Setting a Paper Table: Easy ideas to express your theme using place cards

During a recent surf and turf dinner party, I covered the table with brown kraft paper (love!) with ribbon runners. This lead to some fun and easy place card ideas for your next brown paper table party. The combinations are endless and there will be something for every occasion and holiday. Brown paper is clean, a tad rustic, inviting, very accessible and makes for easy clean up. White butcher paper would be an option with all the same benefits as brown paper (think candle lit Italian restaurant).

These place card ideas could be used on almost any set table or even as gift tags and are a great way to upcycle paper items. Use them to help people chose a chair, label dishes or include messages.


  • Doilies
  • Old yearbooks – yours or treasures found at thrift shops. I keep the best pages filed by theme in a binder (domestic (think 1950s home ec), mug shots, clubs, social etc)
  • Photos matching the guest of honor, event or theme.
  • Old cards – I save almost all my cards (invites, thank you, holiday) to either repurpose into new cards or convert into tags
  • Pretty paper
  • Children’s books (imagine Dr. Suess party possibilities)
  • Post cards
  • Old encyclopedia, thesaurus or dictionary (buy one to always have on hand) – cut out around a fitting key word
  • Index cards – found some awesome colored one!
  • Fabric
  • Coloring book pages
  • The funnies or some other page with secret message (job ads for new grad?)
  • Wrapping paper
  • Milk cartons
  • Wood things (tags, sliced branches)
  • It just doesn’t stop…..
  • Or stamp right onto the brown paper

Really no rules. Go for the traditional tent style by cutting a square or rectangle and folding it in half or use a paper punch to create unlimited shapes. I highly recommend using a coupon and buying a large circle tool.

When the fun is all done, if not too dirty you could set loose some kiddos with markers, crayons, glitter, whatever and make one of kind wrapping paper or put the whole thing through the paper shredder for filling the bottom of gift baskets. Or if too dirty, compost or recycle!

Have fun and share pictures of your interpretations!

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