The Most Charming Place Card Ideas for Any Table Setting or Celebration
If you think about it, place cards serve two main roles at any event: They're decorative elements that anchor your tabletop design, but they're also practical tools that help guests find their seats effortlessly. Without a well-designed, readable place card, your family and friends are left to wander aimlessly. What's more, certain couples or family members may end up at opposite ends of the table. Place cards help everyone avoid that awkward guessing game of where to sit, which means you'll be free to focus on more important issues (like executing your dinner menu).
More often than not, simply taking the time to choose a piece of stationery that's complementary to your tablescape and linens will make your place settings look more complete. With a creative vision, you can make use of craft supplies like calligraphy pens, watercolor paints, glitter, and other embellishments to take those place settings to the next level. That's why we're sharing how to transform a piece of stationery into a work of art that makes a great first impression upon any guest.
These place cards can sit atop plates or they can be fashioned to accentuate other tabletop essentials like napkins, silverware, or even edible treats. If you're planning a holiday feast, a place card paired with an edible Easter egg or a citrus pomander at Christmas are innovative ways to make your place card standout. Use one of these unique place card to decorate your tablescape in the days before your event, for whichever occasion it may be.
Photo Place Cards
Origami Place Cards
Simple and yet sophisticated, these place cards come together with just a few simple folds. To make them, fold a five-and-one-eigth-inch square piece of origami paper into quarters, making a smaller square; then, fold that square in half. Holding the card with its crease at the bottom, fold front and back flaps down so all edges are even. As the finishing touch, write your guest's name in marker on card stock, and set the tag inside your crafted holder.
Mini Terrarium Place Cards
Welcome guests to an alfresco meal with little pots of moss. Covered with a glass, each looks like a miniature terrarium. Fill a one-and-a-half-inch terra-cotta pot with moss, insert twig in center, and glue a name tag to twig. Cover it with a glass, which can be used for drinks.
Message-in-a-Bottle Place Cards
If you're hosting a beach party, these delicate place cards accentuate the best elements of coastal living. To make them, use a funnel to pour sand into a small glass bottle. Roll up a small scroll of paper, securing with a few strips of double-sided tape placed parallel to the rolling direction, and write a guest's name on it. Using tweezers, place it inside the bottle and seal it with a cork.
Lobster Place Cards
Hosting a summertime seafood buffet? Set the tone in advance with claw-shaped cards. To make them, trace our template onto red card stock and cut out the claw shapes. Write names onto each card using a white gel-ink pen and when you place it on the table, weight it down with stones.
Paper-Boat Place Card
Set a shipshape table with seaworthy vessels whose sails designate younger guests' seats. Great for a children's table, these whimsical place cards require little more than kraft paper and a simple folding technique. Outfit boats with Life Savers candies and cast them adrift on blue napkins.
Watercolor-Painted Marble Tile Place Cards
Set a personalized place setting for each guest at the table and center it around this place card. All you need are two things: craft paint and small tiles, which are blended with summery colors of soft pink, peach, lilac, coral, and white.
Miniature Easter Candy Basket
Cloth Ghost Place Cards
These spooky little spirits come with open arms (and hold the chalkboard place card for you to find your seat). To make them, mold the body of each little ghost by draping cheesecloth (soaked in fabric stiffener) over a styrofoam ball and wooden skewers. A gaping mouth and pair of eyes are drawn on with permanent marker.
Graveyard Place Cards
Show dinner guests to their seats with cemetery-themed place cards that double as treat holders. To make them, cut off the top of plain paper bags about two-and-a-half inches from the bottom and use a decorative paper punch to create the surrounding "fence." You'll then cut "gravestones" from card stock, and stamp them with names of your guests.
Leaf Animal Place Cards
Use backyard leaves to make place cards for the kids' table—or have your young dinner guests create their own. To make them, print one of our forest animal templates and secure it onto a leaf with tape, using detail scissors to cut out the shape. Tip: If you're using brittle leaves, reinforce them with layers of tape on the backs before cutting.
Cardinal Place Cards
In many European countries, it is a Christmas custom to feed songbirds, which are symbols of luck. Mark place settings with handsome red cardinals, and your guests are sure to feel fortunate. These place cards can be used with or without honeycomb paper.
Thanksgiving Menu Place Card
Nutshell Place Cards
At your Thanksgiving table, celebrate the bounty of the season—right down to the place cards. To create these walnut name labels, cut slips of paper into flags (about 1 1/2 inches by 1/2 inch each). Write names on the paper using a fine-tipped felt or metallic-paint pen. Open shells slightly with a nutcracker, and insert the flags.
Rock Place Cards
The shades and textures found in marble and stone dinnerware make a great backdrop for a concept cut from a similar cloth. Personalize smooth river rocks with each guest's name, spelled out in gold stickers.
Embroidered-Leaf Place Cards
Guide Thanksgiving guests to their seats—and give little hands a fun project in the days beforehand—with easy embroidered table cards. Stitch each name onto a sturdy leaf (these are magnolia), and let nature's paper spruce up the feast.
Tree Place Card
Plant a forest of place cards on the holiday table. Kids can help fold paper trees and add stars with guests' names. To make them, print our Christmas tree and star clip-art onto card stock and fold along the lines as indicated. Write your guest's name on the teeny-tiny paper star before inserting it into the slit atop your tabletop tree.
Paper Lantern Place Cards
Lanterns are appropriate for all manner of occasions. Fold a small lantern—paired with a personalized name tag—that can be offered as a thoughtful gift to each guest sitting at your table.
Dreidel Place Card
Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel—made out of card stock! (And there's no glue required, so it's already dry and ready.) Print our dreidel templates and trace sections onto lavender card stock, and cut out. Cut slits onto your cards as indicated on the templates. Finish by writing the guest's name on one piece and slide both pieces together.
Cornhusk Place Cards
In fall, the blossoms of summertime are little more than a distant memory. But you can bring some of their delicate beauty to your fall decorating by fashioning flowers from the husks of dried Indian corn—a farm-stand staple at this time of year. To make place cards, create flowers by copying our template onto card stock. Cluster blossoms and buds, one at a time, securing wires together with floral tape. Attach to a tented place card by punching two holes with a micro-hole punch and threading ribbon through it to tie.
Dried-Flower Place Cards
Forage from the outdoors to craft these place cards for your autumn harvest table. They're easy to make: Simply write your guest's names with a white gel pen on small cards or thick paper that's been cut down to size, then use a strip of washi tape to attach a dried-flower stem to each card.
Pinecone Place Card
Small florets adorn each and every place card, which is made by gluing your choice of card stock over veneer paper. You'll have to prop up the cards with a triangle fashioned out of heavy paper that's glued underneath, perpendicular to the veneer.