DIY Summer Dinner Party decorations

It looks like the Irish Summer is here… Why not throw a dinner party for friends? It’s on my bucket list for the coming months, but for now I want to share my DIY party decoration project. To read more about the occasion read our my blog post on Sails made of Shells blog. Here, I want to show you how you can use free (or very cheap) materials to decorate your table and add a lovely personal touch for your guests. Here is the list, some tips and instructions.

Table cloth

I covered the table with a thin cotton throw I got back in Ibiza. Although the pattern is more in Aztec than Ibiza style, I fell in love with it at first sight. I like using alternative textiles instead of traditional table cloths, which are usually… boring, or if of great design – come at a high price.

Tip: Next time you see large thin scarves or throws on sale – get one and use it as a table cloth.

Tea lights

I can’t imagine any dinner party decoration without candlelight. Tea lights do the job, but it is the tea light holder that does the magic. In this case I used simple clear-glass recycled jars. My boyfriend laughs at my obsession for jar collecting and upcycling, but they are handy to have, right?

Tip: It is actually more expensive to buy empty jars than some jar foods products (I don’t quite see the logic here…). So next time you empty that jar of marmalade (or Nutella), give it a good wash in hot water (to remove the sticker) and enjoy for free!


Most of the time I have some fresh cut flowers at home, so I only had to trim some clove flowers I had to fit nicely into jars (!) and tie a piece of raffia (paper) ribbon around each jar. This way I got a nice, delicate flower decoration.

Tip: look out for cut flowers in supermarkets at a reduced price – they can still last a few days!


I ‘sprinkled’ the table with some seashells to add to that Summer look. I always bring a few shells from each beach I visit so my collection is growing.

Tip: Try it yourself – they are stunning little artworks of nature, and occasionally might help you to decorate your table (for free!).

Table place cards

That was the most fun bit of it all. At the dinner we had a mix of Irish, Argentinian, Greek, American and Polish… So I decided to personalize each place card – not only to make my quests feel special, but also to use them as icebreakers. Each place card was made of a page from an old atlas representing the country and the hometown of each guest marked. Again, I tied a piece of matching raffia ribbon around each card with a plain green napkin, simple little card with a name (white paper and black pen) and freshly cut lemon verbena and lavender.

Tip: I use old maps, atlases and book in many projects. Of course I’m not talking about ‘antique old’ items, but the ones you can often find in charity (second hand) shops and at car boots sales. As the maps are often ‘out of date’, there is a slim chance they will be used again, so using them in DIY projects sound like a pretty good way to extend they lifespan. 

Tip: Lemon verbena and lavender are quite easy to grow (mine grow on a balcony), but you can use any green leaves you can get (even long grass leaves from a park nearby, mind the dog poo though:-).

I hope some of these tips will help you to create a beautiful and original table decoration for your guests at the next get together. The weather looks good, so it could be a garden party too (fingers crossed!).



IMG_1253IMG_1265     IMG_1246IMG_1264IMG_1266IMG_1249    IMG_1269aIMG_1255a

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *