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Multiple uses for placemats

By on March 2, 2011

Placemats are expensive to buy new. They’re cheaper to buy secondhand or in the clearance aisle at discount department stores. Maybe you’ve come across an odd number of cloth or polypropylene placemats while shopping. Or you might have older placemats that you haven’t used in a long time. They can still be used in ways other than on your dining table.
How have you used placemats around your home? Here are some ideas.



A placemat can serve as a mat to catch some of the litter on your cat’s paws. One reader, Angela, from Virginia, shares: “One of my cats is a flinger when she eats. (The others sometimes leave crumbs but never throws the food.) I have a cheap plastic placemat under the food dish and dump the food back in their bowl whenever I pass by.”


A neat alternative to buying lacing cards for kids is making them out of vinyl placemats. There are tons available that are inexpensive. Just punch some holes into it with a hole punch, you can use yarn or shoelaces to lace them up.


A spare placemat can be used to decorate the outside of your mailbox. Simply cut strips from magnetic sheets, adhere to your placemat and attach to your mailbox. You can make a few to change out for the seasons.


Use placemats to make curtains, purses or even as reusable sandwich wraps. Visit and for tutorials.


Line a drawer or shelf with a placemat. You can remove it easily to wipe up spills, or remove and wash at any time. This can be a practical solution in your pantry, on a refrigerator or laundry detergent shelf or to line a kitchen or cosmetics drawer. Cloth or plastic placemats can be used on your end tables for added flair or as protective barrier underneath a planter, drinking glass or electronics, too. And speaking of electronics, you can use a polypropylene one as a computer mouse pad.


Use a placemat to kneel on when gardening, place on a bench before you sit down or use outside a tent, on your porch or in your garage for muddy shoes.


Sew two quilted placemats together and you can slide a hot dish inside. Makes a nice carrier to bring a dish to a neighbor or for a potluck.


Stuff and sew and you’ve got cute toss pillows to add a pop of color in a room.


Keep a plastic placemat in your kitchen. You can cut it to any size or shape you want to fit. One works well in front of the toaster, under the coffeemaker or as a spoon rest. Kids can use one when playing with play dough or clay, too. You can use it to chop vegetables and it bends, so you can transfer the vegetables to your pan or bowl easily.


Cut cloth placemats and make bibs. Here are a couple of tutorials that show you how.


Place on the top and arms of your sofa chair and use as a head and arm rest to protect your furniture from being worn or soiled in those areas.

photo by joris leermakers


  1. Mary Carney

    3/4/2011 at 3:54 pm

    I have a patterned bedspread that has a shade of green in the print I just couldn’t match anywhere until I found a fabric placemat in that color. Voila’! I placed one under the lamp on each bedside table, and another atop the dresser. It looks really put-together now! Total cost? $3.00!!

  2. Shirley

    3/10/2011 at 8:49 pm

    I used a heavy weight fabric placemat and folded it in half, long ways,stitched both ends and dividers. Perfect purse organizer.

  3. CeCe

    3/9/2012 at 10:53 pm

    I use a red placemat as the “naughty spot” for kids’ timeouts. It’s perfect because I can move it around the house. We have even taken it on vacation with us. It cost me all of 33 cents at Walgreens during the 2008 Christmas season.

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