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Foolproof (and cheap) DIY Holiday Place Settings

DIYs are always a great idea until you realize you've gone in way over your head.

The holidays are stressful enough, so whether you're dressing a table for Thanksgiving, Christmas, a wedding, or a casual party, check out this very easy and very cheap table setting hack that adds just enough rustic glitz to any soirée.

Our golden twig and leaf table setting takes little more than a few hours (most of which requires waiting for the paint to dry...score!) and about $10-15 bucks (if you don't already have the supplies).

Here's how to get started:

1. Gather fallen leaves and sticks from your favorite tree.

The key here is variety and texture. Longer names need larger leaves, older leaves have more interesting curls, and heartier leaves are easier to write on. For example, we grabbed a handful of magnolia leaves—ones that keep their texture long after hitting the ground. And as with any craft project, account for mess-ups and last-minute guests. If you've got 20 guests, gather 40 leaves to ensure you've got enough to cover those names you misspelled and the non-RSVP arrivals.

2. Grab a can of spray paint, an oil-based marker, some gloves, and scrap paper or a tarp.

Remember, this is your party. If want something with a little more sheen, go with a gloss paint. (we love Hardcore's metallic gloss paints). Note that a water-based marker or paint pen is going to have a hard time adhering to any spray paint surface, so invest in an oil-based marker like the Sharpie® Metallic Permanent Marker or the Craft Smart® Multisurface Premium Oil-Based Paint Pen. Finally, unless you're cool with a little spray paint on your nails or wherever you're crafting, grab a pair of latex gloves and a throw-away surface (like a large piece of craft paper, an old bed sheet, tarp, etc.) before you begin the painting process.

3. Spray 'em good and let 'em dry.

Don't over-do it, but make sure you spray your leaves, twigs, and other materials so that surfaces are fully covered. Then, let them dry for about 4 hours. Depending on the weather—sunny or rainy, humid or dry—the drying process may take less time.

4. Practice your handwriting and go for it.

We're of the opinion that DIY place settings (and any DIY, really) shows a lot of effort and heart. If you're not a calligrapher, who cares? These leaves don't have to be perfect. But while they're drying, take a minute to practice writing a few names and get your general style like you want it. Then, knock them out in one fell swoop. Remember, you gathered enough leaves to account for mistakes, so if you butcher that cursive "m", you'll get another chance to get it right.

5. Arrange to your heart's content.

This is the best part. Play around with your masterpiece and create something that's totally you. There's nothing more impressive than that.

Have a party DIY idea that you think should be featured on Ceremony's blog? We'd love to hear it! Give us a shout at

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