Monday, November 18, 2013

Put a Cork in it! (Cork Place Mats)

A while ago, I found this amazing table that I fell in love with almost instantly. It's an antique folding table that has a healthy dose of wear and tear and was buried beneath a protective force field of dirt. Through all that I could see the diamond in the rough. I bought it, forced it to fit into my car, cursed my sedentary life choices while drudging it up the stairs to my apartment, and cleaned it up a bit. Now it's one of my favorite pieces of furniture. I'm having so much coming up with accessories and centerpieces. The most recent incarnation of "table dress-up" has been these very simple cork place mats.

I bought a roll of thin cork a while ago for a project that never happened. I'm pretty excited to let it live out it's crafty destiny in some way finally. The timing just happened to work out around Thanksgiving. This would easily be a fun project to keep kids busy while they are waiting for Turkey time AND teach them some basic sewing.

You Will Need:

4 pieces of thick cardboard, cut to 12"x18" rectangles (I used a furniture box)
1 roll of thin cork, large enough to cut 4-12"x18" rectangles
box cutter
writing utensil
yarn of your choice
yarn needle
*optional: hole punch, decoupage roller

First cut your cork and cardboard to size. This was easiest to do using a SHARP box cutter. Make sure you cut the cork very carefully or it will tear. Not that it happened to me.*

*That is exactly what happened to me. 

Pour a thin amount of glue on the cardboard, focusing on the edges and corners with a large x through the center. I used a foam brush to smooth it out the first few but found that to be unnecessary. Line up the cork to the edges and press it to the cardboard. If you have a decoupage roller, you can use that to smooth the cork down. If not, just use your hands. They work too. After gluing I trimmed the edges with a box cutter again to make sure everything lined up perfectly.

Use your ruler and writing utensil on the back (the cardboard side) to draw a line an inch away from the edge all the way around. If you have a hole punch (I used my crop-a-dile on the small setting) you can pre-punch holes every quarter to half inch or so. You can just skip this step and get your yarn on if you're impatient but punching holes in advance makes the sewing go much faster. Double thread your yarn needle and start in a corner. You'll stitch all around the edges on the line. When the yarn runs out, just double thread your needle again and tie the ends tightly onto the old piece in the place mat. It makes for a pretty easy transition. 

Once you're done stitching the edges, tie the yarn to itself and flip it over. Admire your handiwork and subtly encourage those around you to compliment it.

Do you already have your Thanksgiving table all planned out? Is there room for a handmade addition or is it full of family pieces? I'd love to know!


P.S. A sneak preview of tomorrow's project...


  1. Sheila, I just love your posts - I can hear your sweet little voice through the writing!

    Miss you!

    1. Awe shucks! So glad to hear you enjoy them :) Thanks for reading! Miss you too!


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