While I’ve never been a big user of napkin rings (or my husband a user of napkins), I still love them. I used to have a neighbor that always used cloth napkins. After they finished eating, they would fold them in half and hang them on the back of their chairs. I always thought this was so neat and “fancy but casual”. I’ve tried it, but because I’m always using the kitchen table as my craft table, the napkins fall to the floor, the dog claims them, and I later find them in the backyard. But…Thanksgiving is a different story. Thanksgiving calls for all kinds of fancy; honestly, other than Christmas, when do you insist on hand washing the dishes instead of putting them through the dishwasher?
I found the idea for these napkin rings in a craft magazine I grabbed at a yard sale. (Hello, my name is Kelley and I’m addicted to Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications.) Although I didn’t come up with the idea on my own, I did put my own little twist to them. So here ya go:
Beading Wire: You’ll need the kind that is malleable. I bought 20 guage. The higher the number, the finer the wire. You want the stiffer stuff, but you don’t want it too big for your beads.
Beads: Use whatever suits your fancy.
Head Pins: These are what you use to make drop earrings.
Needle nose Pliers and Wire Cutters
Decide on your bead layout and string them on your beading wire. Don’t cut the wire yet.
Once you have the desired length of beaded string (mine was about nine inches), make a small loop on the end of your wire. This is where you’ll attach the head pin.
Get a bead (or two) that matches your ensemble and put it on your head pin. Cut the head pin to leave the right about needed for a loop. Make sure you don’t close the loop before you hook it onto your beading wire. Personally, I found that closing the loop on the head pin last was easier than the beading wire. The head pin will take more “strength” to close, but if you do it slowly and carefully, I think you’ll end up with a nicer looking product.
Here’s where I give my other two cents’ worth: Instead of using a toilet paper roll to wrap the wire around, use a spool of thread. And here’s why: When you wrap the wire and then release it, it’s going to expand a bit. Using a spool of thread allows it to expand to the normal size of a napkin ring. When I tried using a toilet paper roll, it expanded to something that looked like a bracelet.
When you wrap your wire around the spool of thread take into account how much you’ll need for a loop on the end and then cut your wire. You don’t want to cut it before wrapping because you’ll need more length as you wrap. Put more beads on another headpin, cut, loop, and attach to the other end of your beading wire.
I did put my own twist to the these napkin rings. I decided to personalize the rings for each person. I know that it’s somewhat impractical if you aren’t sure who will be dining with you or if you plan on using them for regular meals, but I wanted to add a little extra. There’s also the fact that Marissa and her kiddos traveled down to have a big Thanksgiving with Jen and Debbie. And even though I wasn’t there, I wanted it to be super special for them. So…I thought I’d go ahead and send these napkin rings on over for them to use.
And so here’s what we have:
Debbie, Jen, and Marissa’s rings are made with various styles of pearled beads…because they really are pearls.
Jen and Marissa’s daughters are the two girliest girls you’ll ever meet. I made theirs with pink beads.
Jen’s son is a master soccer player. He has soccer beads with his team colors.
Marissa’s son is really into cub scouts (future eagle scout, I’m sure!). He has blue, yellow, and wooden beads.
Jen’s husband has a purple belt in Brazilian Jujitsu. Although I made his with purple and black beads, don’t laugh, because he can totally kick your butt…or twist you into a pretzel…whichever you prefer.
Marissa’s husband is in the navy, and although he is deployed and won’t be there for Thanksgiving, he still get’s a spot at the table. I made his with red, white, and blue beads (they also have stars and stripes on them!).
A little tacky? Maybe.
A little extra special? I really hope so.
Thankful for all of them? You have no idea.