“Family Place Mats,” Ensign, Apr. 1981, 62
Teach your children about family relationships by using family place mats. They’re colorful, long-wearing, and easily washed with warm water.
To make them you’ll need heavy, brightly colored poster paper, a roll of transparent contact paper, and a couple of fine-point, felt-tipped pens in contrasting colors. These supplies are available at local office-supply centers or variety stores.
Each piece of poster paper may be cut into three 11-by-17-inch mats. On these mat pieces, draw figures to represent each member of the immediate family—mom, dad, and children. Draw a line to represent a ribbon or rope connecting each family member (see illustration), then write each person’s name under the figure representing him. Border designs, flowers, or other ideas may be used for decoration. Make sure you leave the middle space clear so the plate doesn’t cover up any family member.
Next, measure the contact paper. Each piece should be at least one and a half inches larger on all sides than the mat. You’ll need two pieces this size for each mat. Strip backing from one piece of contact paper, lay it flat on the table, sticky side up, and carefully place the mat in the center of the paper. Press the mat firmly into place. Strip another piece of contact paper and carefully place it, sticky side down, on top of the mat. In putting this piece on, it’s best to lay contact paper at the top edge and then carefully let it fall downward, pressing out air bubbles as it falls toward the bottom of the mat. Press the mat firmly all over and trim the edges evenly all around so that the contact paper makes a one-inch border.
Make one mat for each child in the family. Next, make one for mom and dad where they appear as children with their brothers and sisters. And for those special occasions when the grandparents come to dinner, have special mats showing them as children with their brothers and sisters. Janet R. Balmforth, Provo, Utah