Photo Credit: Jack Deutsch, © 2012 The Stonesong Press, LLC.
3 hours. But even the most craft-phobic dudes can get on board with this project. Set your guy to the task of working the tools while you get your craft on with the paper projects—or switch it up! Maybe you’re the one who’s handy with tools and he’s more interested in the paper stuff. Either way, this is a fun project to collaborate on.
• Open-back picture frame, 24 in. by 30 in.
• 1 roll of chicken or aviary wire, found at most hardware stores
• Staple gun
• Safety glasses, found at hardware stores
• Hardware or work gloves
• Heavy-duty wire cutters
• Muslin fabric, 1 yd.
• Fabric shears
• Kraft cardstock, 8 ½ in. by 11 in.
• Paper cutter
• ¼-in. standard hole punch
• White gel ink pen, found at craft and stationery stores
• 5⁄8-in.-wide ribbon, about 3 in. per seating card
1. If your frame has glass and a cardboard or fiberboard back, remove and recycle them.
2. Lay the frame on a flat work surface, front side facing down.
3. Unroll a few feet of chicken wire and lay it on top of the frame, positioning the edge of the wire about an inch above the frame’s opening.
4. Using your staple gun, staple the chicken wire in place along the top edge, making sure the wire pattern is parallel with the orientation of the frame's opening.
5. Now that you have the chicken wire secured, unroll a few more feet. Holding the wire taut, staple it in place down each side of the frame to secure it in place (see illustration right). You may need a helper to hold either the frame or the chicken wire steady while you do this.
6. You’ve noticed you haven’t cut anything yet, right? Don’t worry, it’s coming up. Continue stapling down the wire until you have come to the bottom of the frame opening. Again, leaving about an inch of overlap from the opening, secure the chicken wire in place along the bottom edge.
7. It’s time to cut! Put on your safety glasses and gloves and use the wire cutters to trim away the excess chicken wire around the perimeter of the frame’s opening. You’ll likely get bits of wire that stick up at this point; it’s perfectly OK—and highly recommended—that you staple them down to prevent injury.
8. The next step is to cover the back with muslin fabric. This serves as a nice backdrop to your seating cards. Measure out the length and width of the frame’s opening and add 1½ in. (you want the fabric to at least cover the wire on the back of the frame, but it needn't cover the entire frame back). Staple it in place as you did the chicken wire, holding the fabric taut as you secure it to the frame (see illustration right).
9. Now it's time to create the pretty little seating cards. Cut 1 3⁄8-in. by 3-in. strips of kraft cardstock.
10. Holding the cardstock with the short side facing up, punch a centered hole with the ¼-in. hole punch, about ¼ in. down from the top. This is where your ribbon will eventually secure the card to the wire.
11. Now, this seems a little tricky, but using the ¼-in. hole punch, take little ticket stub–style bites out of the top corners of the seating cards. Slide the cardstock about one-quarter of the way into the punch and punch the card (see illustration right). Repeat for all of your cards.
12. You’re almost done! With the gel pen, write the names and the table numbers of your guests on each card. Set them aside to dry; sometimes gel inks take a while before they’re smudge-proof.
13. The final step is to secure the cards to the chicken wire with the ribbon. Simply thread the ribbon through the seating-card hole and then through one of the loops of the chicken wire. Tie it with a simple knot or a pretty bow, and you’re good to go!
► Hardware stores usually carry chicken wire and/or aviary wire. Aviary wire has smaller openings in the wire than chicken wire. Both work well for this project. If you’re using smaller frames or want to squeeze in more cards on a frame, go with aviary wire.
► Secondhand stores, flea markets, garage sales, and household discount stores are great places to find frames. Look for old mirrors as well as picture frames for unique pieces that can be repurposed for this project.
► Don’t be afraid to alter a frame! A whitewash would be utterly gorgeous for a country wedding, or try some distressing with sandpaper for a more rustic look.
Your Cost: $55
• Frame $30
• Chicken wire $13
• Fabric $4
• Cardstock $2
• Hole punch $1
• Ribbon $5
Store Cost: Custom seating charts can cost more than $125 from specialty event designers.
Adapted from The DIY Bride—An Affair to Remember, Khris Cochran (The Taunton Press, 2012)