Place Card Primer: Pebbles and River Rocks

One of the things I like to do when having guests over, is to give each person attending a special place card at my table. A personalized place card tells my guests where they are sitting, of course, but it also shows that I took a little of my time to create something specifically for them.

I make all kinds of place cards – some are as simple as colored card stock with my guest’s name in curlicue script, and some are more involved or designed to evoke a theme.

If your style is fresh and au naturelle, or you are going for a rustic, outdoorsy theme for your next get-together, pick up a couple of rocks and see what you can do:

» Pebbles

These can be small rocks from nature found in your yard, flower bed, local craft store, or garden center. Pebbles that have flat or smooth surfaces work best. I have also used the shiny, glass, pebbles that you fill floral arrangements with. To incorporate floral pebbles into your table scheme, you want a lighter color (clear, white, cream, gold). Both natural pebbles and floral pebbles retail for under $5 per bag.

Once you have selected your pebbles, you can add monograms with a paint pen (or a permanent marker if using the glass pebbles) or you can spell out the name of a guest using several pebbles and place it near their place setting in a free form pattern. You could also paint the natural pebbles first, using craft paint or spray paint and then add your monograms.

» River Rocks

These rocks are usually larger than pebbles and come with a nice, smooth surface. You can get river rocks at a home improvement store or garden center, and some home stores even have small bags of them for sale, prices range from $5-10 per bag. If you plan to recycle the rocks, a small bagful can be an affordable accent for your table settings.

When using river rocks there is more space to personalize, so you could write the name of the guest with chalk. Chalk looks especially nice with a blue-gray or black rock. A piece of raffia ribbon could also be tied around the rock with a bow to secure a small piece of paper bearing the name of the person.

Both river rocks and pebbles can be used as paper weights to anchor card stock to the table. This can be a lifesaver at an outdoor party!

If you find that your handwriting is on the messier side:

  • use a printout of your favorite computer fonts sized to fit the pebbles or river rocks you have chosen, or
  • re-purpose letters cut from magazines or old books

Simply attach the letters you choose to your place card rocks with a tiny drop of superglue.


I think this place card project would be a fun activity for children – keeping them out of the way while allowing parents to cook and prepare for company. Happy crafting!

♦ ♦ Safety First: Please be safe when painting or doing any craft project — use protective masks and clothing, paint in a well-ventilated area, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using any product.