3 Budget Friendly DIY Thanksgiving Dinner Place Card Ideas

Avoid the chaos that comes with everyone clamoring for a seat at Thanksgiving dinner by letting your guests know where to sit via place cards. Here are three options that are not only low cost but will also augment your Thanksgiving table decorations.


You’ll find online a host of websites dedicated to offering free, unique printable options for every occasion, allowing you to personalize everything from invitations to thank you cards to place cards.

Whimsey Box offers a post dedicated to almost a dozen unique designs just for Thanksgiving. Choose colors that complement your centerpiece and simple designs that won’t take away from the overall dÃ?©cor of your table, including stripes, paisleys, block colors, leaves, and even mini turkeys.

You Will Need:

  • Computer
  • Quality printer
  • Full color ink cartridges
  • Card stock in any shade (recommended: neutral colors)
  • Scissors

Simply pick your design and size it to the paper you’re using, making them as large or small as you like. Cut them out and pop them into your place card holders or punch a hole in the top and thread with ribbon or jute string and tie it around a fabric napkin.

Tips for Using Printables:

  • Use good quality card stock, the heavier the better.
  • Change the colors of designs or have the kids color in the designs and hand write the names to make them more personal.
  • Give your guests something to do at the table: add a Sudoku puzzle, crossword, or word find to the place card to give your guests a way to kill time between courses.


Martha Stewart offers a beautiful and budget friendly solution to Thanksgiving place cards: take advantage of nature! This one is open to interpretation based on what is available in your area.

You Will Need:

  • Jute string or waxed twine
  • Finds from nature (e.g., pinecones, fall leaves, et cetera)
  • Fall fruit or vegetables with a stem to tie the place cards
  • Markers
  • Hole punch

Ideas for Using Nature:

  • Use pine cones as place card holders.
  • Use big, brightly colored fall leaves as the place card itself and write the names of the guests directly on them.
  • Use smaller fall leaves and glue them onto squares of colored card stock printed with the guest’s name.
  • Punch a hole in the corner of the place card and tie it to a piece of fall fruit (e.g., mini pumpkin, persimmon, et cetera)


Take advantage of odds and ends around the house to make unique and inexpensive place cards for Thanksgiving by “upcycling.” This idea, too, is dependent upon what you have around your home or can easily access, but the possibilities are endless.

You Will Need:

  • Old postcards, old books, old photographs
  • Card stock
  • Ribbon, twine, and/ or string
  • Markers or paint
  • Glue
  • Reclaimed wood, tin cans, bottles

Upcycling Ideas:

  • Use old newspapers or books, cutting out a piece to the size of the place card but turn it on its side before gluing it on so that the words look like stripes. On top, glue a simple shape with the guest’s name written or printed on it. Add a brightly colored border around the name plate and the place card and/ or a ribbon bow.
  • Use old photographs – or sepia toned or black and white current pictures – as a backdrop and glue plain colored card stock shapes on top with the guests name.
  • Old pieces of reclaimed wood (think leftover pieces from a wood working project, scraps from a nearby construction site, or an old barn) can be glued into any shape – including a turkey (just draw the face and glue the “tail feathers” on in a fan) – and paint or color brightly. Write the guest’s name on a tail feather.
  • Cut out different shaped pieces of brightly colored card stock and glue onto small empty glass bottles, tin cans, or other found items. Add a ribbon or jute string for embellishment.

No Time Like the Present!

So many things must be done at the last minute when it comes to holiday prep, but when it comes to your Thanksgiving table, you can get the place cards done well in advance. Get started now!

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