Christmas Placemat


Christmas Placemat

Nothing says seasons greetings quite like Christmas craft ideas. Students will learn about complimentary colors, and after being introduced to tartans (Scottish plaids) and viewing works by Piet Mondrian, will create a plaid Christmas placemat. This is a great craft for a class holiday party and can be used by parents as an entertaining after-school activity. You only need a few inexpensive supplies to complete this project, making it one of the most fun and inexpensive Christmas kids crafts around. Use these Christmas placemats for breakfast or brunch when the holiday arrives.



  • Broad Markers
  • Brush Set
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Paper
  • Rulers
  • Laminating paper


Target Grade: 1

Goal (Terminal Objective): Students will learn about complimentary colors, and after being introduced to tartans (Scottish plaids) and viewing works by Piet Mondrian, will create a plaid Christmas placemat.

Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of complimentary colors by creating a tartan (plaid Christmas placemat).

National Standards:
Visual Arts Grades K-4 Content Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
Visual Arts Grades K-4 Content Standard 2: Using knowledge of structure and functions
Visual Arts Grades K-4 Content Standard Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Visual Arts Grades K-4 Content Standard 6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines (Social Studies Cross Curriculum Connection)

Purpose: Students will learn about tartans and will look at examples of them. They will learn about artist Piet Mondrian and his use of grids in his paintings. They will learn about complimentary colors on the color wheel. Using all of this information, they will create a tartan.

New Vocabulary: tartan, plaid, Piet Mondrian, complimentary colors, color wheel

Time: 2-3 class periods

Introduction and Motivation (Set):
Of Scottish heritage, tartans are a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical lines. This is known as plaid in North America.
1. Students are introduced to tartans. Students view several examples. Scottish heritage is discussed.
2. Continuing the discussion on plaid and pattern, show works by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, especially Composition II and Red, Blue, and Yellow. Discuss the grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the use of colors which fill in the grid.

Show and discuss the color wheel. Discuss the placement of colors on the wheel. Allow students to find certain colors and notice their relationships to each other. Teach complimentary colors. Complimentary colors are pairs of colors that are opposite hues on the color wheel. Find different examples of complimentary colors. Focus on red and green as complimentary colors.

(1) Guided Practice:
1. Hand out drawing paper. Students should write their names on the back of the paper.

2. Display samples of tartans and works by artist Piet Mondrian. Discuss his “New Plasticism” style of art. Using a ruler, students should begin drawing horizontal and vertical lines at uneven widths, forming a plaid pattern. Lines should be different thicknesses.

3. Paint in all of the squares and rectangles that were created with red and green paint.

4. The very thin lines can be traced over using a black marker. All other lines should be painted using black paint.

5. Laminate.

(2) Independent Practice and Check for Understanding:
1. Teacher circulates and helps students with drawing straight lines and then with the painting.

2. Teacher offers individual help as needed.

(3) Closure: Teacher leads students in a discussion of tartans. Teacher leads a discussion on the difficulty of using a ruler and of painting “in the lines” as this can be a difficult task for young students.

Level One -- Craftsmanship is excellent. Lines are all drawn correctly and painted correctly. Finished project is a usable placemat and resembles a tartan.

Level Two -- Craftsmanship is good. Finished project is a usable placemat and resembles a tartan.

Level Three -- Craftsmanship is fair. Many lines are not straight and are not painted in correctly.

Level Four -- Craftsmanship is poor or is incomplete. There is no technical skill shown.

Tips: Paint over areas as needed to get a solid dark red and green color and to eliminate brush strokes.

Notes: By focusing more on Piet Mondrian and his works, this project can become a modern painting, rather than a Christmas placemat.

Extension: Designs can be made much more complicated by adding more horizontal and vertical lines or by adding more thin lines. Designs can be made easier by eliminating some or even all of the black lines. Oil pastels can be used instead of paints.

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