How to

How to make your own budget-friendly Christmas table settings

A gorgeously dressed table is a feast for the eyes before the eating begins. Give your Christmas table some serious style with these simple and cheap DIY projects

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Make your own felt crackers 

To make the felt cracker you will need a piece of felt 30 x 30cm. Pop in your cracker gift and then take a cracker insert or cardboard inner and position it in the middle of the fabric at one end. Roll the felt around the inner, securing it with ribbon at either end. These crackers don’t explode when they’re pulled as you unwrap them like a present.

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Tuck your cutlery into a little holder

A cutlery holder can be made in minutes by using a piece of felt 18cm x 20cm. Fold the felt in half lengthways and pin down the side, ready for sewing. Measure 8cm from the top of the felt, then cut the top half of the felt away, leaving you with a pocket. Sew down the side and along the bottom and pop in your cutlery. You could also clip a place card to the felt pocket to personalise the setting.

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How to make your own napkins

Linen napkins look impressive but they can be expensive – some retail for more than $10 each. To make ours we took $3 fringed blush linen tea towels from The Warehouse and cut each in half (turn over the cut edge by 2cm and sew along). Fold and place in napkin rings and voilà: linen-style napkins with fringed ends for $1.50 each.

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How to make cute place settings 

Personalise your place settings by making some cute cardboard stars. Simply cut out stars or shapes of your choice (use a template if you don’t feel up to tackling it freehand), write a name on each and clip to the side of bowls or plates with cute copper pegs. That way, everyone will know where to sit.

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Make your own little treat bags 

If you like the idea of giving your guests a sweet treat at the table but you’re short of time to make it yourself, do a ‘cheat treat’. Here we simply took a $7 bar of nougat and chopped it into 5cm pieces. We then wrapped the nougat in cellophane, tied the ends with kitchen string and popped it into a small calico bag. Tie on a gift tag with your guest’s name on it and the bag will serve as a place card, too.

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Create a simple napkin ring

To go with this natural theme, a length of soft brown leather suede was used to tie each napkin. This was then teamed with a small dried flower head for a simple yet effective statement that’s quick to do.

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A modern, moody grey scheme

While not a traditional Christmas colour scheme, this striking black and grey table setting oozes Scandi charm and is great for those who love a more modern theme. Black oak chairs are teamed with a grey felt tablecloth made from a piece of fabric (sometimes a cheaper option than buying one).

Black oak placemats form the base of this stacked setting. A felt cutlery holder is a modern way to display the knife and fork, and handmade felt crackers complete the look. Deer ornaments add a festive touch without being over the top.

Shop the look

Menu POV wall candleholder, $85, from Tim Webber Design.
Grey felt fabric (made into tablecloth), $42 a metre, from the Fabric Store.
Black Tam chairs, $340, from Bauhaus.
Grey vase, $10, from Kmart.
Large standing deer $12, The Warehouse
Sitting deer, $8, from The Warehouse.
Black vessel, $39.90, from Indie Home Collective
Broste red wine glasses in smoke, $33.60 each, from Indie Home Collective.
Nolan graphite 24-piece cutlery set, $259, from Country Road.
Dali black square placemat, $29.90, from Country Road.
Delight side plate, $3.95, from Freedom.
+ Grey and black series dinner plates, $12.95 each, from Freedom.
Blackball lollies, $4.50 a packet, from Farro Fresh.
Grey marle felt, $5 a metre, from Ike’s Emporium.
Milk bottle and black round box, stylist’s own.

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A warm, peachy colour palette

Peach, white, copper and oak make for a warm colour palette that evokes summer. Pops of metallic copper add just the right amount of shine to make this table setting sing. Vases of flowers always look at home in the middle of the dinner table, but try using a collection of vases at different heights and in different materials (for example, glass and ceramic) to create interest on the table. A beautiful scented candle won’t go amiss either to help create ambience.

Make your Christmas desserts the hero by placing them on a cake stand and save yourself from getting up from the table by having a wine bucket on hand. Stacked dinnerware settings always look good and a fabric napkin adds a touch of sophistication.

Shop the look

+ Living & Co blush tea towel (made into napkins), $3, from The Warehouse.
+ Gold wire pegs, $3 (packet of 10), from Kmart.
+ Living & Co dinner plate, $3, from The Warehouse.
+ Living & Co speckled side plate, $2, and from The Warehouse.
+ Metallic flutes, $15, from Kmart.
+ Star trivet, $3, from Kmart.
+ Copper wire napkin rings, $2 (set of 2), from Kmart.
+ 16-piece rose-gold cutlery set, $19, from Kmart.
Copper hand-forged fork, $16.90, from Indie Home Collective.
+ Blush enamel star hanging decoration (on top of copper box), $5.90, from Citta.
+ Talo pink cereal bowl, $22.90, from Citta.
+ Breeze hand-woven linen throw in shell (used as tablecloth), $159, from Citta.
+ Rondo copper wine cooler, $290, from Citta.
+ Blush Lula vase, $37, from Crisp Home. Country Road.
+ Etta large vessel in snow, $34.90, Country Road.
+ Lalia wooden cake stand, $79.90, Country Road.
+ Lalia dip bowl, $27.90, from Country Road.
+ Radial dining chair in natural oak, $490, from Citta.
+ Cocolux leather, tuberose and driftwood candle, $94.90, from Indie Home Collective.
+ Flowers from Bhana Brothers, Ponsonby.
+ Copper star table confetti, stylist’s own (try Bed Bath ’N’ Table for similar.)
+ Copper box, stylist’s own.

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A natural, textured vibe

If your home has a more natural, organic vibe, this can be easily carried through to the Christmas table. The key with any neutral scheme is texture. The rattan chairs add an impressive, rustic element to this setting. The naturally creased linen tablecloth continues this casual vibe and provides a great base for layering. Textured placemats in a similar hue to the tablecloth, and rustic ceramic dinnerware complete the picture.

The candle and wooden reindeer and tree introduce yet more textures while the neutral scheme as a whole is enhanced by a beautiful wreath-and-bauble centrepiece in off-white and eggshell green. Remember, you don’t need a lot of accessories to create a lovely, inviting table. With this look, less is more.

Shop the look

+ Wall painted in Resene ‘Eighth Pearl Lusta’.
+ Ecru Dine linen tablecloth, $159, from Citta.
+ Ecru Dine linen napkin, $12.90, from Citta.
+ Gava round tray, $119, from Citta.
+ Pillar XXL candle $59.90, from Citta.
+ Acorn wreath, $59.90, from Citta.
+ Green enamel nut baubles, $3.90 each, from Citta.
+ Basket-woven placemat in chalk, $69.90 (set of 4), from Citta.
+ Maya side chair, $399, from Nood.
+ Tiro dinner plate, $74.90 (set of 4), from Country Road
+ Tiro dip bowl (with fudge in it), $12.90, from Country Road.
+ Calico bags, $3 (for 6), from Kmart.
+ Cellophane, 99c (a packet), from Countdown.
+ Kitchen string, $2.99, from Countdown.
+ Wonki Ware beach sand medium bowl (with nuts), $31.50, from Indie Home Collective
+ Wonki Ware black beach sand side plate, $26.50, from Indie Home Collective.
+ Laguiole ivory table knives, $94, and forks, $93 (set of 6), both from Crisp Home.
+ Plywood tree, $15, thechristmashouse.co.nz.
+ Plywood deer, $12, from thechristmashouse.co.nz.
+ Gift tag stylist’s own.

Styling by: Vanessa Nouwens. Photography by: Wendy Fenwick.

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