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Painted Cork Placemats {or Dare to DIY – Entertain! Edition}

Linky parties are seriously my fav.  It’s a nice kick in the butt to actually do some of the crafts that I’ve been dreaming about – not to mention a good excuse to clean the house enough so that I can take photos.  I’m linking up to Maybe Matilda today – go check it out to see what Rachel and everyone else has posted!  And remember, half the fun of a linky party is meeting new blogs! And if you’re here from the linky party, Welcome!

This past weekend I got out our bins of holiday decor and spent the long weekend cleaning and getting jolly with it, and also had some time to do a little Small Business Saturday shopping.  I’m making it a personal goal this season to either make gifts, buy handmade, or buy from small businesses.  I figure I spend enough money at all the big box stores year round, and it’s a fun challenge for myself.
Of course while I was out getting gifts for others, I got a few for myself at the local art supplies store. I’m so good to myself. The first was a wood burner and I was this close to purchasing the whittling tools that were in the same aisle.  I have no idea how to use either, but for some reason when I’m in an art supplies store, I suddenly picture myself having a life where I would have time to sit and whittle.  
Anyway, wood burner, check. I also picked up a roll of cork.  I had recently seen these placemats at C&B and these placemats at Ikea.  Both were honestly pretty reasonably priced, but for some reason, I always look at items like this and think – I can do that!  So do that I did.
I started by cutting my cork into 13 1/2″ x 18″ mats.  Unfortunately, I was only able to eek out three from one roll, so I’ll have to buy more this week.  I’ll eventually make trivets and/or coasters from the scraps (which will make great gifts!).   I placed some books on them over night to try to flatten the cork out. You’ll see they weren’t quite flat when I started painting, but I’m impatient. 
The next day I took my ruler and just started attaching lines into what I consider to be very modern trees.  I cut these shapes out and took care to keep the trees intact.
Then I got to spray painting.  I went with my go-to white and gold sprays – but I really think these would’ve popped with some traditional red and green.  The next mats will definitely get some of that. 
I tried a few different methods with my  handmade stencil, but this would work great with any store bought stencil. 
First I sprayed over the stencil very lightly with white, then I laid my cut trees on top, but just ever so slightly to the side.  I was going for a shadow outline around the edge of each tree.  I sprayed my gold lightly over it next.
Not bad, but definitely had some seepage. The actually force of the spray moved the paper more than I anticipated. I would definitely suggest using some re-positioning adhesive spray if you try this. 
Next up: a heavier coverage of the white first, and then I shifted the stencil itself ever so slightly, and gave it a heavier coverage with the gold.  I like this one a lot, but the gold is almost too close to the color of the cork.  This could be great if I were using some geometric shape and I wanted a tone on tone look.
Last up – a reverse of the last method: a heavier coverage of the gold first, and then I shifted the stencil itself ever so slightly, and gave it a heavier coverage with the white. This ended up being my favorite of the three…
Now the fun part – setting the faux table!  I decided to go with a green, red, white and gold theme in my dining room this year.  Sometimes it’s nice to go super traditional in your holiday decor. Yes, white trees are super traditional if you speak to the right people.  
Love how the tree branches just peek out from behind the chargers.
Oh, you want a gratuitous shot of the tree lit up in the dark? Of course you do!
Doing anything special to entertain your guests this holiday season? We don’t have any plans to host any guests so far this year, but I’m sure someone will pop over at some point.  Even if no one comes over, I still totally enjoy seeing the all house dressed up!  
And the cats like helping too, of course.
If you’re here from Maybe Matilda, thanks for stopping by!  If not, go to her blog and check out some of the other projects linked up today!
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