Place Card Primer: Felt Badges

I was fiddling around today with my piles of felt, and this idea for travel-inspired place card holders popped into my head. They are like étiquettes à bagages for your dinner table!

◊  Felt Badges For The Tabletop  ◊

To make a set of these felt place card badges, you will need:

  • two colored felt sheets or felt scraps (I used brown and blue patterned felt, but a single color would work fine too)
  • coordinating or contrasting embroidery thread or regular thread, doubled
  • needle
  • pins
  • scissors
  • craft knife or utility blade
  • eyelet punch
  • ruler and black ink pen
  • manilla folder for making a pattern
  • fabric marking pencil (or you can use pen, depending on the color of your felt)
  • ribbon, twine, or other fastener
  • thin plastic container (see photo below)

Begin by brainstorming the shape you want to make. I used a rectangle that I traced by laying a flat magnet on the felt and slightly enlarging the sides as I traced the front and back pieces of each place card badge on the felt.

Then, I made a pattern out of the basic shapes using a manilla folder that I cut up.  You can use a ruler to measure accurately to achieve straight edges.  I also added a decorative front piece, but this is optional. In the pattern below, it is labeled “edge.”

I tried to replicate the shape of a standard luggage tag. For the front, I used a rectangular “window” shape so that the name would show through. Keep in mind that you will stitch around the edges, so leave enough space for stitching!

Cut out the pieces of felt for each place card badge with a scissors and craft knife to remove the inner “window” portion.

I cut out all the pieces from the felt. Here, you can see where I drew the line where the edge piece on the far right would go.

Then use a scissors to cut your thin plastic container into rectangular shapes that will fit snugly into your sewn felt badges. Use the “window” piece as a guide — the felt can help you make a nice rectangle. Be careful since the plastic edges can be sharp!

Cut the sheet carefully, I used plastic packaging...

Here are three "windows" I cut from the plastic.

Use embroidery thread and a needle, or regular thread, doubled to do a running stitch around the edges, knotting the thread and leaving a hole for the plastic piece and the place card to slip in, similar to a luggage tag’s identification information. You could also use a sewing machine for the stitching, but I usually hand-sew everything.

I used chocolate brown and light blue thread, you can see a bit of the stitching to the right.

Add any embellishments to the tags. I left them plain, except for sparkly ribbon!

Be sure to put a hole into the back piece of felt with a eyelet punch for each place card holder for the ribbon. For this step, I waited until I had sewn all the pieces together since I punched through the decorative front piece or “edge.”  You could easily omit the extra piece and punch through the back portion instead.

I used my eyelet punch to make a clean hole in each badge. You could also add a gromlet.

Gently push the plastic “window” pieces into the felt place card badges and put the name of each guest on a piece of paper to slip inside.

Thread a piece of ribbon, or other similar material, through the hole of each place card and tie the ribbon to a napkin, the bottom of a wine glass, or the stem of a cup or dessert dish.

How continental!