Monday, November 2, 2009

Holiday Placemats

Good morning, class, who can tell me what this is? No takers? Okay, it's a placemat in the making....
As some of you may have read in the past my tutorial on making hand-painted floorcloths, you know the basics of priming heavy-weight canvas on both sides, in order to prepare it for painting, ending up with a floorcloth..(if you are lucky).
Last Christmas, I did a holiday show, that turned out to be more like a Fellini film than a Holiday Market (the manager was insane, grabbed my beautiful, glass ball wreath and hurled it across the lobby of the Austin Club, shattering it into a million pieces)..someday, I'll be able to talk about it...(I ended up making him pay for it...)..but, I digress...I did make these holiday placemats for that show, but put them away, and am now bringing them out for our Market Day on the Square show..hopefully, noone will accost me this time.

So, in order to make the placemats, one makes a template (use the dimensions of a regular placemat). I like to use angled corners, so you can take up a bit less space on the table...then, paint both sides with good old latex wall paint..

I decided I wanted to gold-and-silver leaf my placemats, and for those of you who read my tutorial on gold-and-silver leafing, you know that one needs to paint a color (called a bole) under whatever you are gold-or-silver leafing...You have seen picture frames, where there is a bit of red or green (that's the tradional bole) showing through...I chose to paint the bole dark blue...
Then, I had to mask off the areas that I didn't want to be gold where I was silver leafing and visa versa...put on my adhesive sizing...waited until it was tacky (about forty minutes, sometimes, sooner)..I check it by touching it with my knuckle, and if it is sticky, it's time to add the leaf.
You can refer back into the archives for the whole process.
Then, because I am totally insane, I decided to do the center in a combination of gold and silver - actually, if you save your little scraps of both in a plastic bag, you can do this, and it's a good way to use it all up...I am one of those "use everything up" people.
I painted all the "ornaments" and added more gold leaf, and after applying my non-yellowing, water-based varnish (three coats), I pressed teeny-tiny gold stars into the ornaments...Being obsessive-compulsive makes for great detailing...
The placemat above is actually midnight bule, but photographs nearly black...oh yes, I also turned them over, and after spraying them with adhesive, added white felt backing, so as not to mar the tabletop.

These photos don't really do them justice, but I just threw them down on top of a black piece of foamcore in my back yard and shot them...I'm in a bit of a rush today!

These are actually a deep, deep russet..and my favorite.
It took me about six hours to do each one of these, by the time I cut them, primed them, gold-and-silver leafed them, painted the ornaments, and varnished them..oh, and then put the felt on the backing...Will I ever get enough money to justify that...of course not, but I can't do anything half, I will not charge what I think they are worth..heck, maybe I'll just keep them!


  1. Jessica! Did you creat this idea yourself? I love this! I'm trying it for sure this year. I can't wait to do some silver and gold leaf again. I might try a set of each.
    xoxo Kelly

  2. Hey Darlin',
    No, I have seen other placemats, but yes, I did think up (at least I haven't seen it elsewhere) the gold and silver leafing...It's a good way to dress up a table for the holidays...just don't set very hot plates on them, as it probably would melt the varnish..should put a plate under hot bowls of soup (well, one does that anyway)...
    Please put them on your blog if you do, as I'd love to see them.
    A runner is another way to hemming, and you can add more sparkle to it...(someday, I am going to rescue two dogs, and name them "Sparkle" and "Farkle" (poor Farkle"...
    XOXO back atcha..

  3. You know, my neighbor loves runners. I may try to get her to make one while I make the placemats. She would love it! Farkle...You are TOO FUNNY!
    Are you still having trouble commenting on blogs?

  4. Sometimes, it depends on if it is one of my "followers", or someone I've just read and wanted to comment...
    Put in the bid for the Market, had to just throw it out there by 1 p.m. today...I only met with them on Thursday, and my resources all were out on Friday - and they are in California, so it's been quite the day.
    Going to sit on my heating pad and paint glass..want to join me (I have wine)..

  5. As an addendum...please prime the canvas before cutting it to the finished size (it can be close to it, but not exactly), as it will "draw up" and distort a bit...

  6. I love wine. I'll be having some with you. OK, I'll prime first. Stay warm.
    xoxo Kelly :)

  7. Jessica,

    Your place mats are fabulous!!!!!!!!! Great job!! I have to try something artistic soon!!! hmmmmmmm... LOL I will have to give it some thought!

    Donna M

  8. Thanks Donna...I am sure you will come up with something brilliant.