How to make your own outdoor table placemats and coasters

With or without a tablecloth, placemats and coasters look great on our outdoor tables, so this month we want to look at how to make your own…

We’ve recently looked at how you can make a tablecloth with and without sewing. Tablecloths are great but they do cover your garden table and, let's be honest, you don’t really need them for our metal outdoor tables

The beautiful intricate metalwork is the reason why many purchase our tables and, if like most of us here at Lazy Susan you don’t like to cover them up, then some stylish homemade placemats and coasters are a fab way to add a little personality and table-setting practicality.

If you want to save a bit of money or just create something that is stylish and unique, then the Lazy Susan team have selected some of our favourite crafty ways to make your own outdoor table placemats and coasters.

We wanted to set ourselves a bit of a challenge too and come up with 10 different materials that would sit perfectly on our garden tables, and that way hopefully we can inspire you to try something new.

1. Fabric

We’ll start with the obvious one and there are a few ways you can make placemats and coasters for your garden table with fabric - depending on how comfortable you are with a sewing machine.

One of the simplest ways to do this is with mitred corners, and that way there’s no visible topstitching so it’s a great option if you’re still honing your sewing machine skills.

We would recommend you line them and go for a fabric that is hardwearing and easy to wash in the machine.

The mitred edge will give you a nice neat finish but if you’re not comfortable sewing, then you could simply fix the hem in place with some iron-on webbing too.

The video below from Notches Sewing shows you how to tackle this project:

Alternatively, if you want to use a more garden-friendly fabric, then the video below from Sailrite utilises their textured vinyl mesh to make some beautiful outdoor placemats and coasters:

2. Slate

Slate works great as a placemat and coaster and it looks great on our metal garden tables (as shown in our main photo above). The key is to make sure the slate does not damage your table, so always back it with some rubber, felt or cork.

The video below from James shows you how to make them from some old roof tiles. You simply clean them up, cut to size, edge, apply some felt pads and buff them up with a little cooking oil:

If you want to give them even more of a personal touch, then Glitter & Graze’s Cricut Personalized Slate Coasters article is an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide that shows you how to etch a design onto the slate with a Cricut Machine.

If you want to learn more about Cricut Machines, then the excellent video below from The DIY Mommy below is a great place to start:

3. Timber 

The contrast of timber against metal is one we just love and they make for a lovely sturdy outdoor coaster and placemat. Again, just back them with a little felt or soft cork as this helps them sit much better on the garden table.

The video below from self-taught garage woodworker YUXIN shows you how to make some simple placemats out of beautiful white oak:

If you wanted to do something a little different, then the video below from Menno l'Abée shows you how to make some cool foldable wooden placemats from some offcuts and minimal tools that would look great on our outdoor tables:

4. Acrylic Resin

Acrylic is another material that is great for outdoor use but many are a little unsure about how to work with it. But acrylic paints, whilst a little messy, are easy and great fun to work with.

The video above from A Sparkly Life for Me shows you how to make some beautiful fluid-effect placemats from poured acrylics:

Alternatively, if you wanted to have a go at pouring your own epoxy resin into moulds then you can get some great kits from places like Hobbycraft and Amazon (above).

Jude over at The Homebird Life has a fab step-by-step tutorial that shows you how to make some beautiful clear craft resin coasters with embedded faux fern stems and fabric daisies (above).

5. Leather 

Leather is another great material for outdoor placemats and coasters because it is both durable and absorbent. It is a tricky material to work with but if you want to learn a new craft skill then it is a great one to pick up.

The video above from Corter Leather shows you how to make a basic coaster from veg-tanned leather, so it is a great place to start if you’re a newbie. They share the pattern and tools needed and explain how to saddle stitch with poly threads to make them nice and strong.

If like us, you’d rather not use real leather, then faux leather is a great alternative for outdoor placemats, and Sallie Tomato’s Reversible Faux Leather Placemats (above) and coasters (below) get a big thumbs up from us as they are simple to make and require no sewing:

6. Upcycled

We have seen some fantastic and innovative items repurposed and upcycled to make coasters and placemats, from vintage tiles to CDs and vinyl records.

However, one of our favourites has to be old denim jeans. They look great and it's the perfect fabric for throwing in the wash as it only gets better with age.

The video above from Vicky Myers shows you can make some stylish patchwork coasters from old scraps of denim.

If you wanted to make use of the pockets as ingenious cutlery holders, then the video above from Nina’s Ideas is the route to take. These reversible placemats would look great on our garden tables and make it easy to carry the cutlery outside.

7. Recycled Paper

As well as upcycling you can make some fantastic coasters and placemats out of recycled paper. It is another great way to unleash some creative craftiness and you can make them fit for purpose by sealing them with a good PVA glue such as the Mod Podge range.

The Paper Crafts video above shows you how to make your own coasters out of old magazines and their step-by-step instructions are easy-to-follow. It is amazing how such simple materials can be transformed into funky multicoloured coasters that would look great on our tables.

Another great example of taking something cheap and simple and turning it into something eye-catching is Handcrafted by Handcrafted Ikchaa above. She takes old newspaper, soaks it in coffee (yes, you read that correctly) and weaves it into some lovely woven placemats/coasters.

8. Terrazzo

Personally speaking, Terrazzo is probably my favourite on this list, but that’s maybe because I went on a course and now our house is full of the stuff haha. 

Terrazzo is basically a composite material that is made from colourful chips (such as marble, quartz, granite or glass) with white cement, eco-resin or jesmonite (a combination of plaster, cement and a water-based resin) and is poured into a mould to form the placemats or coasters.

The great thing is, you can again purchase kits or experiment and make your own. I like to collect sea glass on the beach and pop that in as it looks great.

The video above from Made by Paulina shows you how to make a coaster with one of the jesmonite kits. Or there’s the video below Imogen at Noah that  looks at how you can make your own:

9. Woven

If you want to teach yourself a traditional craft skill then this is the one to try. There’s a host of different ways you can do this with a number of different materials but some of our faves are made from rope and felt.

If you want to go down the coiled rope route then the video above from Sonia Bochow gets a big thumbs up from Lazy Susan. They look fab and are secured in place with a simple Zig-Zag stitch.

Alternatively, if you want to turn your hand to weaving then Fibers & Design’s beginners tutorial video above shows you how to make woven coasters with a simple loom.

10. Glass

Much like pouring acrylic, Glass is a material that worries people but you can really make some great home and garden decor out of it. There are some great kits if you want to fuse your own or you can use crushed glass set in resin as shown in the video below from Pouring Your Heart Out.

If you wanted to try fusing your own glass placemats and coasters, then the video below from glass artist and tutor Katie Hinder talks you through the process of making your own mixed accessory coaster using frits and stringers. 

If you make your own outdoor table placemats and coasters, then we’d love to see some photos of them on your Lazy Susan Outdoor Furniture for our Do Some Good charity campaign. Just tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or email them to us at [email protected].

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