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How to make paper plates look pretty

Braai Snacks

Entertaining is so much more fun if you can cut down on the clean-up. Here are five clever ideas for paper plate settings that are big on style and low on fuss.

How to make paper plates look pretty

Idea 1: Layer white on white

A simple white paper plate can be the anchor for a sophisticated table setting if you combine it with clever layered detail.

You’ll need:

  • plain white paper plates
  • white round paper doilies in two different sizes
  • white linen napkins
  • hole punch
  • two sheets of white cardboard
  • scissors
  • black marker

Start by covering the table with a white cloth, then mark out each place setting with a large round paper doily. Position a paper plate on top of the large doily, then place a smaller paper doily on the centre of the plate. Finish the layered setting with a simple white linen napkin (or the best quality paper one you can find), folded in half, resting on the small doily. Using a hole punch, make your own confetti by punching through a sheet of white cardboard. Scatter a little confetti over each place setting and down the centre of the table. If you’re hosting several people, add a simple white name card to each setting as a finishing touch.

Idea 2: Go for gold

Who doesn’t love a bit of shine?

You’ll need:

  • paper plates in two different sizes
  • gold spray paint
  • gold string, ribbon or embroidery thread (about 30cm per plate)
  • scissors

Spray a large paper plate with gold spray paint (available at most hardware stores) and place it underneath a regular white paper plate so that the gold plate looks like a charger. Bind a knife and fork together with a length of gold string, ribbon or embroidery thread, and place the cutlery on top of each setting.

Idea 3: Weave some magic

A quick one to pull off, yet beautifully effective.

You’ll need:

  • paper plates in various colours
  • hole punch
  • flat, thin ribbon in various colours (about 80cm per plate)
  • sticky tape
  • scissors

Punch holes around the rim of a paper plate at equally spaced intervals. Thread a length of thin, flat ribbon through the holes, and finish by securing the end of the ribbon to the underside of the plate with a piece of sticky tape to hold it in place. Consider mixing things up by embellishing decorative paper plates with contrasting ribbon colours.

Idea 4: Keep it natural

Remember those woven paper plate holders resembling a small basket that you found at the back of your kitchen cupboard? They’ll do the trick if you want to go organic.

You’ll need:

  • woven paper plate holders
  • paper plates
  • wooden cutlery sets
  • twine (about 20cm per plate)
  • fabric napkins
  • scissors

Pop your paper plates in the woven plate holders. Round off the theme by adding a wooden knife, fork and spoon to each setting, tied together with twine. Place on a fabric napkin in a natural tone.

Idea 5: Make it pop

Create a casual and colourful table by pairing paper plates with the prettiest paper napkins you can find. Stripes are a great way to add a playful pop of colour.

You’ll need:

  • pretty striped paper napkins
  • paper plates
  • permanent marker in different colours
  • ruler
  • washi tape
  • scissors

Follow the napkin’s theme through by decorating each paper plate with simple lines in permanent marker (use a ruler if you don’t have a steady hand) or strips of washi tape in a matching or complementary colour.

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