Although the tradition of harvest dining has been around for centuries, your dining room decor doesn’t have to feel stuck in the past. Set the stage for a fall-time feast with your own special touches — a fresh color scheme, unexpected pops of metallic accents or even log-slice place cards.
First, you’ll need a log. We happen to have no shortage of logs this time of year thanks to an overflowing supply for the wood stove, but if you’re a city dweller, you should be able to pick up a bundle at either the craft store or your local hardware store. Keep your eye out for a log that is roughly 4 to 5 inches in diameter and cut in a clean half-moon shape.
Use a bandsaw or hacksaw to cut it into slices, each about 1 inch thick. The thicker your slice, the easier it will be to leave it standing on its own. Another reason to think thick for your wood slice place cards is that unseasoned, natural wood logs tend to warp a bit as they dry out. Thick slices slow this process and offer a bit more stability.
Next, use a small foam paintbrush to paint on two to three coats of chalkboard paint using the half-moon silhouette of your wood slice as a guide. I settled on eye-balling the painted detail on my place cards because I liked that the natural imperfections matched the rough-hewn wood slice, but if you prefer something a little more refined, use masking tape to achieve nice, crisp edges.
Allow the chalkboard paint to dry overnight to ensure a nice solid surface, and then use a wipeable chalkboard marker to draw out your guests’ names. After the party is over, you can use a wet washcloth or paper towel to wipe off the names and start fresh.
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