Plastic trays have a very functional purpose – they’re light to carry, easy to clean and inexpensive. But they’re not terribly attractive and cups and plates slip when you carry them. Spilled tea over the bikkies is a disappointing start to a quiet tea moment.
I’ve tried smartly-patterned tea towels but they’re a bit too big, even doubled over. After filming a video workshop one day and ferrying trays of things back and forth, Lynn and I cast our eyes around the materials we had here to make a tray mat. We spotted something with lots of potential – non-slip rubber matting used for lining drawers (or laying underneath table runners). With a bit of playing around Lynn has designed a brilliantly fresh take of the embroidered tea tray mat. It’s made from rubber non-slip matting embroidered with raffia. All bought from a “$2” shop for under $10. The holes in the matting make it really easy to create a design. Even better, they don’t need an iron, and they’re washable. Each type of rubber matting has a different weave, so this will give you a different embroidered effect. You can follow the designs Lynn has created here, or you can just create your own. Start with a single line of one colour that follows straight lines (like White on grey blocks here or the Green on red coasters. Once you’ve mastered that, you can move on to more symmetrical patterns that require mapping out in advance (like White and orange diamonds). You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to create a smart design. You’ll want to try different combinations of colour and size – like she did!
Step 1: Materials
* Rubber non-slip matting * Raffia (preferably1-2mm wide or use 3-4mm like this) * Tapestry needle * Scissors * Pencil * Ruler
Thread the first colour of raffia you are using onto the needle. If you have raffia which is more than 2mm wide, split it into two by pulling apart.
Start at one corner and thread around. Try any type of pattern. This one goes over 3 holes, then under 1, and repeats that pattern for the whole border of the rectangle.
When you reach the end, tie a knot to finish. Burn the ends with a match for a couple of seconds to melt the raffia into a knob which can’t slip through the holes. Or you can return back over the same stitching on the back of the mat, for a few centimetres. Once you have done the border, start with the shapes on the inside of the mat.
Step 5: Green on Red Coasters
Create coasters by cutting squares of rubber matting approx 10cm x 10cm. Using a running stitch, start on a corner and follow the perimeter. After a full round, start the next round about 1 cm in towards the middle. Continue until you reach the middle then finish off with a knot at the back, or go back over the last 3cm of stitches.
Step 6: Blue on White Design
This has the edges folded over and embroidered. Separate rectangular shapes of matting are cut out and then stitched onto the mat.
Step 8: White and Orange Diamonds Design
Step 9: White and Orange Diamonds Design
This requires a pattern, tracing out the design and counting the correct number of holes between shapes. This is the most complicated.
Step 10: White on Grey Blocks Design
Step 11: White on Grey Blocks Design
This can be created as you go, using straight verticals and horizontal lines to form the shapes.
Step 12: Green on Red Coasters
Brightly coloured rubber matting and raffia makes a fresh summery coaster.
Step 13: Blue and Green Geo Shapes Design
This type of design can be done free-form, using one layer of shapes (blue), then a second layer of shapes in another colour (green)