This love letter themed tablescape make’s the perfect setting for Valentine’s Day, a romantic date night, or even an anniversary dinner. I find that in the modern era of effortless texting, emails, and social networking, that it can be a lovely quixotic gesture to turn back to the sentimentality of a handwritten letter on actual paper. Then to go further back to capture the romanticism of script, drafted with pen and ink well on paper that’s been sealed with wax… so that none other than the intended may lay eyes on the heartfelt content. Call me old fashioned if you will… I’ll just take it as a compliment.
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate:”
Verse spells its way across a love letter inspired cloth is laid upon a greater midnight black tablecloth.
“Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:”
Six ravishing red roses rise from a vase overflowing with soft petals. A boundless array of them blankets the table.
“Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed;”
Luminous brass sextuplet candlesticks cast a romantic golden glow over the tablescape. Beneath them lies a once live rose plated in brilliant 14 karat gold. Gilded studs enhance burgundy pillar candles set upon stacked vintage candlesticks that playfully generate light and shadow in the background.
“And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;”
Encircling tuxedo black napkins are love letter symbolizing napkin rings trimmed with faux wax seals. Golden utensils bearing wooden handles represent the pens of yesteryear. Waiting to be filled are vintage ruby glasses trimmed with rings of gold that are flanked by golden flecked midcentury champagne vessels.
“But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st, Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,”
Beneath a resplendent tree sit black ladder-backed chairs cushioned with sumptuous garnet pillows.
“When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st. So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”
Italian countryside plates from Mikasa are topped by red dishes resembling wax seals. They obscure all but rings of gold from the gleaming mat chargers below them.
This easy DIY Valentine’s Day countdown calendar plus treat bag banner and love letter napkin rings craft tutorial comprises three of my favorite things to make… banners, napkin rings, and advent calendars. The latter project arose from the questions, “Why are countdown calendars typically made for Christmas advent and not for other holidays?” and, “Why not expand the celebration with 2 weeks of excitement leading up to Valentine’s Day?” This works well for either children or adults depending on what’s placed inside the bags. As for the love letter themed napkin rings, they perfectly fit a romantic Valentine’s theme… though this one is for adults only!
Let’s begin with the napkin rings. You’ll need a roll of Offray Brand Ribbon in a script pattern. (I purchased this ½ price with a coupon from Joann Craft & Fabric Stores. There’s a link for them in the sidebar.)
You can make 12 rings and still have enough left over for a gift package bow if you like. You’ll also need either hot glue or liquid fabric glue and fabric paint in red (because it works on so much more than just T-shirts).
Measure and cut a 6 inch length of ribbon for each ring you wish to make (use sharp sewing scissors to prevent fraying ends). If using hot glue, bond the ends with one side overlapping the other and press them together tightly. For liquid fabric glue, use a plastic clothes pin as a clamp or secure with a straight pin… and allow them to dry completely.
Next, make a faux sealing wax impression with the red paint. Either use the fabric paint tip to draw a circle and fill it in, or just squeeze some onto a plate and use a brush. Allow these to dry completely before handling. (Hot sauce bottles, glue bottles, and paint tubes placed inside the rings will prevent rolling and paint smears.)
These napkin rings were so quick and easy to craft, and they were a great little touch to add to the Love Letter Themed Tablescape (Perfect for Valentine’s Day, Romantic Date Night, or Anniversary Dinner).
Now let’s make a Valentine’s Day countdown calendar and treat bag banner. (This is an easy enough project for the kiddos in your life to make too.) Begin by purchasing 14 mini clothespins complete with chalkboard hearts (these were 12 for $1 at the Target bargain bins). You can also buy the clothespins plainly and easily attach small flat wooden hearts with wood glue or hot glue… yes, hot glue does work on wood. Then all you need to do is paint the hearts with chalkboard paint. (All of the major craft stores carry the hearts. There are sidebar links for my favorite stores that carry coupon codes with them!)
If you like, paint the remaining portion of the clothespins in your choice of red or pink… though the natural wood tone would look fine with the paper bags if you’re short on time. (I used dark scarlet multi-surface acrylic paint from DecoArt, because it matches my spice racks.) It’s easiest to clip them onto cardboard and just paint one side, leaving them to dry before flipping them over and completing the opposite side.
You have the option of writing the 14 day numbered countdown with actual chalk (so that they may utilized in another capacity after the holiday) or with a permanent chalk marker that can’t be rubbed off.
While those are drying, decorate your treat bags. (These plain little sacks were purchased cheaply for ½ off, but you can purchase printed ones if you’d like to speed up the process.) I used a red bingo marker to stamp dots in a polka dot pattern. (See more about this, along with other project ideas in my article on Fast & Easy DIY Hand-stamped Polka-dot Gift Wrap & Matching Gift Crafts.)Let these dry completely before the next step. (You also have the option of stamping a pattern onto the bags with ink or paint.)
Next, cut out hearts from black chalkboard paper, or use a paper punch in any shape you like, or speedily use readymade chalkboard sticker labels.
Here is my handy little template to print free at home then cut out to trace around. It’s an easy way to make the same exact heart shape repeatedly. (Just right click the small image above and select print.)
Adhere the paper hearts onto the bags with a permanent glue stick. Then run a strip of matching washi tape along the base for easily added flair.
String the dry clothespins onto ribbon, string, jute, cording, twine, or yarn. (I used yarn that looks like twine because three times the amount can be purchased for ⅓of the price.) Once again, use either permanent white marker or actual chalk to write on each heart.
I chose to write “Be my Valentine!” but “Valentines Day!” or “Happy Hearts Day” would also have fit on the 14 bags. You can also write the names of individual recipients like friends, classmates, or even alternate the names of family members.
Fill the little bags with anything you like… you can make it as inexpensive or extravagant as you like.
For kiddos: try candy, stickers, stamps, tiny toys, erasers, inexpensive jewelry… or silly printed jokes you won’t mind hearing over and over again. On the 14th day, think about directions leading to a larger gift like a stuffed animal.
For adults: try printing faux fortunes, poems, romantic quotes, movie or event tickets, or even homemade coupons for “honey-do” chores or special treats. On the 14th day, think about directions leading to a larger gift like a dozen roses, box of chocolates… or something uber masculine like the latest power tool at home depot.
This makes a super cute banner decoration as well, and it can be strung just about anywhere using either tape, 2 extra clothespins, or by tying knotted loops at each end of the string.