You may remember last fall when we repurposed a $6 desk pad into a large placemat for our messy, toddler son. It worked great for a while but over time developed some bubbling in the middle and a little discoloration. So we looked around our apartment again to see what else might do the trick.
We love Ikea's Ribba frames and use them all over the house, but we did have one of the largest sizes fail (the wood pieces didn't hold together) and ended up replacing it (and reinforcing the new one). We were left with an extra piece of polystyrene (similar to plexiglass) that we tucked behind a piece of furniture and forgot about.
When we pulled it out recently we realized it was the exact size as our (also from Ikea) dining room table. Within minutes we had put it under our son's attachable high chair and had ourselves a large, table protector (it covers almost half the table) that's extremely easy to clean and we suspect will stay in good condition until our son develops some table manners.
Of course, you could have a piece of polystyrene or plexiglass cut to size to fit any of your tables, but we loved repurposing this discarded material.
(photo: Carrie McBride)