I was recently given a good sized sheet of linoleum from a friend which was left over from a laundry room project and headed for the dump. There is something inside of me that just cringes at the thought. I love to use linoleum in crafting and, of course, my friend knows this. You don't use the traditional side or the upside. Turn it over to the backing side and you have the perfect foundation for painting.
Step 1: SUPPLIES:
Acrylic paints & Brushes
Gloss Waterbased Polyurethane
Step 2: LINOLEUM:
Linoleum is one of those items that you can easily find, whether it is at someone's curb, a garage sale, or Freecycle. Hopefully you will be lucky and find a piece that has a square pattern on the top side. That makes it EASY to cut, otherwise you have to do it the hard way and measure :(
The size you make your placemats depends on you. Mine are about 12 inches by 18 inches.
NOTE: Linoleum comes in many different thicknesses. If it is too thin, you can almost tear it if not careful. If the piece you have is quite thick, you will have to cut it with an Xacto knife and a metal ruler.
Also, some Linoleum has a textured backing. This is not the kind to use. Most Linoleum will have a smooth backing that is similar to a prepared canvas.
Step 3: PAINTING WITH a PLAN:
This project is great for children. There is just one thing, you really want to cover the entire sureface of the linoleum with paint. If you don't, the polyeurthane will just turn the backing to a dark gray color. For my children, I put some puddles of paint directly on the Linoleum and had them swirl it around. I went back and touched up the edges where necessary.
I also gave them a plan. I wanted the placemats to somewhat match, so I told them to use their cat, Sparkles, as the inspiration.
We made six placemats - all based on a true story
Sparkles tries to eat Caitlin's Fish
The day Sparkles sent the little red birds to Heaven
Sparkles vs. the hornet's nest. (That day cost me $300 at the vet)
Sparkles brings a mouse to dinner
Cats hate baths
What do you think cats dream about?
We certainly have a lot of adventures to choose from :)
Step 4: CLEAN UP THE BACK SIDE:
When you are finished painting your placemat, take some time to wipe away all paint residue from what is now the back side. Use a little Windex or glass cleaner. This step just gives the project a more finished look.
NOTE: It is MUCH harder to clean the back side after the polyurethane step since the polyurethane will seal the smudged paint in place.
Step 5: POLYURETHANE:
Give the placemat multiple coats of polyurethane to protect your art. I prefer a water based gloss, but you can use whatever you have around.
Dinner is Served!