A simple stencil technique allows your toddler free expression while painting these one-of-a-kind gifts -- and results in near-perfect designs. She'll be proud as a peacock to see them grace a friend or relative's holiday table.
Use the ruler, pencil, and pinking shears to mark and cut six 14- by 18-inch rectangles from the cloth.
From the Con-Tact paper, cut 6 rectangles slightly larger than the mats. Then cut out cardboard templates of such holiday shapes as ball ornaments (circles), dreidels, trees, and stars.
Trace the templates onto the Con-Tact paper rectangles and cut out the shapes with a craft knife (a parent's job). One rectangle at a time, peel off the backing and stick the Con-Tact paper onto a mat. Be sure to press out all the bubbles to prevent the paint from bleeding later.
Cover your work surface with newspaper. Then squeeze some of the fabric paints onto a paper plate, give your child a brush, and show her how to fill in the shapes with a dabbing motion.
Carefully peel away and discard the Con-Tact paper and, when the designs are dry, add other painted details, such as ornament hooks.