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DIY Autumn Placemats using Homemade Potato Stamps

Autumn | Sewing | Thanksgiving

Learn how to stamp your own fabric using potatoes then turn the fabric into beautiful placemats. These colorful leaf-stamped placemats are perfect for autumn or any time of the year! 

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Placemats stamped with colorful leafs lay on a table with a bowl of apples.

Hello Crafty Friends! To celebrate the upcoming fall season, I created these colorful leave placemats using a homemade potato stamp! These placemats are a nice way to get ready for the new season and a fun DIY craft project. You can make these placemats in a fall-themed color scheme or choose one to match your decor. 

To create the leaf pattern on these placemats I used potatoes! The potato stamps were easy to cut and a neat way to make my own patterned fabric. I love the handmade look of the leaves with their imperfections here and there. Stamping with the potatoes was a lot of fun and would make a great project to do with children. 

After stamping the fabric, I used bias tape to turn the fabric into finished placemats. There is just a bit of sewing involved to make these but it is fairy simple and all straight lines, making it a nice beginner sewing project. 

Colorfully leaf-stamped placemat with a bowl of apples on it.

Leaf-stamped placemat on a wooden table.

How to Make Leaf-Stamped Placemats

Supplies Needed:

Making the Leaf Stamp

To create the leaf stamps, use potatoes and a small paring knife. Start by carefully cutting your potato in half, lengthwise. Lightly trace a leaf with the tip of your knife then carve out the sections of potato around your leaf outline. I did one side at time. I cut about 1/2″ down along one side of the leaf and then brought my knife in horizontally to remove the chunk of potato around the leaf. I repeated this on the other side.

Next, cut a line down the center of the leaf. After that, make diagonal cut lines on each side of the leaf evenly spaced. Cut out every other diagonal line creating the leaf pattern.  I made three leaves all slightly different sizes.

A collage of photos showing the leaf design being cut out of a potato using a small knife.

Three potato stamps with leaves carved into them.

Stamping the Fabric

Use your potato stamps to stamp the top layer of your placemats. I had three different stamps and decided to use the following paint colors: red/green, blue/gray, and purple/green. I painted the colors onto the potato stamps with paintbrushes and then randomly stamped them until the fabric was full. I found I did need to re-apply the paint each time I stamped to get the same bold colors each time. 

Repeat the process for each placemat you plan to make. Let the fabric dry completely before moving on to the next step -covering the placemats with vinyl.

Three paper plates with a potato stamp and blobs of paint on them lay next to a piece of fabric.

A gray and blue leaf is stamped onto fabric using a potato stamp.

A piece of beige linen fabric is completely covered with colorful leaves.

Covering the Fabric with Vinyl

This step is optional, but it will help preserve the stamped fabric you just created. With the vinyl, you can use a damp cloth to easily wipe up any spills from meals without washing your placemats each time they get dirty. I had a roll of clear iron-on vinyl left over from making bibs and it was perfect for this project.

I cut four pieces of vinyl to fit my stamped fabric. My vinyl roll was 17″ which was the width of my placemats. Follow the directions on the package for ironing the vinyl onto your stamped fabric. Remember to use a press cloth so your iron does not touch the vinyl.

Stamped leaf design in red, blue, gray and red on tan fabric.

Flat Lining the Fabrics Together

Layer the stamped fabric on top of the backing fabric you are using. I chose to add a layer of muslin under my stamped fabric since my top layer was so light compared to by dark green backing fabric. Once your fabrics are stacked, you can choose to stitch around the edges, often called flat lining. This is optional, but if can make binding the placemats easier.

How to flat line: Stitch the layers together, keeping your stitch lines close to the edge so they will be hidden by the binding. Sew one side at a time, from one end to the other, without back-stitching. Smooth out the fabric after each side before starting to sew the next. You never want to turn your fabric while sewing because this can cause bubbling so do one side at a time.

Binding the Edges

Using the extra wide double fold bias tape, bind all four edges of the placemat. Open the bias tape and pin it along one of the long edges of the placemat with right sides together. Machine-stitch the bias tape down following the first fold line. Your seam allowance will be just under 1/2″. 

*Note – you may want to place your pins the opposite way I do so you don’t get poked! I have always pinned this way and can’t seem to break the habit! :) 

Bias tape is pinned along the placemat with the first fold line marked as the stitch line.Bias tape is stitched to the top of the placemat on a sewing machine.

Once the bias tape as been stitched to the front of the placemat, wrap it around to the backside and pin in place. All raw edges will not be hidden within the bias tape! *Tips: Allow the bias tape to fold along its own fold lines. When you fold the bias around to the back side, be careful not to stretch the tape as this could cause pull lines.

The bias tape is folded over the back side of the placemat and pinned in place.

Hand stitch the bias tape down on the back side of the placemat using a slip stitch. You could also “stitch in the ditch” using your machine if you would rather not stitch by hand. This simply means you would machine stitch the bias tape from the top of the placemat with your stitch line in the ditch between fabric and bias tape. If successfully done, your stitching will catch the bias tape on the back.

I preferred to stitch this by hand because I didn’t want to puncture the vinyl or struggle with making sure I caught the bias tape on the back side. 

Bias tape is hand sewn down on the back of the placemat.

Once the two long edges are done, you can repeat the same process for the short edges. The only difference is you will want to fold under the ends of the bias tape. This way there will not be any raw edges left. Stitch this the same way and finish the binding on the back side the same way you did the other edges. 

Four handmade stamped placemats lay on a table.

Leaf-stamped placemat on a wooden table.

The leaf-stamped placemats are finished! They turned out so cute and I love how the stamping pattern looks on the linen fabric. You’ll find more festive fall-themed crafts on my DIY Autumn Crafts page! 

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