Make laminated place mats and you will have long-lasting protectors for a breakfast bar or dining room table. Instead of the store-bought kind that everyone has, your place mats will be unique. They will be personalised with your own choice of theme and design. Making place mats is a great project for the kids, especially on those boring rainy days. It doesn't cost a lot of money or use a lot of tools, and it provides a creative outlet.
Choose a theme for the covered place mats. Here are some suggestions: photos -- family, friends or vacation trips; nature -- use dried leaves or flowers; holidays -- cut out hearts for Valentine's Day, or decorate with old Christmas cards; magazines -- cut out favourite pictures; personal artwork -- draw your own pictures.
Lay the card stock out flat on a hard, clean work surface. Arrange the photos or decorations on it and glue them securely in place. Or, draw your own artwork with markers or crayons. Make as many place mats as you want.
Put the place mats carefully in a folder or between two pieces of stiff cardboard to keep them flat.
Take the place mats to a local office supply store to have them laminated. This will seal, protect and preserve them. Laminated covered place mats are easy to clean. Simply wipe them off with a damp cloth.
Decorate both sides of the place mat to make it reversible, if you choose. Trim photos so they fit on the laminated covered place mat the best. This also saves space. To make all the place mats look alike, use a colour copy machine to make as many reproductions of photos or pictures as you need. Laminating machines that can be used at home can be purchased at office supply stores. The larger machines that can accommodate an 11-inch-by-17-inch place mat cost around £130 at the time of publication.