Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Thankful Tree Placemat Project




Here is a little project just in time for Thanksgiving.  My friend needed a craft project for her son's cub scout meeting, so I helped her out by making these printable sheets to create a thankful tree placemat.  I had a lot of fun creating it and I thought this might be a fun craft for others so I am sharing the free coloring pages and the tutorial with everyone.


The pictures below are my own attempt at making the placemat. Boy, it has been a while since I've gotten out the crayons and paste!  I know there are more creative people out there than me and I would love to see your pictures of placemats you make from using this tutorial and I will post them on my blog.  The printable thankful tree outline and leaves are at the end of this tutorial.



List of supplies needed:

*Colorful construction paper or scrapbook paper

*printouts of the thankful tree and leaves

*scissors - plain and or shaped scrapbook type

*glue - stick glue works pretty well for this project

*crayons, markers, or colored pencils

*pen or permanent marker to write on the leaves

*A laminator or clear contact paper to seal your picture


    
Step 1: color your tree and leaves.

Have some fun coloring your tree and writing out what you are thankful for on the leaves. This is where you can get really creative. Writing on and coloring the leaves before cutting them out makes the task much easier.  We found that by coloring on the tile floor with crayons, a very fun texture was added to the leaves and bark on the tree. You could also cut out outlines for your leaves for a double effect.  Photographs of the ones you love would be great to add to your tree as well.



Step 2: Add a border around the page.

 This is so the final placemat will be a bit bigger than the coloring page of the tree.  I used construction paper that I used scalloped shaped scrapbook scissors to trim around the edges, but any type of decorated or colored paper would work.  I found that I could get four 2 inch strips from one piece of paper, which worked perfect.  Then I used my glue stick and glued the edges of the border to the edges of the main paper.                     



Step 3: Cut out leaves and glue to tree.


I don't need to go into more detail than that right?


            
The tree is now decorated and has a border! Yay! Now to get it sealed so it can be used as a placemat.


          
Step 4: Seal your placemat.

If you have a laminator then this part will be much easier.  I do not have a laminator so I used clear contact paper to seal my placemat.  First, roll out a bit of contact paper and lay your picture over it to measure how much you will need to cut.  You will want to cut it at least a half inch larger on all sides. You will be able to trim the excess after you have finished sealing it.

Sidenote: I decided I needed more color so I cut out some leaves to add to the border and make my placemat a bit bigger.  So you will see some weird looking leaves around the border. hee.

Once you have cut out your piece of contact paper, go ahead and cut out another piece the same size.  Then peel the paper backing off of one piece, put it on your work surface, sticky side up and lay your thankful tree on top of it.
                         


Then peel just about an inch or two off of the paper backing on the second sheet of clear contact paper and line it up with the top of your picture and stick it to the picture, smoothing out the wrinkles.  Take your time and slowly peel the rest of the paper off of the contact paper one or two inches at a time, stopping to smooth out wrinkles.  I used a rolling pin, which worked pretty well.



*** Added note:  If a leaf was overlooked and did not make it onto the placemat, you can make a pretty decent patch by cutting out a square of contact paper, stick it to the leaf, then smooth it onto the placemat.



Finally, trim around your placemat with regular or shaped scissors and you are ready to use it on Thanksgiving day!

                   

Have fun and share your pictures!



Here is the link to download the printable Thankful Tree and leaves.

 **Please note: the Thankful Tree needs to be printed in LANDSCAPE format on your printer.



Here are the two placemats my kids finished. They are so excited, they have already used them for dinner.  The contact paper makes it very easy to wipe off any messes with a damp cloth.

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