Grab a Cheap Seat and Settle In

I think I just one of my own DIY wedding projects left to post, and better late than never, right? Of course right.

I already showed you my invitations and head table sign. My last big DIY contribution for the wedding (well, the last one I have any photos of to share a how-to with you) was the display for our place cards.

The initial inspiration for this project came from two simple thoughts: “I have vintage suitcases!”, and “I want people to see these vintage suitcases!”

Besides the suitcases, for this project I used gray* poster board (I practiced with a white one),  navy blue* grosgrain ribbon (I think it was 1/4 inch wide), hot glue, teeny tiny clothespins, and standard size business cards (which we used to print our own place cards).   *two of the wedding colors.

Bob and Rocco fail to see what’s so interesting about the suitcases.

We had to fit about 160 place cards between the two suitcases. First thing to work on was how to display the cards that would be on the lower half of the suitcase. I had seen this display and liked how clean and simple it was (though her place cards were much bigger than mine). A standard business card is 2 inches high. I wanted just a little bit of each card to stick up above the base, so with my poster board I made accordion folds 1.5 inches high. You can do the same, like so:

1) Measure the width of the inside of your suitcase, and cut your poster board to the same width (don’t mess with the length of the poster board yet).  Once you have this folded later, you may have to taper the edges or the first and last few rows, if your suitcase is rounded like one of mine was.

2) On one long side of the poster board, measure and mark 1.5 inches in, then measure and mark every 3 inches from that first point. Do the same to the opposite long edge (see poorly drawn Paint image)

Use a pencil. I used a sharpie so you could see it.

3) Flip the poster board over. Measure and mark every 3 inches, this time starting from the edge.

4) Line a yardstick up to the marks you’ve made. Use something like an empty clicky pencil, the back of a butter knife, or the pointy end of an orange peeler to trace along the edge of the ruler and score the poster board.  Repeat on the other side.

5) Using the scores you made as guidelines, accordion-fold the whole poster board. You might have some at the end to trim off that wasn’t quite 1.5 inches wide (or if you just don’t need that many rows to hold your place cards).

6) Try it on for size. If the rows are too packed together, cut a few off. For this blue suitcase, I tapered the corers a little bit to better fit the curve of the suitcase.

So that’s the tray part of the display. Each suitcase held about 50 this way, but we had more than that to display. If you need to make use of the top half of the suitcase like we did, bust out your hot glue gun and grosgrain ribbon. Starting near the top of the suitcase, put a blob of glue on the metal frame (if you can. I had to reinforce a few spots by gluing to the blue part of the suitcase. It didn’t do any damage, but I can’t guarantee that the same would be true of other suitcases).

Press the end of your ribbon into the glue. Leaving a bit of slack in the ribbon, glue the ribbon to the other side of the suitcase. I made sure I had enough slack so that the suitcase could close to be easily transported.

Glue two more ribbons to the suitcase, about four inches apart. Make sure the bottom row of place cards will have enough room to hang.

 Use tiny clothes pins, or paper clips, or whatever you like, to hang your overflow of place cards. And that’s about it!

I forgot to bring my camera to the reception hall when we were setting up the night before, so Nick snapped this picture of everything set up, with his phone:

And our photographer got this one later in the evening on the day of the wedding:

Photo by Kelly Lester Photography

I was so happy with how the place card display turned out!  The suitcases were also handy to have around at the end of the night when we were gathering up odds and ends to be taken home.

~Amy

BONUS:

We used the train case as our card box:

Photo by Kelly Lester Photography

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2 responses

  1. Pingback: Lace and Lemons DIY Wedding Roundup | lace and lemons

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