Less than 1 week till Thanksgiving — is your dining room ready for the big event? If not, don’t worry, there’s still time for a guest-impressing makeover. From disguising a past-its-prime dining table to an easy way to give stock white plates a high-end look — we’ve got you covered with five easy project ideas, each with complete step-by-step instructions.
A plain white tablecloth is great for covering up a scratched or discolored tabletop. For a sophisticated look, stitch on a row or two of ruffled burlap or linen:
- white linen or cotton tablecloth
- approximately 5 yards of burlap (will vary depending on size of tablecloth)
- white cotton all-purpose thread
- cutting mat
- rotary fabric cutter
- clear quilting ruler
- sewing machine
Prep Tablecloth and Cut Burlap
Wash and press white cotton or linen tablecloth. Using a rotary cutting tool, clear ruler and a cutting mat, cut burlap into two-inch strips lengthwise. Tip: Scissors can be used if a rotary cutter is not available.
Use a clear quilting ruler and pencil to measure and lightly mark lines to use as a guide when pinning pleated burlap strips. The first line should be two inches up from the bottom edge of tablecloth and the second line should be six inches above the first. If using a rectangular or square tablecloth, measure carefully around corners to get a straight miter. Tip: Additional rows of pleated burlap can be added if desired, and the spacing can be customized depending on preference.
Pleat and Pin Burlap
Using pencil lines as a guide, pleat and pin burlap to tablecloth. The size and fullness of pleats can be adjusted depending on the desired look. Small, crowded pleats will give a fuller, ruffled look and larger pleats will achieve a more tailored, folded look. Tip: For large tablecloths, pin and sew burlap in smaller sections.
Enlist help from the kids to glue real or silk fall leaves onto fishing line to create a magical falling-leaf effect over the dining table or buffet:
- silk fall leaves or natural leaves gathered outside
- one spool of 8 lb. fishing line
- hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
- wax paper
- painter’s tape
- measuring tape
Take a stroll outdoors to gather especially beautiful fall leaves — or head to your local craft store to buy silk versions. Sort leaves into separate piles by size.
Cut Wax Paper
To determine how much wax paper to use for this step, measure the distance between the bottom of your chandelier and the surface of your table. Then, roll out and cut a piece of wax paper that is as long as that measurement.
Attach Fishing Line
Roll out a length of fishing line that’s six to eight inches longer than the wax paper. Use painter’s tape to secure the fishing line to the top and bottom of the wax paper. Leave the extra six inches of fishing line hanging off the top edge of the wax paper; you’ll need this later for tying the line onto your chandelier.
This rustic, flower-free centerpiece is easy to create and needs zero maintenance to keep its good looks:
- large glass cylinder
- foam monument insert (available at craft or floral supply stores)
- pheasant feather picks
- bagged pecans, almonds, walnuts or filberts (in the shell)
- wire cutter
- reindeer moss
- sharp knife
Cut and Position Foam
Use a sharp knife to cut the top off the foam monument insert so it’s shorter than the glass cylinder. Place cut foam in the center of the glass cylinder.
Surround the foam with a layer of one type of nut; for instance, we used pecans. Top nuts with a layer of reindeer moss then add another layer of nuts, such as almonds, filberts or walnuts.
Use a wire cutter to shorten the length of the pheasant feather picks, if necessary. Insert picks into the foam, creating a full arrangement.
Add More Moss
Finally, add another thick layer of reindeer moss on top, working it around the base of the feathers so none of the foam is visible.
Inexpensive white plates look like a million bucks with a holiday hand-painted detail:
- white ovenproof plates
- food and dishwasher safe ceramic paint (or ceramic paint pen)
- masking tape (optional)
- 1.0 liner artist brush
Wash and dry plates. Position stencil in desired location on plate and hold firmly or tape into place. Lightly trace design with a pencil.
Using a 1.0 liner brush, fill in design with ceramic paint. Ceramic paint pens are available for those less steady with a brush. If a mistake is made, it can be washed off to start over. Once completed, allow paint to dry for 24 hours before proceeding to next step. Bake Plates Follow manufacturer’s instructions to bake plates and cure paint. Allow plates to cool. Tip: Design options are limitless. Paint a simple gold rim for a classic look, or monogram plates for a personalized hostess gift.
Let guests know what’s for dinner by turning an old frame and chalkboard paint into a chic menu board:
- large wooden frame
- 1/4″ hard board cut to fit in frame (Tip: You can have it cut at your local hardware store)
- gold leaf (2-3 packages for large frame)
- leaf sizing
- 1″ artist brush
- soft mophead brush
- 1″ sponge brush
- latex gloves
- clean rag
- dark walnut oil-based wood stain
- spray primer
- chalkboard paint
- foam roller
- paint tray
- small nails
Use a one-inch artist brush to apply leaf sizing to entire frame. Allow to dry for approximately 30 minutes, or until sizing turns from milky-white to clear. Sizing should feel tacky to the touch.
Apply Gold Leaf
Use a soft brush to gently lift gold leaf sheet and apply to frame. Brush gold leaf down onto sizing. Pieces will flake off while brushing. Pick up these flakes and use them to fill in small gaps in leaf. Continue this process until frame is fully covered in gold leaf. It will look rough and a little “shaggy.”
Buff Gold Leaf
Gently rub mophead brush over gold leaf to buff surface (Image 1) and remove excess leaf.
In a well-ventilated area, apply dark walnut wood stain to a small section of frame using a one-inch foam brush, working the stain into molded details. Gently rub off excess with a clean rag. Repeat process around entire frame. Wood stain will stain skin, so wear latex gloves. Tip: Stain will remain tacky for about 24 hours, so allow plenty of dry time after this step.
Cut a piece of 1/4″ hard board to fit inside frame. Spray surface of hard board with primer and allow to dry. Apply two coats of chalkboard paint with foam roller, allowing ample dry time between coats. Tip:Cover paint tray and roller in cling wrap between coats so they only need to be washed once.
Once dry, insert chalkboard into frame using small nails hammered into sides of frame to secure it.
Rub entire chalkboard with the side of a piece of chalk. This will season the chalkboard and prevent writing from being burned into the surface. Erase chalkboard with a wet paper towel for a clean look or with a dry one for a smeared, vintage look. Use chalk or grease pen (chalk ink) to write poems, verses, song lyrics, menus, event details or memos.
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