I have been wanting to try iron-on vinyl for a while, and was finally able to pick some up while I was at the Creativ Festival this April. I stopped to check out a really nice diaper bag in one of the booths and ended up talking to Brenda from Among Brenda’s Quilts. She has lots of great patterns, including the diaper bag that originally caught my eye. (And Hooray!) Brenda is giving a pattern of your choice away to a Thread Riding Hood reader! (Check out the end of this post for details on how to enter!** Update: The giveaway is now closed. Thanks for entering! Find out who won here. **

Brenda was also selling HeatnBond iron-on vinyl, so I picked up a metre and stashed it away. A while later I was in Ikea with my daughter and spotted their Tidny fabric. I thought I could use it to make placemats with and so I also picked up some Lialotta plastic covered red dots for the backing.  I’ve finally had time to make the project happen over the weekend and I am so happy with the results! I especially love that the kids’ art is part of the project. (They would make great Grandparent gifts, if they are into picnics!) I thought I could make up a little tutorial for you guys so you could make some too. Hopefully you can ignore the punny name!


Your Plays-Mat can be used for so many purposes! Take them to restaurants or on picnics so everyone has a clean surface to put their food on. (Make sure you don’t use them as a food surface though. Vinyl is not approved for use with food.) Take them to waiting rooms and appointments for a clean play surface – you could even bring a small can of Play-doh to use on the vinyl surface. And they have a great little Velcro strap so when you are finished you can roll them up and take them home again.

We are going on a little family road trip “Up North” today – just for something different to do. I’m bringing these – they’ll be perfect for our little picnic. Intrigued? These self binding mats are very simple to make and have very satisfying results! If you can’t pick up the Ikea Tidny you can easily use solid coloured quilting cotton for your drawing surface. Or, skip that step and make some with your favorite fabric.

You will need:

  • Main fabric – quilting cotton or a bit heavier (I used Ikea’s Tidny)
  • Backing fabric – ideally vinyl/plastic coated (I used Ikea’s Lialotta)
  • Iron-On Vinyl – I used HeatnBond from Among Brenda’s Quilts, She sells Matte and Lustre (Shiny) finish
  • Low Loft Quilt Batting (not in the photo)
  • Freezer Paper
  • a Place Mat (for tracing the size)
  • Fabric Markers
  • School Glue Stick
  • Paper Clips or Bobby Pins
  • Scissors, Water Soluble Marker and other sewing gear

Here we go:

Step 1: Cut your main fabric: I let the kids choose which section of the Tidny fabric they wanted to colour and traced the place mat to get the right size. Trace with the water soluble marker and cut. If you are not using Tidny – trace your solid or patterned fabric and cut it out.

Step 2: Cut/Iron your Freezer Paper: (If you are not colouring the fabric skip to step 5.(1) Cut a piece of freezer paper aprox 2″-3″ larger than your placemat on all sides.  (2) Iron your fabric. (3) Place your fabric right side down on your ironing board and centre the freezer paper over it. Make sure the freezer paper is shiny side DOWN! Otherwise the plastic coating will will stick to your iron. (4) Iron the freezer paper to your fabric. Make sure it adheres well. The fabric should not stretch or move, making colouring much easier!

Step 3: Colouring! Get out your fabric markers and let your kids colour! The extra freezer paper backing and edges protects your table. If it works, get Grandpa and Grandma on Skype to talk to during the process. The kids are happy and mostly staying in one place so they can actually be seen for longer than 2 minutes at a time!

Step 4: Heat Set the Fabric: Take your finished masterpieces and heat set them. Follow the directions on your fabric markers. I use a pressing cloth (read: random solid white fabric piece) and move around heating each part of the fabric until everything has gotten a good press. This locks in the colour so if it ever gets wet the ink will (hopefully) not run.

Step 5: Cut the Batting/Vinyl: (1) Cut a piece of your quilt batting to the same size as the main fabric. (2) Cut a piece of Iron-On Vinyl to the same size as your main fabric.

Step 6: Adhere the vinyl: Follow the manufacturers directions to iron the vinyl to the right side of your main fabric

Step 7: Making a Sandwich & Cutting the Backing: (1) Place your uncut backing fabric down on your cutting surface right side down. Place the quilt batting on the backing fabric with (roughly) 1″ of backing showing all the way around. Centre the main fabric on the quilt batting. You now have a sandwich of TOP: Main fabric, CENTRE: Quilt Batting, BOTTOM: Backing – Right Side DOWN (2) Cut the backing fabric so it is 1″ larger than the main and batting all the way around.

Step 8 – Fold the self binding: Grab your glue stick! My backing fabric is pretty thin and easy to glue down, but I did end up also using some large paperclips to hold the thicker folds at the corners. I have also seen someone use bobby pins for this. You DO NOT want to use sewing pins because they will put permanent holes in your vinyl. Follow these steps and glue/paperclip as you go. (1) Starting halfway down one long side, fold your backing/binding to meet up with the edge of the main fabric. (2) Fold the folded edge up over the main fabric. (3) When you get to the corner, fold the corner up to create a triangle (follow the photo) (4) Fold the next backing/binding edge up to meet the edge of the main fabric. (5) Fold the backing/binding up over the main. (6) Finish folding all the way around. (7) Top-stitch close to the edge of the binding all around the place mat.

Step 9 – Make the Velcro strap: (1) Cut a piece of backing fabric that is 9″ x 3″. Cut the Velcro 1.5″ long. Note: If you made a very long place mat you may need to make the strap longer as well. (2) Fold up all the edges around the strap by 1/4″. I glued  them down to hold them. (3) Fold the strap in half lengthwise and glue. Top-stitch close to the edge all around the strap. (4) Glue a Velcro piece on one end of the strap. (5) Glue the other Velcro piece to the other end and opposite side of the strap. (6) Stitch around the Velcro.

Step 10 – Finishing the strap: (1) Paper clip the strap to the back of the place mat. Centre it on one short side as pictured. (2) Stitch over the strap, follow the binding top-stitching line. (3) Turn the place mat over and fold both straps to the outside. (4) Stitch a box with an “X” in it. Stitch inside the binding, beside the strap, to reinforce it and hold it on. This way of stitching the strap allows it to be folded behind the place mat so it stays clean.

Hooray! You are done! Check out photos after the giveaway info for how to roll it up.

** Update: The giveaway is now closed. Thanks for entering! Find out who won here.** 

And now for the giveaway! (Thanks so much Brenda!) The winner will receive a pattern of their choice from Brenda’s large collection. Lucky you! Giveaway ends June 10, 2013 at 10pm and is open to everyone. The Random Number Generator will pick a winner and I will post the results here on Tuesday am.

  1. 1st Entry: Head over to the Among Brenda’s Quilts shop, pick your favorite pattern. Comment on this post to let us know what it is.
  2. 2nd Optional Entry: Like Among Brenda’s Quilts on Facebook OR Follow her on Twitter. Comment on this post to let us know you did and include your Facebook or Twitter name.

While you are visiting Brenda, pick up some iron-on vinyl from her shop and check out her bag making supplies too! Have fun and let me know how it goes, I’d love to see your final product!