Woven Place Mats

A woven place mat made by a 5 year old child.

These woven place mats are easy to make and require very few materials: paper, scissors, and tape (or glue). They are fun to make and can be used as place mats for picnics or at the dining room table. Young children will practice their hand-eye coordination with the up & down (in & out) pattern of weaving. For older children, encourage variations and fine detailing.

How to Make Paper Woven Place Mats

Part A: prepare the paper
  1. Get a piece of white paper and fold it in half.
  2. Cut the folded paper in half but leave an uncut space at the edge of the paper that is about ½" to 1" long.
  3. Cut the two dangling halves in half again to make quarters. Continue to cut each of the 4 sections in half again.
  4. Unfold. You will have a piece of paper with 8 slots.
Part B: prepare the strips
  1. Use colorful paper. Fold the sheets in half.
  2. Cut the sheet into strips as above. This time cut all the way across the paper so you get 8 strips of paper.
Part C: weave
  1. Use the strips of colored paper made in Part B to weave into the slotted paper made n Part A.
  2. Weave the strips up & down through the slots of the white sheet. Alternate the strips: start with up & down; then weave the next strip down & up. You will get a checkerboard pattern.
  3. When the white sheet is filled with weaved strips, flip over the weaved mat. Fold the protruding strip-ends to make them flush with the white page. Use tape or glue to secure the ends in place.
  4. Turn over again and voila! You're ready for a picnic!


Left: A woven place mat made by an 8 year old child. Here, the strips are made with a paper shredder, so they are very narrow. Makes a great pattern with contrasting colors.
Middle: The white paper is cut into a circle before the slots are made. Makes a great variation of the same theme.
Right: Another variation: the white paper is cut into a square and then the slots are cut at an diagonal. Results in a visually stunning pattern.