Heads up guys, this DIY placemat idea is for the true DIY-enthusiast! Sure, you’ll definitely save some money with this project because all it takes is weaving some raffia which is super cheap. But this DIY placemat is all about the sheer joy of making things instead of buying them.
Why the heads up? Well, it takes at least an hour to make one and you’ll usually need several to set the table! If you’re OK with that, then it’s a really nice project to make in the spring or summer when the weather gets better. You can bask in the sun while braiding the raffia, it’s very relaxing.
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For this DIY placemat, you’ll need…
Step 1: Braid the raffia cord
To start, take a bunch of raffia and braid it into a cord that is about 3/4″ (2cm) thick. When your raffia runs out, just weave new lengths in and continue braiding until you have 13 feet (4m) of cord. Braid loosely to make the cord grow fast. It works up very quickly!
When you’re done, cut the ends that are sticking out where you weaved in more raffia.
Step 2: Start the DIY placemat coil
First, cut one end of the cord short, close the braid and apply a few drops of hot glue. Wait until the glue has cooled down and press it between your fingers to secure the end of the cord.
Then, coil the end around itself, like in the picture above, and apply some glue. Keep holding the coil until the glue has dried!
Step 3: Coil the cord
To grow the coil, wrap the cord around and apply a line of glue to hold the coil together.
As you’re wrapping the raffia cord, keep check of the shape of the placemat. The coil should remain circular.
When you reach the end of the cord, assess the size of your placemat. Literally, go fetch a plate and cutlery and lay them on the placemat so you can really see whether the size is suitable. If you want a plate charger, stop when it’s large enough for your dining plate. However, if you prefer a true placemat, work it up until you can place both plate, glass, and cutlery on the surface of the placemat.
What happens if you want the placemat to be a little larger but you run out of raffia? It’s OK, this happened to me too. I simply braided a few more feet of raffia and started to coil the new cord right where I finished the other. The joint is pretty much invisible. I have to look really hard to find the place where I added the new cord and I’m quite sure I can only find it because I made it!
Step 4: Hide the end of the cord
Once your placemat is the right size for you, taper the end of the cord with a pair of sharp scissors. Then, just fold the raffia at the back of the placemat and apply a few drops of hot glue to hold them in place. This tucking in is almost invisible!
That’s all! These are the perfect placemats for a round table but you can also make just one to use as a centerpiece for your summery tablescape!