Tuesday 24 January 2023

Placecards and Placement

Challenge #132 is about to go live at The Holly and Ivy Christmas Challenge and here is my DT project - a Placecard Project!  I usually dont have time for large scale projects like this, it's usually a last minute scramble to get enough Christmas cards and gift labels done!  I'm so grateful to now be part of a challenge that encourages my Christmas Creativity all year around!  I also had a light bulb moment and would like to share a tip for stamping and using co-ordinating dies (or co-ordinating svg files) with a stamping platform.

Over the years I've made up placecards in the same design for my family here, in Australia and the UK.  I kept the basic design the same because it makes me feel we're connected even though we're in different parts of the world - we may not even be celebrating on the same day due to differences in time zones!   

It all started in 2018 when my sister was hosting our whole family and her partner's family from Canada for Christmas and they were expecting a new family member just before Christmas.  He hadn't even been named when I made these up and sent them off - hence the Baby Wilko (my niece's abbreviated surname)!

In 2020, my son James' UK residency was uncertain and with Brexit imminent he was unable to come home for Christmas - or rather his return to Scotland may have been in jeopardy.  Covid was also rife and made travelling difficult!  Missing my family in Australia and my son in Scotland, I decided to make a set of placecards for my own table similar to those I'd made my sister two years earlier.  

Christmas 2021, and Covid was still rearing its ugly head!  Again my son James couldn't return from the UK or if he did his return might be difficult so he joined his girlfriend and her family in the North of England instead.  I made this set of placecards for them!

Christmas 2022 and we were joined by two guests, so of course I had to make placecards for them!

It's a pretty basic design - some candy-striped patterned paper panel, a candy cane and a bow (both from Waltzing Mouse Christmas Candy Jar Fillers Stamp Set), a little Tim Holtz Winter Foliage for some greenery, and a name (duh)!   The name was generated on the computer using a font called Buttercup - I wish my handwriting were this good!

  The candy canes and bow have matching dies, and the dies have little guide holes to make cutting out the stamped images almost fool proof!  I say almost because there are still times when the die slips, ruining the stamped image!  And of course, the more you do, the more likely you are to slip!

As I was drifting off to sleep on the eve of Christmas Eve last, I was planning my day because I knew I had a lot to do and I wanted to get the placecards made for my guests coming for Christmas Day Dinner.  I started thinking about stamping and die cutting and how it's often hit 'n' miss.  And then it dawned upon me that with a stamping platform (which I find indispensable these days anyway), there was a better way!  

I normally stamp and then cut the image!  BUT, if I die-cut a jig and a bunch of blanks first, then I could use that jig with my stamping platform to precisely stamp on those pre-cut blanks.  Once the first image was lined up perfectly any others placed in the jig would also be perfect!  I was only intending to make two placecards the following day but this could be a potential game change for large scale projects!  And best of allthis process will work whether the shape is cut by die or electronic cutter - a lot of my old and much loved Waltzing Mouse Stamp Sets don't have matching dies but do have matching .svg files - I'd been wondering how I could use my stamping platform to stamp on shapes cut with my Silhouette!

I don't know how it didn't occur to me before and no doubt some have realized this ages ago, but I wanted to share it in case you haven't!  I took some photos of the steps to clarify! It also makes better use of the card stock you'll eventually stamp on - you can cut lay your die at all angles to get the most out of your sheet or use up large enough pieces of scrap!  

Step 1
Cut your die image from a piece of card stock with at least one right angle on it so it butts up against your stamping platform's corner - I don't trust the magnets alone to keep it in place!  I've cut my jig from a contrasting piece of sturdy card I had in my scraps - I'll store this for future projects with my die.  Most of us need a jig anyway if the die is solid like this one!  After cutting a jig,  die cut as many blanks as you need from the card stock you intend to stamp on.  

Step 2
Place the jig in the stamping platform butting it against the corner and align your stamp in the empty area (much easier than lining it up on a die cut image).  Then let your stamping platform pick up the stamp.  

Step 3
Slot a blank into the jig - I use a little LOW TACK tape on the back so it stays flush!

Back, showing low tack tape
Front, sitting flush in the jig

Step 4
Stamp and repeat as many times as needed!  Because the dies for the candy cane and the bow are from the same manufacturer, I was able to cut them at the same time and stamp them at the same time!  I just needed a jig to accomodate both shapes.

I sat down just after Christmas and cut a whole bunch of candy canes and bows to colour and assemble throughout the year!  I should have a set of placecards ready for my all my husband's siblings and their families for Christmas 2023!  

Et Voila!  One sibling's family is already finished!  I'll add a couple of placecards with blank labels as well in case my s-i-l is having guests and an eraseable pen!

I also had to make a proper placecard for my great-nephew Zeke - my niece is expecting in a few months so he won't be Baby Wilko anymore!  It was about time I updated it anyway - he has just turned four and can recognize his name now!

I would like to enter my placecards into the following challenges
Allsort Challenge Week 712 - Spots and Stripes
January ABC Christmas Challenge A is for Anything Chrismas Goes

I hope you're a little inspired to get a headstart on next Christmas.  Be sure to share your Christmas projects with us at The Holly and Ivy Christmas Challenge - we love to see your creations in the gallery!

I'm so grateful you stopped by, I hope you go away a little inspired!  Your visits and comments always brighten my day!  If you do leave a comment, I’ll know you were here and how to find you!



  1. A marvelous project and beautiful way to connect family. Great tip for precise stamping/die cutting and brilliant for batching. Thank you so much for playing along with the Spots and/or Stripes challenge at Allsorts.

  2. What a lovely idea to have matching place names to bring all the family together, wherever they are celebrating Christmas. xx

  3. These are so pretty and must have made the dinner table look lovely, many thanks for sharing with us at Allsorts challenge this week.

    B x

  4. Hello, THICC team-mate!! Terrific idea for Christmas gatherings! And a sweet way to make everyone around the table feel cherished! --Becca

  5. What gorgeous place tags and what a fantastic idea to link family across the world in this way. I love those gorgeous candy canes!
    Thanks for sharing with us at ABC Chrismas Challenges.
    Carol x

  6. Awesome!!! Love it!! Thanks so much for participating in our CHRISTMAS CRAFTS ALL YEAR ROUND challenge!!! I appreciate that you play along and I enjoy visiting your blog!! Have a happy crafty day!!
    Deanne at A Little Bit O’ Paper

  7. These are wonderful and so nice that they connect you to your family in other parts of the world. Such a lovely idea.


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