We set our table for dinner guests a few different ways depending upon how formal the occasion. A tablecloth for a nice sit-down dinner, but for more casual affairs, placemats are the way to go. You can of course, find placemats in any number of online and brick-and-mortar stores, but as Epoxy Pros know; there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of creating your own original decorative (and functional) home accessories!
Placemats serve several purposes – decoration, designation and damage protection. (And of course, in restaurants they may also serve as the menu or advertisements.) Designer placemats add an elegant touch to any table setting, showing guests their place at the table while providing protection for the table from scratches, moisture, heat and dings – especially for surfaces made of wood.
Designing and making your own placemats using epoxy resin allows creative expression, provides a conversation piece and enables custom matching to any aesthetic. Artistic expression includes swatches of fabric, photos or other images, elements from nature such as seashells and flowers and other bits of sentimental ephemera collected that one wishes to display.
One of the ways to craft placemats is similar to making epoxy resin coasters, just using a larger “canvas.” Cork-backed ceramic tiles make a perfect foundation since the built-in backing provides surface protection. Another method is to use wood cut into the shape and size desired, lining the edges with tape, and either adding your own mementos or creating a colorful free-form design via fluid pour. You can see examples of these ideas on our Videos Page.
Table coverings of either complete cloths or individual placemats have been around for hundreds of years. In Roman times, ornately-carved tabletops were a symbol of wealth and prestige, and early table coverings were used to protect these surfaces from damage – catching food and beverage detritus and cleaning up spills. *
For our home, we have wine-themed placemats for everyday use, and a floral tablecloth for dinners in the dining room. According to ‘Your Tablecloth,’ “During the Medieval period, it was de rigueur to use the finest linen tablecloths. The linen had to be as white as possible. The higher ranking you were, the whiter your tablecloths were expected to be.”
For today’s more casual lifestyles, placemats are often the order of the day. And artisans are increasingly finding ever-more innovative and imaginative ways to decorate their tables with place settings of their own crafting. Sharing an evening with friends and family featuring eye-catching table artistry transforms just plain eating - into an event of shared dining and conversation. Bon Appetit!