Hanging Shelf From a Placemat

3 Materials
1 Hour

With almost only a placemat, bit of string and a piece of pallet wood you can make this trendy round wall hanging.

Supplies needed

The most important part of this project is finding the right round placemat. The cheaper the better. Better quality grass ones are too thick and won’t fold neatly along a line. You could possibly use a plastic one that is stiff enough to stand up. Mine looks like raffia. I tried another raffia one that was too thick to fold, so you need to check in advance.

You also need:

  • a piece of wood slightly longer than the diameter of the placemat - mine is a narrow piece of pallet wood
  • twine or chord
  • glue gun
  • wall hook or bracket- mine is a double curtain rod bracket that allows for two strings to hang parallel as opposed to a normal hook that will scrunch up the two strings somewhere in the middle
  • craft knife
  • ruler

Possibly also:

  • mod podge or stiffening agent
  • brush
  • a piece of thin wire to use as a big needle
Plan the layout

I placed the wood just off of the centre of the placemat so that the front of the shelf is a little bit lower and the back is larger and creates a nice background for whatever I am displaying (see yellow dashed line above). I marked 4 positions where the string had to pass through (see green marks above), 2 symmetrical ones for the front and 2 for the back. I had to play around with this a bit because due to the 'floppyness factor' i.e. how stiff the placemat is when hanging, the positions of the slits might vary. The higher up you put holes, the less floppy it will be. All 4 holes should be balanced both vertically and horizontally so that the shelf will hang straight.

Stick the wood

I used a glue gun to stick the broad side of the plank down on the mat and then ironed the placemat up around the two narrow sides of the plank, making a U-shape, (see below). After that I glued the mat to the two the narrow sides as well to make the folds neat and stiff.

Make 4 slits for the twine

The slits or holes have to be big enough to allow the string through but small enough to support knots. Fortunately the woven material is quite forgiving.

Thread the string through

Because my string was on the thin side I decided to braid 3 together. I bent a thin wire into a loop and used that to feed the string though the fabric. I had all my knots showing forward.

Braid if neccessary

This step depends on what your rope looks like. I started and ended my braid without making a knots so that I would still have control over the length of the rope. The rope that supports the back is shorter than the front but I wasn't sure by how much. You could always make a knot on the one side but leave the end unknotted so that you have something extra to lengthen your rope with if needed.

Adjust the length of the ropes

Once the two ropes were braided and stuck through the slits, I adjusted the lengths until the plank hung level and tied knots. This was a bit fiddly and I suppose you could actually measure everything and get it done at lot quicker.

Put your bracket up

I just want to show you what my bracket looks like, it is actually a curtain bracket. I'm not sure what a normal hook would do to the balance of the shelf but I suppose this depends on a whole lot of factors. Do consider the balance factor through.

Also, by hanging it temporarily you might find that your placemat doesn't stand stiff. If so, follow the next step.

Control any flopping

I found that the sides still didn't stand straight up but collapsed inward or outward. To fix this I painted matte mod podge to the reverse of the back and the inside of the front i.e. the parts that wouldn't show. The podge squelched through to the front a bit but became invisible when dry. I also stuck the back rope to the fabric with the glue gun, see below. My slits are quite low on the curve, placing them higher would lessen the problem.


Once the stiffening was sorted, the little shelf was ready to use. I balanced a repurposed a spice bottle in the middle, you could even stick it down with clear tape. I think a set of these would be particularly striking.

Resources for this project:

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Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Mary McDonald Mary McDonald on Jun 14, 2020

    The results are quite unexpected but it looks unique. Would it be possible to somehow continue wrapping the front part of the placemat, towards the back of the board and pasting it? Just pondering if the front would be less covered up if the placemat was wrapped around the board.

  • Judy Patton Judy Patton on Jun 15, 2020

    What did you use to hang it with

  • Bijoux Bijoux on Jun 20, 2020

    What a cute idea. Thanks for sharing. The mats come in many colors which is great.

    Where can I find a wood bracket like that??? Could not find online.

    How did you hang the wood bracket?? Did I miss that somewhere?

    Thank you for sharing your creation.


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