After the disappointment of not being able to find anything suitable, I drove over to Hobby Lobby to purchase some burlap. I bought 2 1/2 yards of burlap, four acrylic paints, and some thread for $10. The burlap was $2.99 / yard, but I used a 40% off coupon from Hobby Lobby's website that brought the price down to $1.80 / yard. This made six double thickness placemats that were 13 x 18 inches. I cut the placemats out using my rotary cutter which made the job really quick and easy. I used some interfacing (optional) that I had on hand, sandwiched it between the two burlap pieces, and zig-zagged around the edges of all three layers. Then I moved on to the stenciling...
(Here's a little tutorial if you're interested.) Since, I chose an "acorn" theme I found this site on the internet that had an acorn picture, downloaded it to my computer and resized it to be about 5" x 6". I printed out six copies of the acorn on regular paper. Then I cut out the top part of the acorn and on another sheet cut out the bottom part of the acorn, like the two examples below. These paper stencils will last for two placemats and then you'll need to change it out by making a couple more stencils.
Keep all of the pieces because you'll eventually use all of them. Now you're ready to stencil. I use a small piece of sponge to stencil with rather than a stenciling brush. I find I have more control with a sponge. I make my first acorn using the stencil for the top part and then using the stencil for the bottom of the nut.
For the middle acorn you need to cover up the bottom part of the first acorn so you don't paint over it, like this. Use the piece that you cut out of your stencil for this. You can use a little tape to lightly hold it down.
Then place the top stencil where you want it, like this, and stencil away.
Take the top stencil off and put the bottom stencil next to the already painted top and color in that part of the acorn.
I put three acorns on each placemat, but all that is personal preference. I think these would be cute with pumpkins or leaves too.
It took me about 2 1/2 hours from start (cutting out the fabric) to finish to make six placemats. These placemats have a rustic, woodsy, imperfect feel to them, which, I'm hoping, adds to their appeal. At least that's what I'm trying to convince myself. Six placemats @ $1.66 each. I wouldn't use these for Thanksgiving Dinner, but for casual dining they'll work and you've gotta love the price...
Head over to "Just a Girl" to check out more creations!