7 Masculine Napkin Folds

The art of napkin folding and elegance of table decorating may seem inherently feminine, but there are napkin folds with a more masculine feel. Whether planning a wedding with the groom’s taste in mind or hosting a dinner for dads fun napkin folds can add a masculine element to any tablescape.

  1. The Tuxedo: This fold sounds just like it looks, like an elegant tuxedo. Add in some embellishments like small bows as bowties to complete the look. A white cloth napkin will give you a classic tuxedo feel, but any color will do.
  2. Ruffled Shirt: This architectural take on a men’s dress shirt gives a modern look with a masculine edge.
  3. The Arrow: Reminiscent of a paper airplane, the arrow napkin fold can be achieved in only 7 steps. Use white napkins for a classic look or colored napkins for a more modern take.
  4. Necktie: In fewer than 10 steps you can transform any solid colored or patterned napkin into an exact replica necktie. As an added feature you can place with the bottom-side on top and tuck in silverware.
  5. Collared Shirt: A simpler version of the tuxedo and ruffled shirt folds, the collared shirt can be achieved in only 6 steps. Solid color or patterned napkins will make the most impact with this iconic look.
  6. The Knot: It doesn’t get much easier than this simple fold featuring a large knot in the center. You can tuck messages, place cards, or favors into the knot for added functionality.
  7. Bowtie: A classic and simple bow napkin fold can also serve as a bowtie. Simply choose a masculine fabric and embellish in the center with a solid metal napkin ring.

You don’t have to be an expert napkin folder to try out these easy techniques. If decorative folding just isn’t in the cards, most straight-forward napkin folds like a square or elongated fold will do the job.

Posted in Cloth Napkins, Tips

DIY Coaster Ideas

beer-coasters-841712_640From table protector to personalized decoration, coasters serve many purposes. A wide imagination and a few simple craft supplies are all you need to create custom coasters for any occasion. They make great, inexpensive gifts that pack a whole lot of personality or simply function to keep that new dining room table blemish-free.

Generally, coasters are about 3.5 or 4 inches in a square or circle shape. There are three main steps to creating any kind of coaster imaginable:

  1. Planning – Decide what look you are going for and what materials you have in mind. Look around the house to see if you already have some of the items and grab the rest from a craft or home improvement store.
  2. Testing – Depending on the type of base materials used, you may want to test out paints, markers, and glues to be sure they will work before starting on a finished project.
  3. Creating – Once you have all the right materials and a solid concept in mind, you can start working.

The most important part of any DIY coaster project is the base material. A coaster is meant to catch the ‘sweat’ that drips from a cold drink to protect the tabletop or tablecloth underneath it. Be sure to consider the functionality of any materials before creating a beautifully useless coaster. Some common base materials include:

  1. Ceramic Tiles
    1. With the help of some Mod Podge you can customize these readily available square tiles by gluing on old maps, sheet music, wallpaper, or photos.
    2. Create original, hand-painted designs with some acrylic paint and sealant.
  2. Cork
    1. Acrylic paints and sealant can help you create any pattern or design desired.
    2. Cout out some thin fabrics, like lace, and add to the cork with Mod Podge.
    3. Grab that Sharpie and a stencil to create a professional looking, modern design.
  3. Fabric
    1. Felt is easy to work with and looks great on any table. Hand sew fun designs or try out some fabric glue.
    2. Cutting decorative shapes out of leather creates a unique look.
  4. Wood
    1. Slices of almost any kind of wood can be stenciled, painted, or simply stained before sealing.
    2. Unfinished wood squares can be found at many craft stores and offer limitless possibilities. Grab a wood stain marker and some sealant for a super fast DIY project.

When making your own coasters, it is also important to make sure they will sit firmly in place on smooth table surfaces. You can easily add felt dots or self-adhesive cork to the bottom of any base material to help it function better.

Posted in Tips

Decorating With Disposables

Summer means picnics, camping trips, and family vacations. It also means you might be eating in many other locations outside your house and using a lot of disposable tableware. But, just because you aren’t at home or some fancy event space doesn’t mean you can’t decorate your dining space.

You don’t need elegant tablecloths to create a polished look. From plastic water bottles and plates to paper napkins, disposable dining staples can also be used to create beautiful, unique table decor.

Plastic silverware can be used to make quick centerpieces and table decorations.

  1. Fork Tree: Grab one of those foam cones from the craft store, break the tops off a bunch of plastic forks, and stick them into the foam in layers from the bottom up. In the end you’ll have an elegant tree, especially if using silver or colored silverware.
  2. Spoon Flower: Break off the rounded part of some plastic spoons and glue, or melt (do be careful when using fire) what’s left of the handles together in a circular pattern. Layer broken spoons for a more elaborate flower.
  3. Spoon Wreath: Bring along a cardboard cutout in a wreath shape. If you don’t have a glue gun, don’t worry. Simply break the rounded parts off some spoons leaving a good half inch or more of the handle. Stick the handles into the cardboard at an angle. Layer in circular shape.
  4. Spoon and Knife Dragonfly: This works best if the silverware can be painted or colored. Lay two plastic knives in a criss-cross pattern along the backside of a spoon’s handle. Glue them in place and voila!

Empty water bottles make great vessels.

  1. Votive Lantern: Using a small, squat water bottle you can simply cut a square shape out of one side. This will be where you can load in an LED tealight candle. For a more exciting look, paint the water bottle first or even poke small holes around it to let out more light.
  2. Vase: Cut off the top half of a water bottle and use the bottom half as a vase. Line the vase with leaves, sticks, or rocks for a more beautiful look.

Cups, bowls, plates, and napkins can be used to create a variety of functional vessels and decorations.

  1. Mushroom Lantern: Place an upside-down bowl on top of an upside-down cup to make the mushroom shape. Decorate the outside of the bowl and, if using a clear cup, place an LED tealight candle under it for a lighted centerpiece.
  2. Paper Basket: Using any size paper plate you can fold up the sides to create a basket.
  3. Napkin Bowl: Use a lotus napkin fold to create a small bowl out of a paper napkin.
  4. Bowl Basket: Start by cutting the bottom off one bowl. Attach two bowls together at the rims and you’ve got an easy basket.

With only a few additional crafting supplies, you can turn any standard disposable dining experience into a decorative affair. Simply pack your usual table settings along with some markers, a glue gun, or any other tool needed for the projects described.

Posted in Cloth Napkins

Product Spotlight: Damask Tablecloths

Damask is a patterned fabric that often has a sheet to the main part with a more matte pattern on top. These beautiful tablecloths bring elegance to any event and come in many styles.

All of our damask tablecloths feature:

  • Machine wash and dry fabric
  • Merrowed edges
  • No-iron finish
  • Rectangle, square, and round options in over 30 sizes
  • Polyester/cotton blend (unless otherwise noted)

Miranda

Miranda Damask Tablecloths feature a classic, full floral pattern available in 10 colors including classics like Bordeaux and Sage. Prices per tablecloth range from $28-$145, but you can save up to 50% when buying in bulk.

Melrose

For a more subtle leaf pattern, the Melrose Damask Tablecloths are available in six colors such as Hunter and Ivory. Prices range from $28-$145 per tablecloth with discounts for purchasing in lots of 2, 6, 24, or 36.

Saxony

The Saxony Damask Tablecloths showcase a more abstract leaf and flower pattern in a swirling motion. With six available colors, prices range from $28-$175 per cloth.

Somerset

Thin, swirling leaves dance across the Somerset Damask Tablecloths in six colors like Plum and Gold. These 100% Polyester tablecloths range in price from $30-$180 each.

Kenya

A more modern print, the Kenya Damask Tablecloths resemble a woven pattern or snake skin. Available in eight colors, prices range from $28-$175 each with discounts for buying in lots.

Posted in Cloth Napkins

8 Places to Have a Picnic

As spring gives way to summer, dining moves from indoors to outside. No matter the trends of the year, or the societal changes, picnics will always rank as one of the top ways to eat outdoors. Picnics are as infinite as the imagination. Foods can range from the basic PB&J to an elegant spread of exotic meats and cheeses. Whatever kind of picnic you have in mind, there are many great places to get the most out of the meal by pairing it with a fantastic location.

  1. The Beach:  A thicker blanket, some weights to hold it down in the wind, and foods that aren’t sticky or juicy will work best here.
  2. In the Woods: Consider throwing down a tarp under the blanket to keep it from getting damp on the cold forest floor. A small, fold-up food tent could also be helpful.
  3. On the Kitchen Floor: If the weather is stormy or it’s just Tuesday night, a picnic in the house can feel special because it is out of the norm.
  4. At a Park: This classic locale is the easiest to plan for, just remember to bring some fun activities for before and after the meal.
  5. In the Backyard: No matter the makeup of the yard, this location will give you the most range in menu planning because you don’t have to tote food far.
  6. At a Rest Stop: Many rest areas across the country boast spectacular views and manicured lawns. You probably don’t typically stop at the ones near your home so this is a great opportunity to check them out.
  7. In the Back of the Car: Rough terrain and rainy days can really spoil picnic plans. Take shelter and set up the picnic right in your vehicle.
  8. On the Water: Small, portable foods can easily be stored on a canoe or larger boat.

Any place you can carry food to and make enough room to spread out a blanket, you can have a picnic. It is always wise to take the location into account when planning your meal. There’s nothing worse than natural elements invading your food because of poor planning. Consider the journey to your location and the makeup of the terrain, then plan a picnic meal that makes sense. You don’t need a fancy tablecloth to have a great meal, so grab that old blanket and dine outdoors!

Posted in Tips

How to Highlight Hand-Me-Down Tableware

In generations past, it was customary to give fine tableware as a wedding gift to young couples just starting their life together. Those dishes were often expensive and respected. While this tradition is not widely utilized today, it is why many grandmothers and mothers have gifted tableware to the young women in their own family.

If you find yourself in possession of some hand-me-down tableware, it can be difficult to find a way to use them. Give these specialty items the respect they deserve by highlighting them at the table. Use these tips to help incorporate tableware in any condition.

No Longer Functional Items

Glassware and fragile dishes can get beat up over years of use. If your hand-me-downs are chipped, broken, or too fragile for their original use, there are other ways to highlight them.

  • Create a one-of-a-kind centerpiece by stacking or arranging items
  • Use chipped glasses or teacups as vases
  • Pieces from broken plates can be made into a mosaic design on a serving tray or trivet

Items That Look Worn

Paint colors fade and stains happen. If you’re collection of antique tableware is looking a bit rough and worn down, consider working with a style that embraces this.

  • An eclectic theme incorporates a variety of items that don’t necessarily match
  • A vintage theme highlights old items
  • A shabby chic design creates elegance and beauty by mixing old and new items
  • Utilize a pale, dull color scheme to match the style of worn items

Tableware Clashing With Your Style

Those with a modern house and furniture style may have a hard time figuring out how to incorporate older items. If your dishes don’t match the style in your room, you can still find a place for them.

  • Create a sculptural piece from old items
  • Pull them out for special occasions only
  • Mix them in with modern items for a more cohesive look

Mom’s or Grandma’s wedding china may not be your style, but the sentimental value makes it ideal for entertaining. Give that old tableware some new love by highlighting them instead of hiding them.

Posted in Informational, Tips

10 Tips For Creating A Winning Logo

For many companies, the logo is more closely associated with the business than any other aspect. That tiny image can stick in a person’s mind or float off into the abyss with the millions of other images seen daily. Make your business stand out with a logo that can’t be forgotten.

Before creating a logo, it is important for any company to do some research. Compile a company profile that details who you are and what you are all about. Next, check in on your competition. Look for what works, what doesn’t work, and see what’s out there so you don’t create a similar logo.

Creating a company logo is no easy task and should be a seriously involved project. These 10 tips from experts at Design Shack and The Logo Factory can help you get started.

  1. Hire a Professional – From legal rights to clever design, the right expert can put your ideas into print.
  2. Be Unique – Successful logos stand out, in part, because they can’t be confused with any other logo.
  3. Include Hidden and Obvious Meaning – Get creative and get your message across by combining company values with clever images.
  4. Don’t Overcomplicate – A simple logo can be incredibly powerful. One that is too complex can be difficult to reproduce and is not memorable.
  5. Choose Colors Wisely – Color palette is important because it must be reproducible in both full color and grayscale.
  6. Proportion and Symmetry Matter – There is much more to logo design than creativity and drawing skills. A visually pleasing image takes into account more complex matter. Also, keep in mind that your logo needs to look as good on small letterhead as it does on a large Custom Table Cover.
  7. Play with Pictures – Too many words can make a logo look muddles. Look for ways to create a 2-in-1 picture or some clever play on words.
  8. Clever Use of Negative Space – A logo doesn’t have to be just one great image, using negative space wisely can give your logo depth.
  9. Customize Font – To make a logo truly unique, a custom font might be the ticket.
  10. Create a Sense of Motion – Engage customers with a logo that has a life of its own.

A logo sets the tone for any business and constantly serves as a first impression. Once you have decided on a logo, stick with it for the long haul. Big brands like Nike have infamous logos because they have kept the same one over decades and presented it repeatedly in a public manner.

Posted in Informational, Tips

Product Spotlight: SimplyPoly Table Runners

Standard table settings can be jazzed up with a simple table runner. This thin strip of fabric typically runs down the center of a table, hanging over the ends a few inches. Table runners can pull together a theme or color scheme, highlight centerpieces, and make table settings standout.

The SimplyPoly Table Runner is available in three sizes and a variety of colors to suit any decorating needs.

At the current cost of $1. 24 each, the 13 x 72 inch runner is available in:

  • Black
  • White

This size is perfect for round, small square, or small oval-shaped tables.

For only $1.29 each, the 13 x 90 inch runner comes in your choice of:

  • Black
  • Chocolate

For the best fit, use with medium-length tables of any shape.

Currently available for only $1.39 each, the 13 x 108 inch runner comes in:

  • Baby Blue
  • Black
  • Chocolate
  • Dark Blue

This size is great for longer banquet tables.

All sizes of the SimplyPoly Table Runner feature:

  • 100% polyester construction
  • Fabric that is machine washable, no-iron, low lint, and mildew resistant
  • Merrowed edge for clean finish

Opt for the monochromatic look by choosing a runner in the same color or color family as the rest of the table linens. For a bolder look, pick a table runner color that is a strong contrast to the table cloth then accent with another color for the cloth napkins.

Whether creating an elegant dinner party or a wedding to remember, table runners can take tablescapes from standard to stunning.

Posted in Informational, Tips

How To Make Linens Last

Many people are intimidated by fabric tablecloths and napkins because they are seemingly precious items that require intense amounts of care. While that may be true in some instances, most table linens can be cared for quickly and easily. Despite the desire to only use linens for special occasions, frequent use of tablecloths and cloth napkins can actually help extend their life. So, bust out those fancy fabrics and get serving!

  1. DO wash linens before the first use, this can help increase stain resistance and remove any excess dyes or chemicals used in production.
  2. DO remove stains while they are fresh. Once a stain dries it will be more difficult to remove.
  3. DON’T dry clean if possible. Harsh chemicals and whiteners can harm your fabrics.
  4. DON’T wash table linens with any other items, including linens made from different materials.
  5. DO wash them on the gentle or delicate cycle to keep the integrity of the fabric intact.
  6. DO line dry when possible.
  7. DO iron the fabrics while they are damp for the best results.
  8. DON’T fold linens if you have the space to store them rolled.
  9. DO store them in an enclosed place to protect the color.
  10. DO treat linens with special care and a delicate hand.

From stains to burns to rips and tears, table linens can take quite a beating. Properly caring for linens will help them last longer and withstand frequent use.

Every fabric is composed differently and every material has unique properties. Be sure to look at the care instructions provided with the linens you are using.

While there are many reasons to use tablecloths, cloth napkins, and table runners, the most important ones include incorporating family heirlooms and creating an inviting atmosphere. Whether you are using antique lace, or a poly/cotton blend, table linens can last years and even generations.

Posted in Cloth Napkins, Informational, Tips

10 Ways To Decorate With Baskets

You may be gearing up to fill Easter baskets for the kids, but there are also many creative ways to decorate with baskets. Take a modern approach to seasonal decorating and get inspired by baskets in an abstract homage to an Easter staple.

These traditional vessels find their way into every home for a variety of reasons. If traditional just isn’t your style, never fear – there is a way for you to use baskets too!

  1. Flip baskets upside down on the table then display dishes on top. This will not only add height to the tablescape, but will protect your table from hot foods and make it easier for guests to reach what they want.
  2. Get creative and make a DIY basket picture frame with just a few simple steps and some glue.
  3. Use it as a condiment caddy that can be easily passed around the table.
  4. Make a one-of-a-kind light fixture by following an online tutorial.
  5. Give guests a small gift to easily take home by packaging it in a small basket with handles.
  6. Make a wall art display by hanging groupings of varied baskets on a wall in the dining room.
  7. Create a rustic centerpiece by filling a basket with fruits, vegetables, or naturally multi-colored eggs.
  8. Deconstruct a woven basket and cut into shapes suitable for use as coasters, placemats, or trivets.
  9. Hang a basket on the wall near the buffet to hold silverware and napkins.
  10. Turn any basket into a planter by lining it with fabric, plastic, or inserting a clear vase.

Baskets come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and materials including:

  • With handles
  • Without handles
  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Fabric
  • Round
  • Square
  • Rectangle
  • Large
  • Tiny

From DIY to antique, baskets have a way of entering every home. Before you toss the ones that don’t appeal to you, consider other uses for them.

Posted in Cloth Napkins