How To Make No-Sew Upcycled Fabric Placemats

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Colourful Upcycled Fabric Placemats With Denim And Wool Scraps

Repurposing your old clothes to make things for the home is fun. In the past, I have made a felt rug and jean planters. This time I created upcycled fabric placemats for the table.

Old denim jeans are a perfect material for repurposing and upcycling within the home. Denim is so robust and all the lovely shades of indigo that it comes in can look fabulous. The downside is that old jeans can be difficult to sew, especially all the interesting bits like the waistbands, pockets and seams.

Even my superb Bernina sewing machine struggles with a thick denim seam. But don’t worry, with the right glue you can still make fabulous denim accessories for your home.

I used Gorilla Contact Adhesive Clear to make these wool and denim fabric placemats. This is a great glue to use, it isn’t runny so doesn’t go everywhere, it dries clear and is waterproof. Therefore, if you spill something on your placemats and need to wipe them clean with a wet cloth you will be able to do so.

I could have made just denim placemats, but I wanted to add a bit of colour to them. I had some old felted sweater scraps left from other upcycled projects and decided to use these with the denim to add colour.

These fabric placemats cost virtually nothing to make as they are made from repurposed materials. You can add more placemats for your collection everytime you wear out an old pair of jeans. Each mat takes about 30 mins to 1 hour to make.

upcycled fabric placemat and glue

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What You Need To Make Upcycled Fabric Placemats

  • The seams and hems of old jeans. I cut out the double stitched seams of jeans that normally run up the inside leg. There is often a double stitched seam across the back of the jeans too, just below the waistband.
  • Old felted sweater wool scraps – If you wash wool sweaters on a hot wash in the machine they will felt.
  • Gorilla Contact Adhesive Clear
  • Rotary cutter, mat and pins.
What you need to make denim and felt fabric placemats with Gorilla Glue.

How To Make Upcycled Fabric Placemats

1. The first thing you need to do is to cut the felted sweater scraps into strips the same thickness as the denim seams. The best way to do this is with a metal ruler and a rotary cutter.

Rotary cutter mat felt strips

2. To start off the mat, grab one denim seam and one strip of sweater felt. Apply a small blob of Gorilla Contact Adhesive Clear to the end of the seam and to the end of the felt. Leave for about 1-2 mins depending on how strong you want the bond and then press them together.

Glueing the denim and felt together

3. Next, repeat a few inches further along the seam and glue the denim and felt together. With these placemats you don’t need to glue the fabrics together all the way along. Just a small blob of glue every few inches will work well.

glueing denim and felt

4. Next, start coiling the glued fabric strips together. Use the contact adhesive to hold the coil in place. Again glue every few inches, making sure there is a little bit of glue on both surfaces and leaving it for a few seconds to partially dry before pressing together. As the coil gets bigger I find that it helps to use a few pins to hold it in shape as the glue dries.

Coiling and glueing the fabric
Coiling and gluing the fabric.

5. Carry on coiling to make the fabric placemat until you get to the size you want. Smaller coils could be used as drink mats. Just add in new bits of felt and denim when needed with the glue.

Adding in new piece of felt with upcycled fabric placemats
Coiling upcycled place mats

6. Finally, to finish off add a reinforcing denim cross to the back of each fabric placemat. To do this, spread the Gorilla Contact Adhesive Clear across the center of the placemat on the back. Also, spread the glue on a denim seam cut to the diameter of the mat. After about 1 – 2 minutes push them together. Repeat with another seam going across the other way.

Glueing base of placemat
Adding denim strip
denim back
Upcycled fabric placemats made with denim and wool scraps.

Even though Gorilla Contact Adhesive Clear is waterproof, you may still want to spray the placemats with protective fabric spray. That way if any liquid does spill on the mats it will just run off.

Not only do these fabric placemats look lovely, but as they are so thick they make great heat protectors. You will be able to put hot dishes on these coiled mats and protect your table at the same time.

upcycled fabric placemat and plate
upcycled denim fabric placemat
upcycled fabric placemats with denim and wool

If you liked this upcycle you might want to check out the gorgeous no-sew denim rug I made out of waistbands. If you prefer something softer under feet then check out my felt rug made from recycled sweaters.

Cool upcycled denim crafts for the home

For more denim ideas visit the DIYideacentre.

36 Responses

  1. I swear I’m going to save some money and one day fly over the water to meet you Claire. I love your projects. They’re always so cool and different and happy and bright and quirky and ……….. they just always talk to my soul

    • Aww, thank you so much. I just love bright colourful quirky things and I get a kick out of making them out repurposed materials.

  2. […] How awesome are these DIY placemats from Pillar Box Blue?  Another up-cycle and fab way to reuse […]

  3. […] How fun are these upcycled fabric placemats by Pillar Box Blues? […]

  4. These are so cute! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!

  5. Such a great upcycle project! I love all your denim projects, and I love the color added by the wool. I think I need a set of placemats like these!

  6. What a fun up-cycle project Claire. Your placemats look super fun!
    Thank you for sharing this project at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I’m delighted to be featuring your placemat project at tonight’s party.

  7. These are neat. I would like to try them with lace for a bit of shabby chic.Pinning and sharing on FB with my peeps at Coastal Bohemian

  8. Great ideas here, I know that more and more, I’m replacing my glues with gorilla glues. One for every task. Thanks for sharing, these are practically works of art.

    • Thank you, Sandi. Yes I’m a fan of their glues great for different jobs.

  9. Thanks for this awasome stuff.. Looks so cool..!

  10. You’re very creative. I’ve had reservations about using old denim due to the seams but your placemats rock!

    • Thank you. The seams are one of my favourite parts of old jeans to upcycle they have lots of character.

  11. I love the look and Gorilla Glue is great! I will be featuring your project at Creatively Crafty Blog Group Link Party #CCBG on Thursday

  12. These are such a great way to use seams. I save all mine in a bag and find things to use them for now and again but this would make a big old dent in my stash!

  13. I swear I’m going to save some money and one day fly over the water to meet you Claire. I love your projects. They’re always so cool and different and happy and bright and quirky and ……….. they just always talk to my soul

    • Thank you, Michelle. I might make it over to South Africa before you get here. Love your stuff too!

      • Oh wow, really!!!! Please shout when you get here Claire.

        • Will do but it won’t be anytime soon. I’ve got an elderly dog I’m not comfortable leaving with anyone. Perhaps when my youngest goes off to Uni in a couple of years.

  14. Adding this as a project to do with my homeschoolers!

  15. These are so cool! Clever idea and they turned out so pretty.

  16. Really gorgeous Claire! I just remembered I have a cutter for cutting wool strips for rug hooking…..perfect for this, only it is in a storage room in Jerusalem, a good 3 hours away, hmmm, maybe incentive to clean that space out and reclaim all my rug making supplies! thanks for sharing on craft schooling sunday!

  17. Amy

    How neat! This is a fantastic idea, and perfect for spring. I love them. Thanks for sharing at Sweet Inspiration!

  18. These are really cool, I must try this!

  19. These are awesome, Claire! Love the boho vibe these have going on. They would make a lovely wedding shower gift 🙂

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