David Stark Design is known for staging some of the most inventive events in New York–at places like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and for people such as Beyoncé–and for using materials that are green, affordable, and reusable. They apply the same principles to entertaining at home: “Keep it simple–and fanciful,” says David, who is a longstanding Remodelista reader. He and his team at David Stark Design created this holiday place setting just for us. The napkin is a $2 white bandana block printed with a subtle white pattern; the tassels are snipped from the closest pine tree. Ready to make your own?
Photography and styling by Corrie Hogg, special projects designer at David Stark Design.
For the napkin
- White bandanas. Michael’s sells Back-to-Basics Solid-Color Bandanas in 100 percent cotton for $1.99 each.
- A Speedball Speedy-Carving Block; the three-by-four-inch size is $2.99 at Dharma Trading Co.
- Linoleum carving tools, such as the Speedball Cutter Set; $11.60 at Dharma Trading Co.
- White fabric paint, such as Jacquard Products Fabric Paint; $5.86 for 2.25 ounces from Amazon.
- Small foam paintbrush
- Iron and ironing board
For the pine needle tassels
- Pine needles
Step 1: Come up with a design you want to block print onto the napkin, then, in pencil, replicate it on the carving block. We chose a pinecone to tie in with the pine needles, but it can be anything.
Step 2: Once your pattern is drawn, carve out the negative space and leave the desired shape as the high relief on the block. Be sure to brush away any loose bits.
Step 3: When the design is complete, use a knife to cut off the excess block around your shape; this makes it easy to see where to place the block on the napkin.
Step 4: Iron your bandanas.
Step 5: Use the foam brush to apply a thin layer of paint to your stamp. Try a couple of practice rounds on scrap paper until you’ve figured out the right amount of paint.
Step 6: When you’re ready, stamp away on the bandanas.
Step 7: Allow the paint to fully dry, then iron the bandanas again to set the paint (to protect your iron, it’s a good idea to use parchment paper in between).
Step 8: Snip the pine needles from their branches and line them up in two equal stacks for each place setting.
Step 9: Using about three feet of twine, create a six-inch tail of twine and loop it up over the top of the needle bundle (as shown above). Then wrap the twine tightly around the needles until you’ve covered about a half inch. Tie the long end of the twine to the tail, double knotting it to secure the twine in place. Repeat with another stack of needles, so you have a tassel and tail at each end of the twine.
Step 10: Tie the tassels to your bandana napkin: Wind the twine around the napkin two or three times, thread in a place card if you like, and connect the two loops with a bow. Add flatware and glasses and your table is set.
Natural linen works well as a tablecloth for the place settings. Or consider David Stark’s DIY Painted Runner Tablecloth.
Peruse our Tabletop posts for more ideas, and see Gardenista for holiday recipes and drinks, including a Weeknight Holiday Party Menu. For party-planning inspiration, take a look at David Stark’s book, The Art of the Party.