Animal Place-Card Holders (she: Lauren)

Growing up, when my parents hosted company, it was always my job to create place-cards for the dinner table.  My favorite set were made using soft clam shells that we spray-painted gold and wrote on with paint-markers.  However, in the four years since I’ve gotten hitched and moved out of my parents’ home, I’ve grown lazy on the job.  Our household has been painfully lacking in the place-card department…until now, that is!

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

My inspiration came from the variety of projects I’ve seen out there in blogland involving plastic animals from the Dollar Store covered in spray paint.  Do you know the ones?  I’ve seen these animals become bookendswall art, jar tops, even magnets.  One day, it just struck me that some gold spray painted plastic animals would be the perfect bearers of place-cards.  Some may call it kitschy.  Some may call it cute.  Or how about kitschy-and-cute?  (Everyone needs a little kitschy in their lives.)

Come along for the ride and see how I transformed some kid toys into some goldified place-card holders bound to bring a smile to dinner guests of all ages.

Tutorial:

Step 1.  Collect your plastic animals.  I picked up an assortment of 8 plastic toy animals at the Dollar Tree here in Orlando for (no surprise here) $8!  If you have kids of your own, you may need to walk no further than the toy box to gather your supplies.  (Psst!  They’ll never know they’re missing…especially when you spray paint them!)

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

Step 2.  Drill your holes.  Using a 1/16th inch drill bit, put your drill on low-tork setting to keep the flimsy bit from snapping if it meets resistance (yes, I’ve done it before).  Then, make a hole through top center of the toys’ backs.  Be sure not to put too much pressure on it, and once you break through the plastic, keep the drill running and level as you pull the bit out, and you shouldn’t have any problems.

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

Step 3.  Cut and twirl your wire.  We have 16 gauge galvanized wire that you may recognize from my winter mason jar lanterns, which I used for this step.  You can use needle-nosed pliers to help guide the wire into what I’ll call a “curly-Q.”  I learned that most pliers have a wire-cutter built right in to the tool (in the nook at the base of the needle-nose section), so I used that to snip my wire.

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

Step 4.  Trim your wire.  Once you’ve made a collection of curly-Qs, trim them so they all reach the same desired height.

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

Then, you can place the wire into the holes you drilled earlier.

Initially I thought I’d have to glue the wire to the animals, but the hole I drilled was snug enough against the wire that it felt secure enough to me.  But if you anticipate little hands grabbing for these goldies at the dinner table and you’d like to permanently glue the wire in a certain position, I’d recommend E-6000 glue.  It’s insanely powerful stuff.

Step 5.  Spray paint!  I’ve had a bit of a crush on gold of late…so that was my spray paint of choice, but you certainly could go any route you wanted.  In fact, a nice flat white or mint could be really cool to try.

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

Apply several thin coats of spray paint to the animals…rotating them to different sides to achieve an even cover. Mine got about 6 thin coats before I felt they were fully covered.

Spray Painting the Animals

And now, your golidifed animal place card holders are done and ready to report for duty!

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

Well…almost ready.

Step 6.  Create place-cards.  You can print and cut your place-cards on cardstock to nestle into the curly-Qs, or if you have a Silhouette, click here to check out my tutorial for creating place-cards using sketch pens.  And if you don’t have a Silhouette, you can enter to win my Silhouette Portait Giveaway!

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

Place-Card Holders in Action:

And here they are in action.  Though I “staged” this table for an imaginary brunch, I’ll have you know that it inspired me to host one just like it soon.

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

And don’t you worry, you’re invited, too.

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

To Close:

Place cards show intentionality.  Seeing your name at a spot at a table says, “This spot was chosen just for you.”  Well, when a lion is holding your name with pride, it says, “Grrrr…this spot was chosen just for you.  And nobody better dare try to take it.”  This guy looks pretty fierce, so I wouldn’t test him on that.

Gold Animal Place-Card Holders by The Thinking Closet

Hope y’all have a wonderful Fourth of July!  If you need some ideas for last-minute party fare, you can check out my Pinterest Tested & Approved: Fourth of July post for some quick n’ easy solutions!

Pinterest Tested & Approved: Fourth of July by The Thinking Closet

Cheers!

Lauren
I’m a New York gal putting down new roots in Orlando, Florida with my hubby and our sailboat. My heart skips a beat for all things creative, be it crafting, upcycling, sewing, journaling…especially blogging. You can find my latest d.i.y. project over at my blog, The Thinking Closet. So, grab a cup of chai, a comfy blanket, and stop by for a visit!
Lauren
Lauren

Comments

  1. Just Jaime says:

    GREAT idea! I wanted to do something similar but couldn’t figure out a good base for the wire. This gives me a ton of ideas! Thanks!

  2. These are too cute Lauren! I really like them! :-)
    Ingrid

    • Aw, thanks, Ingrid! You get The Most Affirming Blogger award. (If that doesn’t already exist, it should. And you should have it.)

  3. Rebecca says:

    I admit that when I first started reading your post I thought, “I don’t really need place cards.” But after seeing them in action with everyone’s names on them, I have reconsidered! My kids would love seeing their names at their place, and I love a nicely set table. Thanks for convincing me!

    • Ha ha. I love that comment, Rebecca! Oh, and I’d love to see a photo of your kids faces as they approach the dinner table one night, greeted by animal place-card holders professing their names. Bet they’d think their Mama was the coolest Mama on the block!

  4. The fact that these are gold is AWESOME!!

    • I’m glad you approve of the color choice, Cindy! It turned out even better than I had hoped. Mark was skeptical at first when I ran the project by him, especially the “gold” part, but he later told me the spray paint choice was spot on. Hooray for trusting your gut!

  5. I seriously love these! Really, the cutest ones out there in all of blog world!!! Love them. Thanks, girl!

    • Wow, that’s high praise. Thanks, Mariel! And once again, thanks for the forum in which to share them. I love popping by here each month. Hope you’re having the happiest of Fourth of Julys!

  6. So excited that early childhood responsibility and ritual inspired you do go above and beyond in the place-card world for your own home.

    It is a GREAT way to to honor guests!!

    (as long as there are no little Piggies or Ravens (for ravenous) in front of them! :-) This is a good reminder for me to get out our place cards and use them more regularly. I’m out of the habit!

  7. These are so creative, and grab the eye right away! I was impressed that you made the curly-Q’s yourself. And, the “closing” section was especially moving and so true. It’s the little things that show specificity that mean so much to people. What a fantastic “brunch” that was…thanks for inviting me as your imaginary guest!

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