Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Inexpensive Placemats, Napkins and Napkin Rings You Can Make

Since my summer decor theme is Americana, I needed place mats, napkins and napkin holders for our table.  By now, you know that I don't like, nor do I have, a lot of money to spend on things like this.    But, I still like things to look a certain way, so that means a little ingenuity.  I have had red place mats that I have used for several years, but of course this year I wanted to use blue and I wanted to put some kind of decoration on them.  On a recent trip to Dollar Tree, I found these round straw place mats just like my red ones that I paid a LOT more money for and they were only $1 each.  Now that is my kind of price.  They also had these tea towels in navy, red and white that I knew could be turned into napkins.  (I like to use fabric napkins when we have guests).  There were also bolts of #40 ribbon (#40 is 2.5 inches wide) in patriotic patterns that were 3 yards for a dollar which is a great price, so I picked up three bolts because there is always something that can be done with ribbon.

I purchased 6 placemats for our table, 4 tea towels that would make 8 napkins and my ribbon.  My investment was $13.00 total.  Not bad for table decorations.  I paid more than that for 4 red place mats, so count me happy.

When I got home, I had to decide how to decorate my place mats.  I wanted something simple, not too fussy.  We have white Pfaltzgraff Heritage dishes that we have had for 42 years that would be perfect with these colors and complement the Americana theme.  I had a stencil with stars on it that I used to make my flag banner, so I decided I would cluster some of the stars on one side of the placemat and that would be all that was needed.  All it took was some ivory acrylic craft paint that I already had, a stencil brush and a little time and the place mats were done.
The place mats went from this to this.  Done.  Now, to make the napkins.
All I did was take the tea towels and cut them in half.
I opened each towel up and simply turned the cut edge under 1/4 inch and then another 1/4 inch so that each napkin had a finished edge.  Since three sides were already hemmed, I only had to hem one side on each napkin -  fabulously easy and two napkins for $1.00.  Now, I needed napkin holders.  Hmmm. What was I going to use?

I had just finished a roll of paper towels to clean up some paint brushes and I stood there looking at that cardboard roll, when I thought why not?  I simply cut the cardboard along the glue marks where the first towel is attached to the cardboard.  The are evenly spaced and I got 7 pieces of cardboard.  I used a piece the same size from an empty toilet paper roll and I had 8 potential napkin rings.  Cost?  Zip, zero, nada.  Yes!

I simply cut a 12 inch piece of ribbon and used a hot glue gun to run a bead of glue on the inside of the tube near the top edge.
Now, place one end of the ribbon, right side out, on the glue and press it down flat.  I used a pencil so I didn't burn my finger.
Next, wrap the ribbon around the tube making sure it overlaps and completely covers the cardboard tube.  When  you get to the end, run another bead of glue on the ribbon and press the ribbon end onto the glue and trim.
Eight napkin rings for $1.00 is not a bad price if you have priced napkin rings.  They can be quite expensive and these will get us through the summer season.

Fold your napkins however you want and slide your napkin ring down over the napkin.  How easy is that?  You now have place mats, napkins and rings for six place settings.  Napkins will normally cost $2.99 each even in discount stores, so 50 cents per napkin is a great bargain.  If you don't sew, you can use stitch witchery or fabric glue to finish your napkins.  A little paint, ribbon and hot glue will finish the napkin rings and place mats.  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy and the cost can't be beat!

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

“Life is the greatest bargain - we get it for nothing."    Yiddish Proverb

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