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Place card holders are a great way to dress up a place setting, but if your guest list is more than, uh, 20, it can quickly add. But creating your own diamond place card holders out of cement makes for a unique aesthetic. This simple DIY combines a couple of my favorite trends — the industrial-chic look and modern, geometric shapes. Bonus: They’re a functional gift once they’ve served their wedding purpose.
There’s plenty of down time while the cement dries, so you can pop out a few sets over a couple of weekends without it feeling like a ton of work!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Heavy beading wire (16 gauge) and something to wrap it around (the handle on a sponge brush is perf)
Cement, concrete or plaster*
A mixing bowl that you never, ever plan on putting food in again
A piping bag (or zipper top bag with a corner snipped off)
Your choice of metallic paint (optional, of course!)
*A word on cement vs. concrete: cement is a superfine powder that when mixed with water creates a clay-like texture and casts a smooth shape. Concrete is essentially cement mixed with sand which has a slightly rough texture when dry. Either are suitable for this project, but for the demonstration I’m using TXI Type N Portland cement.
Make your life easier by starting with the wire coils that will eventually hold cards or pictures. Cut a 4″ length of the wire, then wrap it around your brush handle twice (trying to wrap as closely as possible).
You should have a short “tail” to stick in your cement. Set those aside and save them for later.
Next, mix your cement. Your bag/box should have a ratio of powder to water, but hear me when I say this is only a guideline! Put the powder in your bowl, then add small splashes of water, stirring each time until it’s incorporated and you have a nice, smooth mixture.
You’re looking for your cement to be near the consistency of peanut butter. If you get it too thin, just sprinkle in a bit more powdered cement.
Once you’ve gotten a good consistency, load up that piping bag and snip off a small corner.
Make sure to twist the open end to keep everything coming out of the right side and pipe into the gem mold. This alone won’t fill the molds, so tap the entire plate on the ground or a countertop to help get air bubbles out. You’ll see your mixture settle and the surface get smooth.
Before filling them the rest of the way up, give the “points” on the bottom of the mold a few pinches. This makes sure the cement gets all the way into the bottom and doesn’t leave you with a bubble. Fill the molds the rest of the way and give them several gentle taps to work out larger air bubbles. If you continue to see bubbles rising to the surface, keep tapping.
Once your mold is full, pop in your wires, titling them to one side. If they rest on the edge of the top opening, your finished product will be at a good angle to hold your card. Now we wait! Give them about 12 hours to firm up.
Once they’re dry, simply push up from the bottom and they come right out!
From here, it’s your choice if you want to sand the edges, give it some paint (I love the gold leaf dripped look) or leave it as is. Every piece will have its own unique characteristics and can be used for place settings, buffet descriptions or to hold your favorite Instax shots!
How will you use these little gems? Let us know in the comments below!