbon or bric-a-brac in a contrasting color
  • Craft foam
  • Colored ink stamp pads
  • Glue
  • Scissors and craft knives
  • Ironing board and iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Fall Leaves template

Instructions

Making potato stamps was such fun when I was a kid. I'd like to use a similar technique to make autumn-themed placemats for Thanksgiving. First, I need a good template, then I'm off to stamp around in the leaves.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

1 - Here's the template I found, called Fall Leaves. I like the simplicity of the leaves and the little acorn. I think they'll make good stamps. But first, I'll make the placemats. 

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

2 - I chose burlap for the placemats. It's earthy and comes in rich colors, but it's tricky to work with because the weave is so loose. Always cut just one layer at a time, choosing and cutting along a single thread line. Open burlap to a single layer and line up fabric as straight as possible on your cutting surface. (A grid-imprinted cutting board is a great friend when cutting burlap.) Mark and cut a 12-inch by 18-inch rectangle.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

3 - Cut a 10-inch by 16-inch piece of iron-on craft backing. Following the manufacturer's instructions, center the backing on the burlap placemat and fuse with iron.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

4 - Starting an inch or two from any corner, turn the cut end of the ribbon under and pin around the perimeter of the placemat. When you reach a corner, flip the ribbon and continue down the other side. Don't cut the ribbon when you get back to the start point. Leave it uncut and out of the way until you've stitched the outside edge. That's because the ribbon will stretch naturally as you stitch it and you can ease and adjust it to keep it straight as you go.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

5 - Stitch around the outside edge of the ribbon. For crisp, neat corners, keep your needle in the fabric when you come to the end of a side. Lift the pressure foot, turn and align the fabric, lower the foot and stitch the next edge.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

6 - When your stitching reaches the place you started, cut the ribbon 1/2-inch longer, turn under the cut end and finish stitching the outside edge. Backstitch across both ends. Iron the placemat from the back side, then stitch around the inside edge.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

7 - To make the fringe, pull individual strands away from each edge until fringe is your desired length.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

8 - Download the template, re-size it to the perfect size, and print. Cut a shape out of the paper template, trace it onto craft foam and use a sharp, pointed craft knife to cut out the foam shape. You could also trace around a real leaf. TIP: a clean smooth edge is only important for the side of the stamp that is being inked, since the back side will be glued to a stamping block. So don't worry if the bottom of the foam shape is a bit ragged.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

9 - Use a sharp, pointed knife blade to carefully carve out the details of your stamp. To finish your stamp, cut a block of foam a bit larger than your design. Apply glue to the back of the stamp and stick it to the foam block.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

10 - Test your stamps on scrap pieces to get a good feel for the amount of ink and the pressure needed for good impressions. Darker colors work better on burlap; I tried gold ink, but it didn't show up well. Don't press too hard when inking your stamp, or you'll get ink on the stamping block like you can see on the corner of the acorn stamp in this photo. This could show up as "ghost lines" around the image on your placemat.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

11 - I layered the colors to create new tones; the brown acorns were stamped first in red, then carefully re-stamped in green. TIP: Acid-free pigment inks blend well to create the new color on burlap when they're still wet. BIG BUT: If you don't clean your stamps when you switch colors, you could change the pigment in your stamp pad. Green pigment on a red stamp pad? OUCH! My bright holiday red is now rusty-browny and I'm adding a new pad of red ink to my craft store shopping list.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

12 - Here's my first try. I kept it simple just to get the hang of it.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

13 - I got a little bolder on my second placemat. That's because I made a stamping mistake: I put too much pressure on my craft foam when inking it, then pressed too hard when I stamped. The result was a "ghost line" near my impression. I covered it up by adding other leaves around the design. Check your stamp after you've inked it; if there's ink on the block, use a paper towel to wipe it off before your make the next impression.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

14 - Number three is all about the randomness of falling leaves. For variety, some stamps overlap, others go over the ribbon and onto the fringe.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

15 - For the final placemat, I resized the templates and made stamps for larger oak leaves and acorns and used my small acorn stamp in the corners.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

16 - Placemats should be like the guests who sit before them: unique enough to make them interesting and similar enough to make them compatible. With just a few homemade stamps, the possibilities are endless.

Fall Leaves Stamped Placemats

17 - The natural color and texture of burlap adds an earthy feel to the table. I toned down the whiteness of my plates by adding brick-red napkins and tying them with bundles of the long burlap threads pulled from the fringes.






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