As a coloring book artist, I spend a great deal of time thinking about how to use my artwork once it’s finished. Framing is always an option, but I like to incorporate bright colors and bold designs throughout the house. Since springtime (and Easter) usually sees my table bedecked with lovely flowers, tender young vegetables, and creamy desserts, I think some colorful place mats are in order. To that end, I designed an Easter coloring page to use on my table.
This is a fun way to get the whole family involved in an activity. Everyone can color his or her own picture to be turned into a personalized place mat. Or, if you’re the only one who enjoys the coloring process, take your masterpiece to a copy shop and have color copies made. (You could also scan and upload your artwork to order the prints online.) Either way, be sure you don’t count your original as one of your place mats, since color can vary on copiers and it might not exactly match the copies you end up with. Once the artwork is finished, it is just a matter of framing it out with larger paper, embellishing it (with flat items only), and laminating it to create a waterproof mat.
Here’s how the process looks from start to finish.
I started by scanning in my drawing and creating a PDF with a nice margin that framed the picture. You can download the finished drawing here for free: Happy Easter Page. (Be sure your printer is set to landscape – not portrait – when you print it.) I printed mine on white card stock to make it a little sturdier than plain paper.
Of course, the next step is to color the page. Once that’s done, you can use scrapbook paper or construction paper to mat it and create the place mat.
As you can see, I tried quite a few different colors before making a final choice. The blue goes with my home’s decor, so I ended up with that one, but the bright red and green were springy and fun. The double frame of yellow and blue seemed like overkill, and although the black really made the colors pop, it wasn’t right for a spring time table setting. I also tried out some glitter paper in green, pink, and purple, but that didn’t really work for me, either. Just use trial and error until you find the paper that’s right for you.
After I chose the medium blue paper, I decided the artwork could use a little embellishment. I usually have a few packages of assorted edgings, but you could use washi tape, left over rickrack, lace, or anything else that will lie flat enough to be laminated.
Once the embellishments were applied, I cut the paper down to 12 x 14.5 inches. The “standard” place mat size is about 12 x 18 inches (which is the size of the large construction paper I used for the background), but I didn’t like the way the extra paper looked on the sides, and that seemed a little big for my table. (I didn’t want the mats to overlap.) If you’re unsure of the best size for your table, just measure a favorite place mat as a guide. You could also consider cutting your artwork and paper into circles if you have a round table.
Finally, I took apart a silk flower to make it lie flat and added that to the bottom corner. Then I laminated the whole thing with book tape. (Hey, use what you have!) Of course, you can also use the iron on laminating sheets, clear contact paper, or have the finished mat laminated at the copy shop. Another good way to protect your artwork might be to make clear vinyl “envelopes.” This would take more time up front, but you’d be able to swap out the paper part easily to have mats for every holiday and season.
Here’s the final product. (As you can see, the light is glaring a little on the laminate.) I hope you have fun making your own Easter place mats!