There's something so special about place settings, your name gracing your very own section of the dinner table, saying this seat is for you. Only you. When they're hand made, or even hand written—even better. Someone took the time to set the table for you. The good news is they need not be expensive or complicated to make.
Let's say you have __ days until Thanksgiving. If that number was 1, or even 0, you'd be able to check place cards off the daunting to-do list with this DIY. (And in the mean time, it's just as effective for a dinner party.)
Head outside (or send the kids: your own or other people's) to forage for leaves. You want flat, relatively moist leaves here... Skip over the torn or so-dry-their-crackling leaves that crunch to the touch. If you have an extra few hours before dinner is served, place leaves between two pieces of parchment or wax paper and slip all under a heavy book. If you don't have time to flatten leaves, just use what you've got and start sticking.
Some props from these pictures, available in the Food52 Shop.
You'll also need a few packs of adhesive letters. Michaels has the best selection, but I've also found that most local hardware stores tend to carry a few sticky letter options (the kind you add to the side of the mailbox).
And how to make them:
Time is the operative word with this how-to, as it requires very little.
Begin sticking adhesive letters onto a leaf in whatever format you wish: one letter per leaf (if you have the whole cascading leaf thing going on), full name on one pretty leaf, initials on one pretty leaf, etc. The options are endless here as are the variety of stickers Michaels is able to fit in one aisle of their store (sparkled! fuzzy! script-y and sans serif!).
I wanted the focus to be on the leaf, so I went with simple fonts. Fall foliage is fleeting.