Setting a beautiful table where friends and family can gather is a gift.
During the holidays, this gift becomes profoundly beautiful, turning our special moments into memorable events. The food, the setting and the company are all particularly important.
A simple way to take an elegant table and turn it into a work of art is to align your setting with the season. It doesn’t take much effort to reflect the winter wonderland that’s all around us in the colder months. Add a little shimmer and shine, candles and maybe a few rustic elements to mirror a woodsy winter scene, such as pine cones and perhaps a garland.
One crafty way to personalize a holiday table has been around for years, with the modern version starting in the 1800s. It’s the art of etching and it’s particularly well-suited for entertaining during special occasions, and it’s easier than you think.
How it Works
Etching allows you to alter glass surfaces to create your own designs. You’re creating art on the surface of glass by applying abrasive substances. The removal of glass causes the rough surface and translucent quality of frosted glass.
Basically, you take a sheet of vinyl with an adhesive back, sketch your design and cut it out. You then keep the sheet with the negative space, peel off the adhesive and stick it to the glass surface. Apply etching cream, available at craft stores, and allow it to set for several minutes.
Wipe away the cream, wash it off, and you have a new frosted glass design.
But be aware that etched glass is permanent! Also, don’t include the children in this process. The caustic nature of etching cream limits the possibility of making this a family project.
Here are a few ways to use the method for your tablescaping.
What makes this accent fun is each guest gets their own goblet with their name frosted onto the glass. Use plain goblets, nothing with too much scrollwork or design elements already in play.
With lettering, you’ll probably want to choose some vinyl stencils with an appropriate font, unless you have excellent penmanship and the ability to cut out tiny details with perfect accuracy. Cursive lettering is especially nice for a special occasion.
Of course, the personalized goblet’s main function is as an elegant place card, without taking up any extra space on your table. But the personalization will also allow your guests to mingle without becoming confused over which drink is theirs. The goblets will also make the members of your party feel like an important part of the night’s festivities since you took the time to etch their names into the place settings.
Don’t be tempted to alter your great-grandmother’s crystal goblets or anything that has a special place in your heart or family traditions.
Pick up an inexpensive set from a chain store and you won’t regret your arts and craft moment.
If you don’t love the idea of goblets as a placeholder, you can also pick up a pack of small oval or round mirrors at a craft store that you can etch for your guests and will catch the light nicely on your table. Or, a personal favorite, order and etch some glass ornaments that also serve as a present for each of your guests. For example, a star or a glass reindeer ornament placed artistically near each place setting adds a lovely touch and is a meaningful memento of the evening.
There is nothing quite like candlelight to bring a magical glow to a dinner party. The soft romantic light brings a traditional warmth to your gathering and reflects off of your glassware, filling the creative space like starlight.
You can double the effect with a mirror or similar reflective surface under the candles, like a wintry, frozen lake. You can also mark the importance of the occasion by etching your own design around the edge, and perhaps including the date and family name.
Instead of a surface for candles, you could choose a glass container for flowers, Christmas crackers, Christmas pudding or other holiday fare. If you have a family crest, by all means, etch away. Use your imagination and your artistry.