Home & Garden

Thanksgiving place cards: Paper artist shows how

Los Angeles paper artist Anna Bondoc can make a graphic statement at practically any scale. Take handmade place cards for the Thanksgiving table, for example. “It's a nice alternative to thinking big and florid,” she said. “It's thinking small and repeated.”

Bondoc draws from influences that include the Arts and Crafts movement, Japanese printmaking traditions and the midcentury textiles of the likes of Marimekko to create one-of-a-kind pieces. She's a master of the X-acto knife, using a layered paper-cutout technique for her work.

Here she shares step-by-step instructions on how to make a butternut squash place card with what she described as a simple “trace, cut, layer” process. The result lends a decorative flourish that's seasonal but subtle.

The gesture might seem a tad old-fashioned, but that’s partly the point. “It unifies the table because everybody has one,” Bondoc added, “and there's something to take home.”

Plus the design could be extrapolated for use as handmade invitations, and the process could be used to make handmade holiday gift tags.

Stock up on materials and peruse the ideas in Bondoc’s recently published book, “Simply Paper Cutting: Hand-Cut Paper Projects for Home Decor, Stationery & Gifts,” and you might even find ways to repurpose your scraps.

SQUASH PLACE CARDS

Materials

  • 60- to 80-pound card stock in four colors. Bondoc prefers Bazzill Basics, available at craft stores such as Michael's, or Canson papers found at art supply stores. If you’re using Bazzill Basics, use Candlelight for the base and progressively darker, burnished yellow-orange shades of Yukon Gold, Marigold and Yam for subsequent layers.
  • Craft knife such as X-acto with size 11 blade
  • Self-healing cutting mat
  • Metal straight ruler, preferably with non-skid backing
  • Adhesive pickup square
  • 2B lead pencil
  • Liquid adhesive for paper, such as Tombow Mono Multi-Liquid glue

For step-by-step instructions, click through our photo gallery of Bondoc's process. 

A bonus: Bondoc's snowflake cake stencil, which she has made available as a pdf you can download and print.

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