I’ve got vintage postcards for every major holiday. Often, I just tuck them into tabletop vignettes to help convey the seasonal party theme. But some cards are so gorgeous, they deserve a more prominent place atop a special place card or menu. For my recent Easter dinner party, I worked a real beauty into each setting along with the season’s first pussy willows.

What you’ll need for 1 place card:

  • 1 vintage postcard to scan (local flea markets and antiques malls are great sources)
  • Digital scanner (or a visit to Kinko’s if you’re not equipped)
  • Adobe Photoshop, or other photo editing software
  • White cardstock
  • Scrapbooking paper, in colors and patterns of your choice
  • Scissors or paper cutter
  • Paper hole punch
  • Eyelet to fit hole punch (1 per place card; available at most craft stores; optional)
  • Eyelet setter (optional)
  • Rubber mallet, to set eyelets (optional)
  • Pussy willow or other flowering branches (about 2 per place card; check with your local florist)
  • Ribbon or twine
Easter Place Setting
Easter Place Setting Photo by Julia M. Usher

To make:

1 | Choose and scan your postcard. Select a postcard that conveys the season, and in colors that complement your party’s palette (mine consisted of spring-y hues of yellow, lavender, pink, and green). If you’ve got access to a scanner, great. If not, Kinko’s or another printing service should be able to do the work for you at nominal cost. Be sure to scan in color for this cheery springtime project. Read the image into Photoshop or other photo editing software, and superimpose the name of a party guest on a blank spot.

Place Card, Up Close and Personal
Place Card, Up Close and Personal Photo by Julia M. Usher

2 | Print and bind. Size your image as desired, print on cardstock, and trim to size. I backed my image with another larger piece of green and white scrapbooking paper. To bind the paper to the image, simply place the paper behind the image, line up the upper left corners, and punch a hole in the corner through both pieces of paper. I finished the hole with a pink eyelet, though this step is completely optional. If you decide to follow suit, be sure to buy eyelets that will fit the hole created by your punch, and also a properly sized eyelet setter to secure the eyelet in place. (Ask your craft store salesperson to help with fit, if in doubt!)  Note: The eyelet should fit snugly into the hole, but then it needs to be flattened on the backside with a setter and mallet, so it doesn’t fall out.

3 | String on Spring. For the final touch, trim a pussy willow or other blossoming branch to span the width of your dinner plate (or shorter, if you’d prefer). Then, using a piece of colorful ribbon or simple twine, tie the place card onto the branch, and set atop the guest’s dinner plate. Note: Pussy willows will stay fresh quite a long time out of water. If you’re using branches from another flowering shrub or tree, such as cherry or apple, it’s best to cut the branches just before guests arrive.