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DIY Table Settings with David Stark

Planning a small party at home can be an ideal opportunity to create a space for a unique experience, as well as a chance to flex your creative muscles, which I know you all have. Look at what plates or glassware you already have in your own kitchen and open your mind to what else you have in your home that could translate into a placemat or a napkin treatment. Look for unexpected materials around you that can elevate and transform your tablescape, even if it means raiding your recycling bin, or a trip to the local art store. Our lovely friend David Stark and his crew took two very easy to source items, cardboard and watercolor paper, and have created two very different and beautiful tablescapes for your viewing pleasure.

1_David_Stark_watercolor_supplies_emily henderson_ingredients

So here’s what you will need:

Paintbrush (we used about a 2 inch wide one, so that we could get away with one stroke across the place cards)

Mixing Bowl and Water:  You will use this to water down that paint that you use.

Watercolor Paper: Grab this at your local art supply store. You can keep it organic by ripping the edges (like we did), or you can cut them with scissors for a cleaner more modern look.

White Pen: You can grab this at your local art supply store. You could also use a paint pen, or a different color to mix it up.

Paint: We used Benjamin Moore’s ‘Symphony Blue’

watercolor placemat placecard_steps 1 and 2

Step 1: In the tray, mix water into the paint at a 1:1 ratio. Stir well and confidently brush across your paper. Mistakes will happen, embrace them!

Step 2: Brush across all your place cards and placemats. Once dry, add your friends names to the place cards using a white pen.

watercolor placemat placecard_steps 3

Step 3: Using the same technique as you did for the place cards, brush your stroke across larger sheets of watercolor paper to create the striped placemats.

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Watercolor Plates | Wood Flatware | Napkin | Blue Tumbler |

Have fun with it, and now you can enjoy what’s below your plate as much as the food that’s on top of your plate.

1_David_Stark_cardboard_supplies_emily henderson_ingredients

For the second DIY they used a few items we all have around the house. You will need:




Craft Knife

Cardboard: If you already have a leftover piece of cardboard just use the reverse side which is usually blank.

White String and Needle: You could also mix it up by using colored twine, embroidery floss, jute, or ribbon.

Awl: This is used to poke the holes through the cardboard but you could also use a pen, skewer, or something else similar you have around the house.

cardboard placemat placecard_steps 1 and 2

Step 1: Cut your place cards and place mats to size. (We cut our placemat to 19”x14” and place card to 4.5”x3.5”). Use your pencil to mark where you want your stitches to go. Punch each point with the awl.

Step 2: Once you have punched all the holes, erase the pencil marks and sew a classic blanket stitch around the edge. We used this simple how-to.

cardboard placemat placecard_steps 2 and 3

Step 3: Add your pals’ names to each place card, and repeat the same steps to make each placemat.


Plate | Flatware | Napkin | Glasses: David’s own

And there it is, two very easy, inexpensive and beautiful DIY’s to spice up your dinner table for many future parties to come. Just don’t forget to invite me!

To see some more of David’s amazing work click here. All photos courtesy of the talented, Corrie Beth Hogg.


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11 thoughts on “DIY Table Settings with David Stark

  1. I ADORE a creative table setting! And love hosting parties all the time… these are gorgeous! So simple and so unique. I am pinning these for sure. Time to send out invites so I can make these awesome name cards!

  2. I love the paint idea! I paint all my gift tags for customers and use thin tip sharpie for writing. Why in the world have I not used white lol. Great job, emily!

  3. I LOVE this! More tablescapes, please! Ever since Eddie Ross stopped blogging, the world is woefully underserved in inspiration for modern, beautiful tablescape ideas. Please make David a regular contributor.

    1. I second that notion – please make David a regular contributor! I absolutely love how beautiful those two tablesettings are and best of all they weren’t expensive. Fabulous!

  4. I love the way these things look, but the cardboard one is far too much effort for one meal’s use. For sure grease will drop on it, and there goes the placemat!

  5. Soo cool and so ispiring! The second one recquires some patience but the first one seems so easy to do and the possibilities are endless.

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