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Get Your Family to Put Down Their Phones During Dinner with These DIY Pocket Placemats

Several months ago, I received a set of darling Anthropologie dish cloths as a gift that were so lovely I couldn’t bear to actually wipe my hands on them. So they ended up sitting in a cabinet. Then, last week, IKEA provided me with the perfect solution to turn the too-pretty towels into placemats that will get a lot more visibility. The inspiration came in the form of the Swedish furnishing company’s new limited edition SITTNING placemat, which has a little pocket that encourages your family to put their phones away and actually pay attention to their tablemates during dinner. If mid-meal texting is a pet peeve of yours too, help give your family and significant other a clue with my easy DIY placemat tutorial.

DIY Phone Pocket Placemats

Here’s what you’ll need to make 4 placemats

– 2 dish towels (You could also use 4 rectangles of sturdy cloth cut to approximately 19“ wide by 14“ tall and hemmed on all sides)
– 4 smaller rectangles of felt for the pockets (see instructions for sizing details)
– Scissors
– An iron
– A needle and thread or sewing machine

Step 1: Fold one dish cloth in half and smooth out any creases.

Step 2: Carefully cut the dish towel at the crease using a sharp pair of scissors.

Step 3: Hem the cut edge of your dish towel by folding a 1/2“ of it over and ironing the crease.

Then fold it over one more time and iron again.

Step 4: Use your sewing machine or a needle and thread to hem the edge.

Step 5: Use your phone to measure out and cut a piece of contrasting felt for your pocket. The piece should be about 2“ wider and 2“ shorter than your phone. If you have a smaller phone, you may want to make your swatch wider just in case, since phones seem to be getting larger and larger these days.

Step 6: Next, pin your felt rectangle onto your placemat. There’s no right or wrong here but remember that your plate will need to go in the center, so you probably want to stick to the upper right or left.

Step 7: Sew your pocket onto your placemat. Remember to leave the top side open so that people can slide their phones in during dinner!

Do you think your family members will get the hint with these suggestive placemats on the table?

Yuka Yoneda

Yuka Yoneda is a reporter, cheese fanatic and self-proclaimed JeDIY master from Queens, New York. She is the founder of Clossette.com and an editor at sustainable design website Inhabitat.com. Yuka also writes for Edible Magazine and Ecouterre.com, and has written for The Daily Green and The New York Times.

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