Thanksgiving Paper Placemats: Easy and Affordable Table Decor

Thanksgiving Paper Placemats: Easy and Affordable Table Decor

The leaves are changing, the air is getting crisp, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner! As you start planning your holiday menu and making your guest list, don’t forget about the all-important Thanksgiving paper placemats. Having a beautifully set table elevates the whole holiday and makes it feel extra special.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving decorating tricks is using paper placemats. They add a ton of color and personality to your table but are way more affordable and low-maintenance than fancy cloth linens. I like to change up the placemats every year to match the vibe and palette of the rest of my decor. It’s an easy way to give your tablespace a fresh new look!

In this article, I’ll walk you through lots of ideas, inspiration, and DIY projects for creating your own fabulous paper placemats this Thanksgiving. Whether you want to buy ready-made ones, print your own designs, or get crafty with construction paper, there are so many options to fit your skill level and budget. Let’s get started!

Purchased Thanksgiving Paper Placemats

Purchased Thanksgiving Paper Placemats

The easiest route is to simply purchase pre-made paper placemats from a store or online. There are so many great options out there these days that are both affordable and high quality. Here are some things to look for when shopping for Thanksgiving paper placemats:

Vibrant Colors and Patterns

Since the placemats will be a big part of your table decor, you want them to make a statement. Look for rich fall hues like burgundy, orange, yellow and green. Playful turkey, leaf or harvest prints are perfect for Thanksgiving. You can also find solid color placemats in bold autumn shades.

Texture and Interest

Placemats with subtle texture like burlap, linen or felt add visual depth and dimension. Metallic accents, foil stamping or embossing are other interesting touches. For a rustic vibe, try placemats made from kraft paper or newsprint.

Sturdy and Spill-Resistant

While paper placemats are festive, you still need them to be functional and stand up to holiday meals. Seek out ones made from laminated card stock or coated papers that can be easily wiped clean of spills. You can even find vinyl paper placemats that mimic fabrics or other materials but are totally kid and mess-proof.

Sets and Coordinating Pieces

Look for paper placemats that are sold in full sets of 4, 6 or 8 so you have enough for your whole table. Many also have coordinating pieces like napkins, chargers, table runners and coasters so you can create a complete layered look.

Some of my favorite stores to shop for high quality, inexpensive paper placemats include World Market, Target, Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond and Walmart. Etsy also has fabulous Thanksgiving paper placemat options from independent sellers.

Sets and Coordinating Pieces

Printable Paper Placemats

If you want placemats that are customized to your taste or match your specific Thanksgiving color scheme and decor, printing your own is a great option!

Here are some ideas for printable Thanksgiving paper placemats:

Fall Colors and Patterns

Search sites like Etsy or Creative Market for printable paper placemat templates featuring autumn florals, leaves, acorns and other seasonal motifs that you can customize with your color palette.

Printable placemats with a solid color or ombre fall look are also easy to personalize by matching to your table decor.

Photos and Memories

Turn your placemats into a nostalgic scrapbook of Thanksgiving memories by including old family photos from past holidays. You can also print kids’ hand traced turkeys or leaves.

Menu and Recipes

Print out your full Thanksgiving menu, favorite family recipes or wine pairings right onto the placemats as a handy reference for guests.

Kids’ Crafts

Let kids create their own placemat designs to print – they can draw turkeys, leaves, etc. Or print out kid-friendly Thanksgiving coloring page placemats.

To print your personalized placemats, use cardstock or heavy weight matte photo paper for best results. An inkjet printer should work fine for most designs, but you may want to laminate them or use a sealant spray to make them more durable.

Handmade Paper Placemats

If you’re feeling crafty, whipping up your own one-of-a-kind paper placemats is easy, fun and budget-friendly. Here are some DIY ideas to try:

Decoupage Placemats

Cut tag board or foam core into placemat sized rectangles. Brush on decoupage glue and adhere cut outs from scrapbook paper, tissue paper, leaves or other paper ephemera. Finish with several more coats of decoupage glue to seal and protect.

Felt Applique Placemats

Apply fun felt shapes like leaves, acorns or turkeys onto a store-bought solid color felt placemat using fabric glue. Stitch around the edges of the appliques with embroidery floss for extra hold.

Laminated Placemats

For kids’ placemats, have them draw turkey or leaf designs on colored construction paper. Then laminate their creations to make them sturdy and spill-proof.

Chalkboard Placemats

Turn tagboard into chalkboard placemats! Paint with black chalkboard paint and let dry. Kids can create their own designs right on the placemats with chalk. Refresh with a wipe down after eating.

Rural Route Placemats

Tear or cut strips from kraft paper bags. Apply the strips diagonally across plain kraft paper or cardstock using decoupage glue to create rustic rural route inspired placemats.

Not only are handmade placemats super affordable – they also make great keepsakes. The kids will love being able to take home their masterpieces after the holiday!

Tips for Decorating With Paper Placemats

Tips for Decorating With Paper Placemats

Once you’ve selected your perfect paper placemats, use these pro decorating tips to incorporate them flawlessly into your Thanksgiving paper placemats:

  • Tie in colors from the placemats into your napkins, table runner, flowers, candles etc. This creates a cohesive, put-together look.
  • Layer placemats over vinyl, lace or burlap runners for texture and dimension.
  • Up the shine factor with glass chargers layered underneath paper placemats.
  • Anchor placemats with heavy ceramic plates or wood chargers so they stay put.
  • Sprinkle in metallics through napkin rings, cutlery and decor to complement foil or metallic placemats.
  • Scatter faux autumn leaves, acorns, pinecones and other foraged touches on top of placemats.
  • Add menu cards or name tags on top of placemats so guests know where to sit.
  • Finish the table with turkey napkin rings, pops of orange flowers or candles for a festive flair.

With the right paper placemats and a few decorating tricks, you can easily create a stunning Thanksgiving table that looks elegant and cohesive, but didn’t cost a fortune or take hours of DIY crafting.

I hope this article got you inspired to get creative with paper placemats for your upcoming Thanksgiving! Now I have a favor to ask of you: please share in the comments your best tips and tricks for crafting or decorating with paper placemats. I’d love to hear your ideas!


Q: Are paper placemats formal enough for Thanksgiving?

A: Definitely! While not as formal as a cloth tablecloth, paper placemats can look quite elegant, especially if you layer them over fabric runners or chargers. Go for a luxe look by mixing metallics, velvet ribbons and glass.

Q: Should I use plastic covers over paper placemats?

A: You can, but it’s not essential. Many paper placemats these days are laminated or made from coated materials that resist moisture and spills. As long as you anchor them well under plates, plastic covers aren’t strictly necessary.

Q: How do I make kids’ paper placemats reusable?

A: Good options are laminating them or covering with clear self-adhesive plastic. You can also decoupage kids’ artwork onto placemat-sized wood or plastic blanks which can be wiped clean after meals.

Q: What can I use instead of placemats?

A: Runners, tablecloths, butcher paper, and even bare tables can work. For a natural look, use burlap or cotton runners and scatter autumn leaves, gourds and mini pumpkins.

Q: What are trendy Thanksgiving placemat colors for 2023?

A: Earthy terracotta oranges, olive greens, and deep plum purples are big this year. Navy blue is another great choice. For a modern twist, go for placemats mixing multiple fall hues like orange, yellow, red and brown.

Final Verdict

With so many affordable options ranging from festive pre-printed designs to handmade DIY placemats, paper is a stylish and versatile choice for your Thanksgiving table this year.

Paper placemats are an easy way to quickly change up the look of your holiday table year after year. They also add a fun, family-friendly feel when kids are able to create their own places.

Beyond the aesthetic impact, paper placemats can also help protect your surfaces from spills and stains during messy Thanksgiving meals. Just be sure to choose durable, coated options or laminate homemade placemats for best results.

Enhance your Thanksgiving celebration with a power rangers balloon bouquet – a festive way to add a pop of color and excitement to your holiday gathering. However you decide to craft and decorate with them, paper placemats are a Thanksgiving table decorating staple. With a little creativity, they can really elevate your entire holiday dining space.

I hope this guide gave you lots of inspiration and ideas for bringing Thanksgiving paper placemats to your Thanksgiving table this year. Wishing you and yours a very happy and safe holiday season!

About the author

Jennifer Robert

Jennifer Robert

Jennifer Robert is a home design blogger with a passion for creating beautiful, functional spaces. She shares her tips and tricks on her blog, and she's always on the lookout for new trends and ideas.

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