The DIY Table: Eco-Friendly Projects for Holiday Linens, Tableware, and Accessories

Personally, I find the post-holiday season the perfect time to craft all the cool holiday stuff that I WISH I’d had two months ago! Right now, for instance, I’m working on a project to make Christmas ornaments out of vintage glass bottle bottoms, because who has time for that while also baking Christmas cookies and decorating gingerbread houses and wrapping presents and all that other holiday prep?

If you were lucky enough to have guests over for the holidays, now is the perfect time to up your tableware game for NEXT year’s holiday hosting. Was there something that you’d wished you had at the time? A different table runner, perhaps? Embroidered napkins? Pillar candles on frosted glass candle holders?

Whatever your wish, you’ve now got plenty of time to craft that perfect table setting–heck, you’ve got time to make a whole new TABLE before the next big holiday gathering! So check out my list of my favorite DIY tablescape projects, below, and craft your dream table at your leisure before the next big holiday draws nigh.

Tablecloths and Table Runners

quilted table runner

Quilted table runners are one of the more time-consuming DIY projects for a handmade tablescape. But given enough time before the next big holiday, you could even choose two or three of these quilted table runner projects to work on throughout the year. Or go more holiday-specific by sewing a Christmas-themed table runner or two. By the time November rolls around again, you’ll have your pick!

How to Remove Wax from Fabric

Maybe you don’t actually have to create all new table linens–maybe you just have to mend and repair the beautiful vintage table linens that you already own! Here’s how to mend a torn tablecloth, and here’s how to remove wax from vintage fabrics.

Centerpieces

Thanksgiving Crafts: Paper Leaf Centerpiece

Did you get inspired by any especially awesome centerpieces over the holidays? Now is a great time to bring your vision to life while it’s still fresh in your mind.

You can also use this extra time to help you source the best materials. Take your time searching out exactly the pieces of scrap wood that will make these scrap wood Christmas trees perfect for your holiday table, perhaps interspersed with these Mason jar and scrap wood tabletop sconces or these Mason jar votives.

I love the look of twinkle lights in a bottle (and I kind of think they’d look awesome year-round?), but I DO not have the time to mess with getting out all my bottle cutting supplies in December. This year, though, I bought a couple of strands of twinkle lights on post-holiday clearance. If I make them early and have to display them year-round, well, then, sometimes life is just tough!

Napkins and Silverware

Burlap Silveware Holder

A silverware holder is a super easy way to avoid fussy table settings, or to organize a buffet so that guests can pick up all the utensils they need in a single bundle. This burlap silverware holder doesn’t even require any sewing!

diy napkins

Cloth napkins are quick and easy to sew, and easily customizable. Use post-holiday clearance prices to collect festive fat quarters, then sew a stash of fat quarter cloth napkins to use for the entire holiday season. Novelty fabrics are especially fun!

DIY Napkin Rings from a Paper Tube and Washi Tape

Napkin rings are one of those fancy dinner accessories that I never remember until it’s too late. These washi tape napkin rings aren’t so hard to make that you actually have to start them in advance, nor so precious that you need to keep them from year to year, but if you’re going to sew and set aside a stash of holiday napkins, think how efficient it will be to pre-make and set aside a matching set of napkin rings!

These wood slice napkin rings are a more heirloom option, and it’s much more pleasant to hang out in your unheated garage making them in the springtime than the middle of winter. With the extra time, you can also pay a little more attention to details and embellishments. Round the edges of each napkin ring, sand it as smooth as butter, wood burn a monogram into it, and varnish and seal it!

Printables

Custom name cards, menu cards, placemats, and children’s activity mats add so much joy to a holiday gathering, but yikes, they can be hard on the environment! Here’s how to work towards more eco-friendly solutions to the printables dilemma.

A lot of kids love to help with the holiday decorating, so print some of your favorite black and white templates that they’ll enjoy coloring, then store them with the rest of your holiday table settings as a surprise. And there’s your planning work all done!

Do you, too, have a habit of off-season craft projects? If so, tell me about it in the Comments below–I want to know what your favorite crafts are to create in advance!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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