Fun Coloring Placemats Activity for Kids of All Ages

by CherylsArt

Do your kids like to color? Do they want to move beyond coloring books? Placemats with outline drawings on them can be the perfect solution.

The placemats presented here have outline drawings already on them, giving the kids a fun starting point. If they want to just color in the design, that is great. If they want to add to the design, there is space for that too.

I recommend fabric paint markers. They are easy to handle, and you don't have to worry about spills.

Kids love coloring, painting, and making designs.

A lot of kids feel a sense of pride making something that they or the family can use.

I remember painting in, coloring in designs on cotton table cloths, among other things, when I was a kid. I felt more grown up knowing that my coloring was going to be used.

I still have the table cloth that I colored in.

My table cloth that I colored as a kid.

Coloring on fabric back then was called liquid embroidery.

There were special paints that we had to use, that we purchased from in home shows.

Today, you can purchase paint markers at a local arts and crafts store, or from a number of places online.

Fabric Paint Markers are easy to handle. You don't need paint dishes, brushes, or water bowls.

Elmer's Painters are my favorite for painting on fabric. Sometimes, I like to outline the design, and use Dimensional Fabric Paint for that.
Elmer's Painters Bright, Medium

Elmer's Painters make any craft or painting project easy. Paint and decorate almost any surface from wood to walls from plastic to cloth and more. Any project that calls for acr...

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Scribbles Dimensional Fabric Paint, 20-Pack, 1-Ounce

Scribbles are great for all kinds of projects. Apply to clothing; crafts; home decor; wood and many other types of surfaces. Scribbles dimensional fabric paints now come in thes...

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I liked having outlines already on the fabric.

There are no numbers to follow for the colors, so you can choose the colors.

Although the drawing is there, creativity is there too. Being able to choose your own colors is important.

I worked at an arts and craft store, and hosted birthday parties that were held there. All the kids loved the painting projects, and got very engrossed in what they were doing.

Even though they all started with the same set of materials, and design, the final projects all looked very different, and unique.

One kid might color in everything with solid colors, and another might start adding polka dots and or stripes. It's fun to watch their creativity flourish.

There are a variety of drawings to choose from. Click on any design and search for outline drawing placemats to see more options.

You can also customize the placemat color.

The location of the design, and the size, can be adjusted.

I placed the designs to the right, so that the person can see the design when the plate is there.

To adjust the size or placement of the drawing, click on the product of your choice, then on Customize It, and then on the the Design. You can then click on a corner box around the design and stretch it out or drag it in. Place the cursor in the center of the design to drag and move it. Click on the center of the plus sign in the Edit box to the right of the design to center it.

These placemats are made of 100% woven cotton.

They are machine washable.

I haven't yet painted on the placemats, but have painted on other material, such as aprons from Zazzle. The aprons turned out great, so I imagine the placemats will work well too.

However, if you would like to wait, I ordered a placemat myself, and will post about my experience.

Note, that the placemats takes an extra 7 - 14 days to process, before they are shipped.

Update: The placemat arrived and looks great. The yellow was a bit lighter than pictured online, but is still plenty dark enough to show up for painting it in.

The placemat is two layers thick and the edges are hemmed under. The fabric feels substantial and sturdy, and washed up well in the laundry. However, it didn't lay as flat once laundered.

This is the one I ordered.

I wanted a variety of designs to try out different techniques.

I pre-washed and painted in the designs on my placemat.

I used Elmer's opaque paint markers and also Sharpies permanent markers.

I placed a thick flat sheet of cardboard under the placemat before I began.

paainted placemat

What I noticed:

  • There was a little bleed through to the back layer of fabric, from some of the markers (both kinds), but not much.
  • The Elmer's paint markers left a thicker, textured layer of paint on the fabric, which left this part of the fabric stiffer.
  • The Sharpies permanent markers left the fabric smooth and bled a little bit in to the surrounding colors, but not much.
  • The Elmer's markers covered underneath colors better. The Sharpies markers could be blended.
  • Upon washing, the colors from the Sharpies markers spread, and the Elmer's markers didn't.

My recommendation:

  • If you want a smoother feeling placemat and you're not concerned with the colors running or bleedthrough, then choose the Sharpies markers.
  • If it's something you're going to frame, or if you don't care about the stiffness, and you want to add more options, like pearlescent, then the Elmer's markers is a good choice.

Once I heat set the paint and wash it again, I will post those findings too.


I heat set the designs with a hot iron for a couple of minutes. After a couple of days, I put it in the wash. Some of the Sharpies marker colors washed onto other areas of the placemat, and also on to a couple of miscellaneous clothes.

My recommendation is not to use Sharpies Markers for fabric painting, and to stick with the Elmer's Paint Markers.



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Updated: 11/04/2014, CherylsArt
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CherylsArt on 05/14/2013

Tolovaj, I like what you said about lines not being a problem. I like when there is a balance, sometimes going freely out of the lines and just letting go, and sometimes staying inside the lines.

AnomalousArtist, hello fellow creative soul. Thank you for the encouraging words.

Dustytoes, Christmas tree skits are so fun. I did one with regular stitching; it was very colorful. Thank you for the compliment.

dustytoes on 05/13/2013

Once I made a Christmas tree skirt doing liquid embroidery. I love this idea for the Zazzle placemats - very unique!

AnomalousArtist on 05/12/2013

I used to love making my own T-shirts this way when I was a kid, what a great idea!

Tolovaj on 05/12/2013

We just started a site with coloring pages after we studied pros and cons of coloring pages. It seems they are really popular among some people (many teachers for instance) but there are also people who really hate them.
I agree they can somehow limit the creativity and can even cause frustration. On the other hand they offer only general guidance and kids still have A LOT of options to express their individuality, especially with proper guidance. Lines are never a real problem. Only minds can be:)
So this kind of activities are really among best things we can offer to our children. Good to know about coloring placemats, thanks!

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