To get ready for summer entertaining season, this month we're sharing a mini-series of pro tips and projects from our guest blogger, party planner extraordinaire and designer David Stark. This week, his instructions for whimsical golden creature place cards.
My new book, The Art of the Party
is a look under the hood of the car, if you will, on what it takes to make a party special. Often the details are what tip an event from ordinary to extraordinary, and we like to look at every standard convention as a place to innovate. Case in point, the place card is a perfect spot for creativity.
You might ask, “Why place cards? Isn’t that fuddy-duddy?” Place cards are a genius way to show your guests that you really thought about them, putting them next to people that they either will become fast friends with, might make wonderful business connections with, perhaps even fall in love with. When we do it, though, we make it special.
Here are a few examples from recent fetes where the escort card was more than just a standard, tented card:
And here is a fun idea for your upcoming spring and summer fetes where a toy caterpillar becomes elevated with a little gold leaf and a cut paper leaf.
Gold leafing is not as intimidating as it sounds. Arts and crafts stores carry all the supplies you need, a package of (imitation) gold leaf, sizing (glue), and a brush.
Paint a thin layer of sizing on your object, after about 15 minutes when the sizing is tacky to the touch, apply the gold leaf.
It comes in thin sheets and is easy to manipulate. You can use your fingers or a dry brush to get into tiny crevices and brush away the excess. If you would like extra protection on top of the gold you can apply a sealer. The whole process takes about 5 minutes.
Then, cut a leaf shape from paper. We used the leaf shape from a Ginko Tree and write a guests’ name directly on it.
Fold your napkin into an elegant square or rectangle, place on the dinner plate, and center your leaf and caterpillar right on top.
Check out your local toy store or science museum gift shop for realistic insects that can be transformed into miniature pieces of art. There are also wonderful resources online like Tapir and Friends Animal Store where you can peruse the animal planet from the comfort of your own home.
Gold beetles or spiders anyone? We can all be entomologists at heart when our insects sparkle!
More info and inspiration from David Stark:
(Images: Susie Montagna, Book Cover: Aaron Delesie)
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