How To: Make Easy, Natural Place Card Stands from Twigs (Free Printables Included)

How To: Make Easy, Natural Place Card Stands from Twigs (Free Printables Included)

I love the idea of bringing in found, natural elements for Thanksgiving decor; maybe some drift wood, or smooth river rocks. But where I live, all I can find are dead, brown oak leaves, some leftover dried corn stalks at the nursery, and twigs that get knocked down during windstorms. Crunchy foliage doesn't do much for me, but I like some of the branches and twigs that get blown into the corners of my block, and figured there must be something sorta mod that I could make with 'em.

So, I came up with these adorable wooden place card stands that would work for Thanksgiving, or for any time a few folks are gathered. They don't cost anything, and are super fun and easy to make, and will only improve in durability as the wood dries and seasons.

I also whipped up some free, printable place cards to match, in a five different colors, to go with any tablescape.

Tools and Materials:

  • Found tree branch (the drier the better), 1" - 1 1/2" in diameter
  • Handsaw (pull saw, hack saw, coping saw, miter box)
  • Wire or nylon brush
  • Vice, clamp, locking pliers, or some means to hold the branch steady while you cut it
  • Computer and printer (optional, for printing place cards)

created at: 11/15/2010

1. Locate the straightest parts of the branch. Little knots and bumps will give the project character, but sharp angles will compromise its balance. Use a wire brush to remove any lichen, moss, or green stuff, and wipe clean.

created at: 11/15/2010

2. Cut several 5/8" - 3/4" rounds from the branch. Don't obsess with the measuring tape here, just cut what looks like the right size for your branch.

created at: 11/15/2010

3. I knew my place cards would be made of medium weight cover stock, which I figured to be about 1/64" of an inch. Most small hand saw blades, like a pull saw or coping saw, have a thickness of around 1/32", which make them perfect to cut the slot, or kerf, for the cards. So, if you have a collection of tools, just choose a saw with a thin blade. If you wanted to, you could even use a rotary cutter, like a Dremel, just be sure to keep it steady for a consistent slot.

created at: 11/15/2010

4. Hold the round in a vice, clamp, or with pliers, and use the saw to cut down, about half of the way through. If you can, angle the blade just slightly, so that the card will sit back just a bit, and not be tempted to fall forward.

5. If your branch was fairly dry when you found it, you can stain, clear coat, or seal with wax. I just left mine au natural, and may finish them somehow next year once they've really dried out. But for now, I love the natural look.

created at: 11/15/2010

6. Then, if you'd like, download the free printables below, and add the names via an image editing software, or by hand. Print them out, and set that table!

Free, Printable Place Cards:

Happy Thanksgiving!



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DesigningMom on Nov 16, 2010:

Thank you HP. I liked the idea, but never have a large enough gathering to use name plates, I just got business cards so that seemed the next logical use for them. I love photography so that popped in there to. Glad you can Bruno liked the idea.

homepodge on Nov 16, 2010:

@DesigningMom - I love the photograph idea!

DesigningMom on Nov 16, 2010:

Yes it would be very cheap. Especially since my hubby just cut down fifteen pine trees on our land that had that fungus that's going around. Like making lemonaide from lemons.

bruno on Nov 16, 2010:

Definitely would be cold for photographs as well. And cheap!

DesigningMom on Nov 15, 2010:

I love this idea Chris. I'm thinking if you used a bit larger branch and larger slit you could use them as business card holders. Or with just a bit larger slit you could use them for photographs. You'd have to back the photo with card stock or something to keep it from curling, but yeah, it would work. Great idea and inspiration. Thanks.

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