How to: pretty festive place settings

PUBLISHED: 14:44 05 December 2016 | UPDATED: 14:45 05 December 2016

These pretty place settings are perfect for Christmas Day lunch

These pretty place settings are perfect for Christmas Day lunch


These festive place settings are easy to make and are sure to be a talking point with your guests

Gather your materialsGather your materials

Personalise your Christmas by adding creative touches using material gathered from your garden. These lovely napkin ring ideas from garden consultant Jo Arnell who holds workshops at her home Hornbrook Manor Farm in Woodchurch, near Ashford will be sure to set the festive mood at your table. If you don’t have access to these exact materials, use them as a basis to add what you have available in the garden, hedgerows or from your local florist.


• Reel of wire

• Florist’s wire pieces

• Glue gun or glue stick

• Double-sided tape

• Scissors

• Secateurs

• Narrow-wired ribbon

• Narrow ribbon

• Wide ribbon

• Linen or cotton napkins

• Napkin ring greenery, left to right

• Conifer foliage sprigs, Rosa canina hips (any firm rosehips will be fine, but not soft and squashy, or they’ll stain the napkin)

• Ivy, Allium cristophii seed head

• Physalis, berry and skeletal husk (see tips for how to achieve), and an umbellifer such as fennel or ammi

• Flexible birch twigs, alder cones, ivy flower


Rose hip ring

1. Select pliable conifer stems

2. Wrap with florist’s wire

3. Bend into a ring and secure around napkin with wire

4. Tie thin red ribbon on top of conifer ring

5. Tuck rosehip stem under conifer ring and secure with glue if needed

Step 1Step 1

Step 4Step 4

Step 5Step 5

Ivy ring

1. Cut a small piece of ribbon width 2.5cm x length approx. 10cm

2. Use double-sided tape to secure ribbon on underside of napkin

3. Attach ivy leaf to ribbon with double-sided tape or fast-setting glue

4. Attach a small allium seed head with double sided tape or glue

Step 1Step 1

Step 3Step 3

Step 4Step 4

Physalis ring

1. Glue wire inside narrow folded ribbon if you can’t source wired ribbon (approx. 30cm)

2. Wrap the ribbon around the napkin three times and secure underneath

3. Insert dried umbellifer seed heads through the ribbon.

4. Push physalis stem under the ribbon

5. Wired ribbon should hold the seed heads in place, but use glue/glue gun if necessary

Step 1Step 1

Step 2Step 2

Step 4Step 4

Birch twig ring

1. Wrap florist’s wire around thin, pliable Birch stems (from the tip of a twig)

2. Bend twice around napkin

3. Wrap florist’s wire to make ring

4. Slot stalk of alder cone into birch ring

5. Insert small seed heads of ivy flowers into birch ring

Step 1Step 1

Step 3Step 3

Step 5Step 5


• For skeletal husks of physalis it is most likely to happen (but not guaranteed) if they’re left outside somewhere sheltered for a coupe of months. Alternatively, try this great idea of soaking them in washing soda, created from simple baking soda and heating in the oven:

• You are using tiny bits, so look closely in your garden for interesting seed heads, berries, leaves, flowers and pliable twigs

• Other materials to use: rosemary, pine, fir or any evergreen foliage, bay, skeleton leaves, dogwood stems, willow, hydrangeas, crab apples, snowberries, sorbus, callicarpa, holly, viburnum flowers and berries, honesty, ornamental grasses flower heads, mistletoe, tiny pine cones

• Dry things like seed heads and bark can be collected early as they store well (and may go soggy/get eaten by birds if left outside), but rosehips and foliage needs to be picked nearer the time.

• You may like to add sparkle by painting some of your material silver or gold

Get in touch

Hornbrook Manor Farm, Woodchurch, near Ashford TN26 3TH

There may still be room at the Christmas workshops on 9 and 10 December. See website for booking details:

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