Paint ‘n’ Stitch Christmas Tree Placemats

Make your holiday table festive this year with handmade Christmas tree placemats! With a bit of painting and stitching, you’ll end up with one-of-a-kind table decor for your home or a gift. Best of all, it’s a project that kids and parents can work on together.

These paint ‘n’ stitch placemats are a little smaller than standard placemats, making them perfect for kids (or snack time for grown-ups too!).

The design is simple, starting with a painted freezer paper stencil technique. Next comes the stitch-as-you-like embroidery decorations where you can get as creative as you like! Finally, it’s time for a bit of simple sewing that any beginner can tackle.

Get ready to set your table with Christmas cheer!

what you need:

  • Plain Fabric – 1/3 yard (makes 2 placemats)
  • Print Fabric – 1/3 yard (makes 2 placemats)
  • Fusible Interfacing – 2/3 yard (makes 2 placemats)
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Freezer Paper
  • Pencil
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Textile Medium for Acrylic Paint (optional)
  • Paintbrush
  • Embroidery Floss
  • Needle
  • Sewing Machine
  • Printable template

Note: If you’d rather skip the sewing and start with pre-made placemats, be sure that they aren’t too thick or difficult to embroider through.


Step 1
Cut the fabric plain fabric, printed fabric, and fusible interfacing to 12″x15″. Iron the fusible interfacing to the back of the plain fabric, following the manufacturer’s instructions for the interfacing.

Repeat this for each placemat.

Step 2
Trace the tree template onto the paper side of the freezer paper, making as many as you need for each placemat. Cut out the center to make a stencil. If a younger child is painting this, you may want to leave a larger margin of paper around the cut out area.

With the shiny side down, iron the freezer paper to the lower right corner of the plain fabric.

Mix the paint with textile medium. This addition keeps the paint more pliable after it dries. Place the fabric on a protected surface and fill in the tree shape with smooth brushstrokes of paint.

Step 3
After the paint dries, peel away the freezer paper. Place a scrap of fabric over the painted design and iron it to set the paint.

Decorate the tree with embroidery. Use all six strands and any kind of stitches you like. Be careful not to poke the needle all the way through the paint until it’s in the spot you want it. Otherwise it will leave a small hole.

This tree has straight stitches to make a star and chain stitch to form the garland.

Use french knots to make ornaments all over.

If you’d rather not add embroidery, decorate your tree with more paint designs!

Step 4
Pin the painted front of the placemat to the printed fabric back with right sides together. Sew around the edge, leaving an opening to turn it. Back stitch at the beginning and end.

Trim the corners and then turn the placemat right side out, poking the corners into shape with the (clean!) end of your paintbrush.

Step 5
Iron the placemat, making sure that the seams are open and straight. The seam allowance of the opening should be folded in so it aligns with the seam.

Top stitch about 1/8″ from the edge. This will close the opening and give the placemat a nice finish.

One placemat is perfect for snacks like cookies and milk, or even leaving a treat for Santa. But if you don’t want the rest of the family to feel left out, make a whole bunch!

These placemats are kid-sized, but you can easily adjust them to make larger placemats or even a table runner. You could also use different colors for the trees, so you have a rainbow forest of placemats or trees that look more wintery instead of just for Christmas.

You may even want to use this technique to paint and stitch other kinds of items, like stockings or t-shirts!

Happy crafting!