Designer Table Settings on a Dollar Store Budget!!

1.5 Hours
Honey often brings home magazines from the grocery store (I guess he’s thinking about me in the check out!). Yesterday, he brought me a copy of “Coastal Living”. I love curling up with this magazine to get ideas for my beach house. Yesterday’s copy had a great article with photos of beautiful place settings/tablewear. I love stuff like that, so I dug right in – but as often happens, I started saying things like, “What the heck?!?! $114 for a charger? Shut the front door!!”
It wasn’t long before my “Oh, heck to the NO!” turned into a personal challenge to duplicate an adorable, designer-looking table setting for a fraction of the cost. I wondered just how cheap I could do it. Here’s the result (and the process!)
So, this was the write-up – beautiful, as usual…..except that each of these place settings were in the neighborhood of $200 and UP – for ONE table setting!
I started with some Dollar Tree plates (the turquoise dinner plate and white dessert plate - $1 each) and a Michael’s charger ($1.99). I looked up a method to paint on dinnerware in a non-toxic – PERMANENT way.

I chose a beachy theme (of course) and stenciled my pattern on the salad plate by tracing with a pencil around the image.
I then used Folk Art Enamel Paint in turquoise for the image. Once painted, you’ll want to place it in the oven on 325 degrees for 30 minutes (make sure you have chosen an oven safe plate). You’ll want to bake it TWICE – allowing to completely cool in between.
Next, it was time for a cost-effective dinner napkin. The ones in the magazine ranged from $12-$79 for ONE!! I used a plain white bandana purchased at Michael’s for $1.99 (although I often see good deals on real cloth napkins at Homegoods and Marshalls for a couple dollars a piece).
Using fabric paint, I chose an image and painted it on the bandana after folding and pressing it.
Then, I decided to add a placemat. Using sailcloth that I already had, fabric paint and some painters tape, I duplicated a $128 placemat from the magazine article.
To be fair, even though I used leftover materials I already had, I’ll assign a value of $1 to this part of the project.
I also loved the $28 Ralph Lauren napkin ring in the photo, so made my own version of it with rope and beads, which cost about 50 cents.
Here’s the result – using a turquoise glass I already had & obviously, my own silverware (minus the napkin ring).
Here’s another option with a water goblet and ribbon.
I’d be happy to have a dinner party with this designer hack - for UNDER $10! What do you think?
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  • Missy Missy on May 10, 2016
    This wonderful!! I just purchased the same plates at the Dollartree! Love that store!! So would like to do the plates and napkins to match as well!! Could you please tell me where you got the nautical stencils??? Thank you😊

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  • Valerie Valerie on Jun 01, 2015
    This really is a great example of what can be achieved with a little time and effort - you did a fantastic job - well done!

  • Meem Kaplan Meem Kaplan on Jul 12, 2015
    Very nice! I'm redecorating to incorporate a beach theme. This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I just finished one window's treatment with 2 panels from Ikea that were $1.99 for the two. Very cheap and unhemmed. That said, I rolled a hem using E6000 and also used the same glue to hang seashells at the bottom of each panel. 2 more windows to do and I think I will put some random seashells (from the dollar store) on the panels, too. Then I am going to create some valances using driftwood, sea glass, agates, and more shells to hide the tops of the panels. I hadn't thought about table settings but now I know I will head back to the dollar store for some plates! My house by the bay will look great! Thanks ever so much!