Make Thanksgiving Placemats with Corn Cob Painting

Make Thanksgiving Placemats by painting with corn cobs! A super fun Fall craft for toddlers & preschoolers.

I host a big Thanksgiving dinner at my house every year with up to 20 people attending. It's one of my favorite days of the year because I love being surrounded by family. I'm so excited to include my toddlers this year in helping me to get ready for the big day by doing some crafts to decorate our table. Our first project is placemats for their seats at the table, and it turned out to make a bonus centerpiece too!

This post contains affiliate links. See my Disclosure Policy for details.

When I do art projects with my toddlers, it is all about the experience and not about the end product. I love giving them freedom to explore different media and see what they create. We picked up some decorative dried corn at the pumpkin patch and it inspired me to try painting with it.

Here's what you need:

I cut the poster board to 19 x 13 inches to be a good size for a placemat. Of course you can make yours smaller or larger depending on the room you have at your table. I put out some washable paints, the corn, and some brushes out and let my toddlers lead.

They started right away painting the corn with a sponge brush.

We used some of the corn stalk as a brush too.

Then we put a few globs of paint right on the poster board and they rolled the corn around in it. This made a really cool looking pattern and put some great color on the corn too!

Once they were done, I let it dry completely before moving to the next step - making it into a placemat.  I cut a piece of clear contact paper large enough to wrap around the poster board (about 1 inch on all sides).

Then I laid the contact paper sticky side up on my work surface. I pulled away the backing paper first from each corner and taped it down with painter's tape. Then I pulled the paper away from each side towards the middle. This helps it stay flat.

I placed the poster board painted side down on the contact paper and pressed firmly. I wrapped the edges around as tightly as possible. Contact paper is very forgiving, so if you don't get a good edge at first you can carefully lift and reposition it.  I cut a small slit in each corner so that it would wrap nicely.

Done! A DIY placemat for your toddler's place at the Thanksgiving table. It's not waterproof enough for everyday use but it can be wiped down and should last through dinner, dessert, and a midnight snack. And as a bonus, our corn now has a lovely coat of paint and can be incorporated into our centerpiece. Most importantly, we had a lot of fun!

I'd love to hear from you! To get in touch, message me on Facebook or Instagram, or send me an email.