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The easiest place card holder you'll ever make

DIY place cards for under a dollar each and under an hour to make. It’s just that easy.

It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s more that I have the patience of a hungry two-year-old with a dirty diaper who’s passed her bedtime. I’m working on relaxing and slowing down, but it’s hard when life is just so full of stuff you could be doing. I also might have ADD and I also might be easily distracted and scattered.

Hey look, there’s Bearcat, looking cute … and hey, look there is a random blog I can read … and, AHH Pinterest!!!!

So when it comes to DIY’s, I love them in theory, but they have to be fast and can’t have a high probability of fail. For instance, I won’t try and lacquer things anymore — it simply takes too much time, and you have to be really careful in order to make it really beautiful. I find it a waste of my time and money to do something that looks shoddy.

I’m hoping this will change as I grow up, that I’ll someday love how therapeutic knitting is, but for now I want easy little crafts that save me money and satisfy my inner 4-H state winner.

So, I make things like this:


The easiest DIY place card holder ever, and for each under $1.

Here’s what you need:

Clothespins and blocks of wood (I purchased at Moskatels Craft Supply in downtown LA, but I’d imagine they are widely available), and a crafter’s best friend, the glue gun. The blocks were about $1 each, I think. And the clothespins are clothespins, like 20 for $3 or something like that.

Then you glue them together. That’s it. Here’s what you get:

diy placecard

It’s a lot like the spine surgery that my Orthopedic brother-in-law just performed on a eight-month-old. Except opposite. It’s crazy easy.


diy placecard

I like it natural in this setting, which is modern and rustic. It keeps it simple and masculine.  Obviously you could stain it, but i liked how light and airy it is and i love how utilitarian it is.  Clearly its a lot about the styling as well because this rather pedestrian placecard holder would look super stupid next to victorian goblets, but with the warm texture of the placemat (West Elm) and the clean modern wood flatware (vintage) it totally works.

diy placecard

Now, obviously you could use actual place cards, but I like printing out Facebook photos instead. This one was an Instagram and it was already square, but you could obviously just crop in iPhoto or whatever photo software you have. If it’s for your family, you could do photos of them as kids and print in black and white for an even more vintage feel.

But I wanted to try these different ways because I love how simple changes and different environments change everything.

So then I copper-leafed it:

This was less successful, but it’s still cute. The copper=-leaf paint (I didn’t use the paper this time) just kinda soaked into the wood more than I wanted. It’s cute, but not amazing. It’s just not metallic enough.


diy cooper leaf placecards


So since that was a bit of a fail, I decided to use metallic contact paper. And yes, I’m obsessed with this gold contact paper. It is $90 for a huge roll (18″ x 50 feet) so I’ve been playing with a bunch of leftover paper from this post where I used it as vertical stripes on a wall.

gold contact paper placecards

All I did was cut squares of the contact paper and played with them on the block.

diy placecards

Super easy. A monkey could do it. Hell, the Bear could even possibly do it.

Lastly, I did an option with a pink stripe on a painted white body:

pink stripe placecards

You paint the first coat white and then tape off the area that you want the stripe and paint the second coat. And for the record, I used acrylic paint (tempura paint could work and so could house paint) but spray paint didn’t work too well and really soaked into the wood since it was so unfinished.

diy pink stripe placecard

I did these all quickly one morning whilst sipping coffee and listening to “This American Life, ” and it absolutely reminded me of how making things is so satisfying. So yes, I’ll be crafting more for you, especially this week to prep for my first holiday dinner party this weekend, which may or may not involve a DIY disco ball snowmen. You heard me.

Other ideas you could do with this simple idea is … paint different colors on each side of the block, dip it, wrap neon string around it, splatter paint it, etc. etc. They are so cheap that you can experiment with them and find what you like the most before you make a ton of them.

All photos are by Bethany Nauert.

Styling by me, crafting by me, words by me. But thank you very much Bethany for making them look pretty.



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