The easiest way to create place mats out of your recycled newspapers is to assemble some interesting articles and head over to your local copy shop. Simply laminate the articles together, and you've designed place mats that are simple yet remarkable. You could also get the kids involved and have them choose articles or comics to create place mats to accompany their breakfasts.
For a more intricate final product, try weaving them. For each placemat, you'll need two newspaper spreads. One of the spreads should be folded along its center crease. Turn the newspaper so that its center fold is closest to you. Cut straight lines 1 inch (2.54 cm) apart from the fold to the edge of the paper farthest from you. Leave a 1-inch (2.54 cm) border around the three sides that aren't folded so your place mat has something holding it together. Cut the remaining spread widthwise into strips that measure -- you guessed it -- 1 inch (2.54 cm).
Beginning at the bottom, weave the strips through the slotted spread (over, under, over, under), repeating this pattern until you have reached the other side of your newspaper. Weave the second strip (under, over, under, over) until you've reached the other side of your newspaper. Alternate starting to weave over and under with as many strips as necessary to fill all holes in your newspaper spread.
A variation on this place mat would be to cut curvy lines into the first newspaper spread. The strips used to weave should remain straight [source: Lee]. Once your woven placemats are finished, you can laminate them for protection or varnish them.
You now have plenty of options for making use of those old newspapers. For even more ideas and information, check out the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Links
- Cury, James Oliver. "Barack Obama's Inaugural Menu, Recipes Included." 1/20/09. (Accessed 4/13/09)http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/blogs/2009/01/barack-obamas-i.html
- Encyclopedia Britannica Online. "Papier-mâché." 2009. (Accessed 4/13/09) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/442083/papier-mache
- EPA. "Solid Waste Recycling." 2009. (Accessed 4/8/09)http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/basic-solid.htm
- Grays Harbor County Department of Public Services. "What Happens When You Recycle Newspapers?" 2009. (Accessed 4/8/09) http://www.co.grays-harbor.wa.us/info/pub_svcs/recycle/WhenYouRecycle.htm
- Lee, Nicole. "Woven Paper Placemats." 4/2/09. (Accessed 4/12/09) http://craftday.blogspot.com/2007/07/woven-paper-placemats.html
- Lehman's Country Life. "Rolling My Own Newspaper Logs." 10/13/07 (Accessed 4/13/09) http://countrylife.lehmans.com/2007/10/13/rolling-my-own-newspaper-logs-help/
- Make-Stuff. "How to Color Fireplace Flames." 2009. (Accessed 4/8/09) http://www.make-stuff.com/formulas/flames.html
- Make-Stuff. "Make Your Own Papier Mache." 2009. (Accessed 4/13/09)http://www.make-stuff.com/kids/papier_mache.html
- Sanborn, Pearl. "How to Make Beautiful Beads from Recycled Newspaper." A Storybook Life. 1/23/08. (Accessed 4/7/09) http://www.astorybooklife.com/how-to/paper-beads/
- Texas Commission of Environmental Quality. "Lesson Plans for Teachers: Fireplace Logs from Newspapers." 1994. (Accessed 4/8/09) http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/assets/public/assistance/education/waste/logs.pdf
- Ultimate Paper Mache. "About Paper Mache." 2009. (Accessed 4/13/09)http://ultimatepapermache.com/about-paper-mache
- WGBH Educational Foundation. "Make A Papier-Mâché Dinosaur Hat." 2009. (Accessed 4/13/09)http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/dinosaurs/activities/Dinohat.shtml