Turning Placemats into Wall Art

This little project has been on my mind for a while now. My sister-in-law brought back some souvenir placemats on a pre-COVID visit back “home”. These has been in her family for a while now, and was rediscovered during a downsizing cleanup a couple of years ago.

Back when she showed them to me the first time, we talked about what she wanted to do with them. Keeping them in the box was obviously not a good option and we settled on displaying them in her house as wall art. My original plan was to put them in a large frame, but their thickness meant I had to use a frame that had some additional space between the glass and backing. It was time to see what Hobby Lobby had to offer.

No Good Options

I made a beeline for the picture frame area and was immediately disappointed with the available options and their price tags(!). I found nice enough frames, but none were big enough for the nine placemats we wanted to frame. And when the frame itself was big enough, there wasn’t enough space underneath the glass to insert the placemats. And all of these larger size frames were pricey.

While staring at my limited options, I noticed a tall skinny frame and a new plan started to take shape. I had to get back home and play with the layout again.

Picking a Frame

While playing with the layout again, I quickly realized three frames would not only look better, but will be lighter and easier to hang on the wall. I also realized that I didn’t necessarily need glass in these frames. If I picked the right frame, I can just display them on the backing.

Back to Hobby Lobby I went with new measurements in hand. And again I ended up disappointed. The tall skinny frames I noticed originally just didn’t have the right dimensions. They were too narrow and too tall. These were also just frames – I would still need to add some type of backing to fit the placemats to.

Since I wasn’t in a hurry I started wandering the isles searching for other options. I found some nice cork boards that were in my size (and budget) ballpark, but how to hang those on the wall? The unfinished wood section had two nice options, but I wasn’t sure how those would fit in with the rest of the decor in their house. My third stop was the themed decor section, where I spotted the best baseball themed candidate. It was just not the right size.

Now at least I knew I was looking for “signs” to reuse for this project.

And then I found them! Frames, with a light background, and a bible verse printed on them! Not only the perfect size, but right in budget (with my 40% off coupon, of course).

I bought the first frame that day, and like the thrifty shopper I am, went back over the next two weeks to pick up two more at 40% discount each.

Project Supplies

  • Beige Paint
  • Paint Brush
  • Painters Tape
  • Glue Gun

Completing the Project

I was finally ready to complete this project. All I needed to do was paint over the writing with some beige paint I had in stock. It took two coats to get proper coverage. I tried to paint freehand, but it was obvious that I needed to tape off the edges. After I did that, painting was quick and easy. I completed two coats on all three frames and left them to dry overnight.

I took my time with spacing the placemats, since the two sets wasn’t the same background color. I also arranged them so that the type of animals were spaced out. My husband walked by while I was busy arranging them and pointed out that I had a nice balance between prey and predators.

I used my glue gun to glue them all down. My last task was to remove the picture hooks from the back. Originally this frame was meant to be hung horizontally, but I need them to hang vertically. I measured and installed the existing picture hooks at the top and all too quickly this project was done.

End Result

As a test, I hung them in my hallway where I already had three picture hooks for my own art. I’m very pleased with the end result and hope my sister-in-law will be too! Now she only needs to convince her husband to make some holes in the walls!

What do you think? A good option for dining room art?

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