Hannah Bullivant of Seeds and Stitches is an expert on table styling; this was taken from her summer solstice dinner party. Image shot by Kristy Noble.
Summer is great for a hundred different reasons, but one of the things we love most is a good garden party. Whether it’s a huge occasion like a wedding or birthday, or you’re just inviting some good friends round for food and drinks, there’s no better time to take your celebrations outside - and it’s way easier to decorate than you think as well. Today, we’ve come up with ten great DIY ideas to make your garden party look perfect.
We think that whatever the occasion, you can’t go wrong with a good garland. There are so many things that you can make them from, and you can string them across walls and fences, between tree branches and even hang them vertically for something a bit different. Try mixing it up with tassles, pom-poms, metallic cardboard shapes and pretty pastel ribbons.
2. DIY Chandeliers
DIY chandeliers are a bit misleading in their name - they don’t actually always have anything to do with lighting at all! Made by tying lengths of ribbon, haberdashery, pom poms or fabric cut-offs onto an embroidery hoop, they look beautiful grouped together and strung from trees. You can even go supersize and swap the embroidery hoop for a hula-hoop!
3. Origami Decorations
Origami is one of our latest craft obsessions, and even more so now the wonderful Esther from Origami Est has released a book full of amazing projects and patterns. You can find paper suitable for folding in almost every colour and pattern; try large origami birds strung from trees, floral garlands and headdresses, or vases and pots to hold cutlery, straws and other items for the table.
We found a great tutorial for both dip dyed napkins and a shibori table runner at Craftberry Bush blog
4. DIY Shibori Table Runner
Shibori is a great way to add interest to fabrics, and it makes great tableware - to make a simple runner, hem a rectangle of plain white cotton, dye according to the packet instructions and then leave to dry. Iron, add some fringing to both short ends and then layer over a crisp white tablecloth for outdoor party perfection.
5. Ombre Napkins
Another great (and really simple) dye technique is ombre; prepare a dye bath as you would usually, then submerge all but the top portion. Pull it out and then continue to dip and lift for around half an hour, inserting less of the fabric each time - this process will give you the gradient that you’re looking for. One the dying is done, cut your fabric into larges squares, hem the edges and prepare your table!
6. Tin Can Lanterns
Nothing looks more magical when the sun goes down than lanterns strung from trees and fence posts - and they’re really easy to make too. Fill a tin can with water, then place in the freezer until it’s turned to solid ice. Using a hammer and nail, punch holes in the side of the can (don’t forget to punch a hole either side at the top for the handle) - they can be random, or you can do patterns such as stars or chevrons - then leave the ice to thaw. Once they’re empty and dry, decorate with paper, fabric or spray paint, then attach the handle and string up outdoors.
We found a great tutorial for dip-painting spoons over at A Little Bit Funky blog
7. Dip-Painted Cutlery and Serving Utensils
8. Jars Stuffed with Battery Tea Lights
These are so simple, but so effective - using either small jam jars or larger kilner jars, fill them with battery-operated tea lights and then place at regular intervals along the table. They look beautiful when the sun goes down, and you don’t need to worry about connecting them to a mains plug!
9. Pom Pom Lights
More of a hack than a craft, this involves a string of fairy lights and a pile of homemade pom poms, and will make your lights look as bright and cheerful during the day as they do at night. Simply thread the pom poms onto the string of lights and then hang along walls and fences and between trees. Simple!
10. Concrete Candle Holders
We’re a bit obsessed with concrete crafts at the moment, because we’ve just started stocking the Viva Crafts concrete collection; to make candle holders, you can either start from scratch by using the casting kit, or you can simply use the paste to ‘paint’ over an existing holder to get the same look in a fraction of the time. They look great against bright colours and plenty of foliage - perfect for the outdoors!