Woohoo!!! I made it through my first week of intentionally creating interesting content as Tonality Designs on Instagram. The final video I put together gives you a quick 13-second recap and below gives you all the details of what we learned this week on Instagram!
Why It Started With One Stop at Target
I wanted to show how you could style a “Pinterest Worthy” party—even if it’s last minute— with only one stop. The tips provided are meant to inspire even the non-crafter to believe they too could set a lovely table. And I especially wanted to reach those who would never go to Michael’s or feel they have no time to do anything they see on Pinterest. I picked Target, because who doesn’t LOVE Target? Plus they source good design so you can always find inspiration there.
Tip 1: Invest in Neutral Staples
Starting with the basics, if you don’t already have these items think about buying your more expensive items in neutral colors that go with any theme. I think every house should have a party box, drawer or even a closet with some party staples. Items include:
- White Linens: goes with any theme! If you can invest in cloth – do! But also have white plastic table clothes and white paper napkins on hand in case your party scales to a larger size.
- Mason Jars in Varying Sizes – good for vases, tea lights, glasses
- Glass Vases & Dishes – used for flowers and putting out nuts, candies or other treats for guests
- Variety of Neutral Candle Holders & Candles – think glass, mercury glass, silver and gold for candle holders. Buy in a variety of heights and sizes. White candles also go with any theme and don’t forget to buy a bag of tea lights!
TIP 2: start in gift wrap!
Stay away from prepackaged party decor. Instead, start in gift wrap where you’ll find better design. This is the how you’ll make your party look like you spent hours on Pinterest. Gift wrap has a variety of prints for creating an eclectic look for a number of different themes. The rest of my tips will show you how you’re going to turn wrapping paper into party decor. You just have to think of their use differently, for example:
- Wrapping paper becomes table runners, placemats, vase wraps, serving tray liners…
- Gift bags are your vase wraps or silverware holders…
- Tissue paper can be votive wraps, favor wrapping…
- Bows, ribbon and twine are the extra touches
Start with one print that you LOVE—in this case the floral paper—and then find other items in coordinating patterns and prints. I usually like one “busy” print, like the floral, and then pair it with simple two-color patterns like the polka dots and stripes. Also think of the scale of the print, notice how there are large and small polka dots. Varying the scale of your prints will further help create contrast when setting your table scape.
TIP 3: Think of your table in Four layers
Your table layers are as follows:
- Your Base – all the “flat” stuff (pictured above)
- Your Main Centerpiece – usually your flowers
- Your Sparkle – your candles & touches of the unexpected
- Your Final Touches– like your glasses, favors or place cards
Start with the Base Layer – all the “flat” stuff. Here are the four items to think about:
- Table cloth: I like a neutral color like white because white balances all the color you’ll have on top.
- Table runner: Wrapping paper is perfect for creating a strong statement. Here we used the inspiration floral wrapping paper.
- Placemats: You can use wrapping paper here, but we used Chalkboard paper placemats (yes, also at Target). They work perfectly because we needed something simple to contrast with they busy table runner. I suggest you either go busy on the table runner or busy on the placemats – not both. (A side note: Chalkboard, kraft paper and burlap accessories are widely available so pick ONE of these to help tie everything together. You’ll notice a lot of chalkboard in this party!)
- Place setting: Here I used paper goods to show how this party could scale for a large party. When layering, make sure to contrast. DON’T use black on black on black. Instead do what we did and find another color for at least one item. And the chalkboard trend shows up in the cute napkins—score!
TIP 4: Layer two—Your main centerpiece
This layer doesn’t have to be flowers (i.e. you could have all candles), but most often it’s your flowers. And to be honest, if using flowers, this requires a second stop, but you have to buy food right? You almost always can find white hydrangeas at Trader Joe’s or other grocery store. Hydrangeas will give you the best bang-for-your-buck, plus white goes with any theme.
Notice the difference between the top and bottom image. The top image with the clear mason jars would work, but how much more fun is the bottom image?
- For the white with black polka dot vase: I cut down a wine gift bag and placed the large mason jar inside.
- For the black with white polka dot vase: I cut a piece of wrapping paper and wrapped it around the smaller mason jars, securing with double-sided tape.
So easy, right? In under five minutes you have expensive looking vases with just paper! Works also with scrapbooking paper or I have a variety of prints I’ve created and sell on Etsy.
Now for placement. You can do one focal centerpiece in the middle OR do what we did and have one larger floral in the middle flanked by two smaller ones on the sides. Do the middle vase in a different pattern than the two side vases (basically divide your table in half and do a “mirror” on either side). When varying heights, be sure to have the taller items in the middle and then tapper down to the shorter items (almost looks like a triangle). Make sense?
TIP 5: LAYER three—YOUR sparkle
Remember this: Candle are right—day or night! Always add sparkle and shine to your table. Here you can really add a variety of textures and heights in order to make an interesting and professional-looking table. You can create different heights, not just by the size of the candles, but by elevating some elements with candle stick holders (part of your neutral staples everyone needs).
Are you wondering where I got the white and gold polka dot candles? This is a simple DIY project using $1 candles and tissue paper.
These make me so happy! What’s better than $1 candles turned into statement pieces by decoupage. And each candle takes about 2 minutes so trust me, you can do this!
DIY Tissue Paper Candles
- Materials: Glass candle or votive holder, tissue paper (the gold polka dots is especially wonderful), Mod Podge, foam brush.
- Cut tissue paper slightly larger than your candle/holder
- Add layer of Mod Podge all over candle/holder
- Place tissue paper on candle/holder – the paper will wrinkle, but it’s okay as it adds to the charm
- Add a layer of Mod Podge over tissue paper – this will help smooth out some of the wrinkles and add a finishing layer over the paper. It goes on white but dries clear.
Also remember, this layer is also about the “unexpected.” So why not make a statement with a pretty bow on a pedestal? The unexpected could be any matching chotsky you may have around your house (like glass figurines or maybe picture frames with pictures of the guest of honor or inspirational sayings). Don’t be afraid to be creative!
TIP 5: LAYER four—YOUR final touches
As you can see from Tip 4’s picture, if you don’t do this layer, no one will notice. However, if you do take the time to add these last touches you’ll wow your guests one more time! This is where you dress up your drinking glasses, add a favor to each place setting or add a place card.
Note: mason jars aren’t just for country affairs! If you don’t have enough wine glasses (or even if you do!) use mason jars. They come in a variety of sizes and textures, are affordable and are easy to store for future use. Of course you could also use plastic, but why not help save the environment and be trendy all at the same time?!
Here I combined the drinking glass with the place card. I love adding “wine charms” to glasses because it makes sure guests remember what glass is theirs. If you’re not sure your final guest count, write inspirational words (Joy, hope, love…) or sayings so guests can remember their glass that way. Here we used chalkboard gift tags with twine – EASY!
And don’t forget the ever popular party straw. We dressed ours up with gold glitter tape we found in gift wrap!
Also think about creating a drink station or greet guests with a tray of drinks. I lined the tray with one of the wrapping papers and even wrapped the neck of the wine bottle and added a gift tag that says “cheers”! And I love wine stoppers, this one was on clearance during my shopping trip.
Ta-daaaa!!! That’s how you turn gift wrap into “Pinterest-worthy” party decor. I hope you’ve learned a lot and will continue (or START) following me on Instagram!