How can I reuse or recycle placemats and coasters?

PlacematsWe’ve had an email from Sue:

I have a pile of old placemats and coasters, some with a cork backing and some felt-backed and I just don’t know what to do with them.

I have used a few for my kids to paint and stick on but I’d love some more ideas.

We’ve got a placemat underneath the cats’ food dishes in the kitchen (to stop food spillages/flickages from going all over the floor) but all the other ideas I can come up with – using as drip trays under paint cans or plants – need them to be more tray-like instead of being flat.

So any suggestions?

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15 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle placemats and coasters?”


  1. Marlies says:

    I have used those in the past as canvas for pictures, either painted, decoupaged or whatever appeals. I also have a few that I have waiting to be used where I have applied drywall compound in rough strokes.

  2. Nicole says:

    Could the cork backing be used as a bulletin board?

  3. Bobbie says:

    Cut them into coasters.

  4. AmyS says:

    Sand down the decorated side, and redecorate with paint, rubber stamps, stencils, collage – whatever you prefer. Seal with protective coating. Keep on using as coasters or placemats, or attach to the wall in a room: they will help act as soundproofing. Or glue flat magnets onto the back. Or use two the same size as covers for a home-made book; cut heavy weight paper the same size and decorate. Bind the book by punching or drilling holes into the covers and paper and weaving cord or ribbon through, or use key ring loops.

    Give the repurposed coasters and placemats away as gifts.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi, just come across your suggestion as I search how to reuse my mats. I would like to cover them with wallpaper and apply seal but haven’t a clue as to what to use, bearing in mind the mats have to be heat resistant. Any suggestions, thanks, Pat

  5. Cutting boards for artists: they always need cork mats when cutting paper, etc for their work and those boards are usually very expensive to buy.

  6. KateK says:

    I can’t see if all are the rigid type, but if you have the kind that can be cut easily, you could make them fit into the bottom of a canvas shopping bag. They would ad shape and can be easily wiped off. The cork ones could be cut to fit under a house plant plate to keep it from marking the table surface. The small coasters might be fun to glue into a box, with a cloth ring top.

  7. Kathryn says:

    You can also check with local veterinary offices, they use place mats under food dishes in cages.

  8. bella says:

    cover with felt and make some felt animal shapes or obects for kids to use as a story board. or paint with chalk board paint and put with some 25c chalk for kids at christmas/birthdays.

  9. recycler says:

    if they r kind u use at registrants you could make a tray out of em’

    you take a picture large frame stick em in side (the prettier ones preferably) and and attach a couple of chepie handles (like the ones on cabinets) to opposite ends you have a cutedecorative carrying tray

  10. Olia says:

    Place the placemats with cork up, drill holes around perimeter of each mat, connect with pliable wire or strong string to other mats, and use as a door mat.

  11. Monica says:

    Make flip flops out of the cork ones. Cut 2 layers for each foot. Trace around your foot or use an existing flip flop as a guide. Mark between your toes and cut a hole there through the top layer ONLY. Make straps out of flded over duct tape or some sort of strong, flat, non-streatchy fabric such as denim. Wrap around sides to fit your foot. Duct tape the section above the shoe that’s between your toes for comfort and support. Tape all the ends to the bottom of the top layer. Then hot glue the lower layer on. This will secure and hide the ends of the straps.

  12. pam says:

    Don’t wreck the cork mats. Make cloth bags to fit and close with a strip of velcro on one end.. Can be made of fabric to suit the occasion. eg Christmas or birthday designs. Easy to remove to wash.
    You don’t need a lot of fabric as the underside can be made of calico or you could join 2 pieces of a different design and have them reversible.

  13. Mary B says:

    If they’re still usable for everyday, try covering the tops with self-adhesive shelf liner. It’s easy to do, not permanent and wipes clean.



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