Thanksgiving DIY Projects

Two Thanksgiving DIY projects for your table

Ellen Foord shares two easy ways to add some crafty charm to your holiday table. (Note: Both projects were previously featured on her Made + Remade DIY Network blog.) See the entire feature story about Ellen and her family here.

White Pumpkin Place Card Holders

It’s always a challenge to come up with innovative ways to label seats. For Thanksgiving, I wanted to give a nod to the season, but still keep the décor modern. White pumpkins with sharpie marker patterns fit the bill perfectly.  

Step 1: I found my mini white pumpkins at a local farmers market, but I know you can also find them at Trader Joe’s. Grab up a few and hunt around for some permanent markers. I knew I wanted to use plain old black, but silver or copper would look just as cool.  

Step 2: The first design I did was a kind of vine/leaf trellis. I started by drawing a line straight up every other section. Then I drew little arrows pointing down.  

Step 3: I went back and rounded out the ends of the arrow ends.  

Step 4: The result? A simple pattern that took all of five minutes.  

Step 5: In order to make the place card, I used black card stock and a paper punch, but you could also simply cut out a square of the card stock.  

Step 6: I used a white gel pen to write the guest’s name on the black card stock, and then grabbed my razor knife to cut the stem.  

Step 7: I made a shallow horizontal slit in the stem of the pumpkin to hold the name card.  

Step 8: Place the card in the slit. Finished!

Leather Tassel Napkin Ring

I’m not normally one to mess around with napkin rings. A decent napkin folded neatly suffices in pretty much any situation, in my book. But after seeing leather tassels everywhere over the past few months, I had an idea that I couldn’t resist. Why not add some fringe to a strip of leather, make it a ring and call it a napkin ring? It was hip, modern, playful and not at all fussy. Perfect for an autumn tablesetting.  

Step 1: My craft store has an entire aisle of leather supplies. I’d never been down that aisle before, but now I had a reason. I picked up a sheet of dark brown leather about the size of a piece of printer paper. I also grabbed a packet of snap fasteners, but they were a bad idea I ditched pretty quickly.  

Step 2: To get started, grab a pencil, a ruler and a pair of scissors. I started out by marking a line so that I could cut the sheet in half, because I wanted to make four napkin rings out of the sheet.  

Step 3: Then I used regular scissors (which worked perfectly) to cut the leather.  

Step 4: At this point, I had two rectangular strips. Once again, mark a line to cut each piece in half.  

Step 5: Now you’ve got four pieces. Keep your ruler on hand, as well as your pencil and scissors.  

Step 6: Now mark off a strip at the top of your leather piece. I used the width of my ruler because it seemed like the fastest and easiest method. I like fast and easy.  

Step 7: This will be the ring part of your leather — the part you don’t cut into fringe. Make the line so that you know where to stop cutting.  

Step 8: Now start marking the lines of your fringe. Because my leather was relatively thick, I decided to keep my fringe lines a quarter of an inch thick.  

Step 9: You can start to see exactly what the fringe is going to look like, once you have all of the lines drawn on.  

Step 10: Start cutting the lines of your fringe, stopping at the line you marked at the top.  

Step 11: Yay! Fringe cut. I spent a few seconds rolling the leather around to loosen it up a bit and make it look a little more beaten up and weathered.  

Step 12: So, this is where I did a little testing with the snap brackets and decided to abandon that idea pretty quickly. Second plan of attack? My all-time favorite, tried-and-true super glue.  

Step 13: Apply a thin line to one end of the leather. Wrap around to form a ring and affix the glued end underneath the non-glued end.  

Step 14: Wrap around to form a ring and affix the glued end underneath the non-glued end.  

Step 15: Because the napkin rings weren’t going to be doing any heavier lifting than wrapping around a napkin, I didn’t feel like I needed the strongest bond known to man, but the super glue bonded pretty darn strongly. Despite giving a pretty hearty tug, the leather ring held tight with the glue. Cute, right? Trendy, hip, a little rustic, and totally perfect for dressing up the table for a Thanksgiving feast.