Upgrade The Table With These Five DIY Party Ideas
It's a celebration, after all!
I love a good dinner party: a homemade meal, delicious drinks, an intimate setting where you can actually hear what's being said, impressing friends without ever having to leave the house. What could be better?
Oh, it can totally get better. Your dinner party may last three or four hours, but your crafting party in preparation could last all week!
I've been known to go a little overboard with the dinner parties I host. I'll make all the dishes in miniature, or make unnecessary (but adorable) signage ("crackers and cheese; contains dairy"), or force guests to dress up just to hang out on my couch. I'll spend weeks preparing possible menus or hitting thrift shops in search of the right serving vessels or decor. Sadly, it doesn't make me a better cook, but it creates a lovely, welcoming atmosphere for my guests. In today's fast-paced world where everything we encounter was made quickly or cheaply or thousands of miles away, the handmade elements that I labor over with love are so appreciated by friends and family.
Whether you're looking to impress your guests with your crafting skills or distract them from a possibly calamitous culinary creation, any of these ideas can be made more casual or sophisticated to give your next dinner party the vibe you're looking for. Pick your favorite or try them all!
1. Menu cards
Let your guests know what to expect by listing out the courses on a personal menu card for each guest. Use this template from Greyling Designs for a rustic look, or this template from JPW Design Studio for a minimalist look. Better yet practice your calligraphy skills by creating your own unique design!
2. Cloth napkins
Real cloth napkins feel truly luxurious if your typical napkin is a paper towel. For a casual look, use napkins with bright colors or fun prints. For a more sophisticated look, drape the napkins off the edge of the table as in this picture, or try your hand at napkin folding with these ideas from Buzzfeed.
Want to step up your napkin game even further? Learn how to sew your own napkins with this tutorial from Craftsy, or make your own napkin rings with our tutorial here!
3. Mix 'n' match plates
A week or two before the party, hit up your local thrift store in search of vintage or unusual plates to mix and match. For a sophisticated look, skip the bold colors and go for white plates with interesting textures.
4. Cake stand (it's not just for cake!)
Elevating food off your table elevates the overall meal! Make your own cake stand by gluing a candlestick or wine glass to the bottom of a large plate, or follow this tutorial from This Old House to make a tiered stand to display smaller foods like appetizers or bite-sized desserts.
5. Artful desserts
Embellish your dessert with an edible piece of art that you made by hand! Splatter chocolate on parchment paper and then break into pieces, or pipe decorative motifs like the ones in this tutorial from Catch My Party. Make these a day or two ahead and store in the fridge to reduce prep time the night of the party.