Coastal decor isn’t usually my thing. But in the summer? I can get into it!
But since it’s not something I’d use year-round, I can’t justify making an investment in these pieces. When I think about hosting a summer party (I just decorated my kitchen for summer), I always imagine gorgeous tablescapes a la the Pottery Barn catalog:
Gorgeous right? And at $12 a piece they’re not terribly pricey…
Until you realize that you need about 12 of them for a proper set. So… $144 for glorified placemats? Ouch.
I refused to let my dream die though, so I came up with an amazing dupe that is silly affordable.
In this post, I’m going to show you how to make a braided seagrass plate charger (that looks exactly like the Pottery Barn version) for under $1 per placement.
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How to Make a Seagrass Charger Plate
To make a DIY seagrass charger, you simply braid small bundles of raffia and glue them in a spiral shape to a piece of cardboard.
Materials and Tools
Step 1: Braid your raffia
Separate your raffia into bundles of 3 strands each, cut to about 30″ long. Tie or tape off the top end of a set of 3 bundles, then braid each set using a standard braiding action (right side over center, left side over center, repeat) until you reach the end. Tie or tape off the tail end.
Repeat this process until you have 20 braided grass ropes. You can always make more if needed, but this is a good start.
Secret Source for Cheap Raffia
If you use a lot of raffia for crafting, I have the best tip! In the summer, stock up on raffia luau skirts from the Dollar Tree. You get a TON of tangle-free natural raffia grass for only $1!
Step 2: Cut a circle from a piece of cardboard
Grab a cardboard box and cut out a 12″ – 14″ circle. As you can see from this photo, it doesn’t have to be perfect! Determine the size you want based on the plates you’ll use them with by adding 3″ – 4″ inches to the plate’s diameter.
If you want a sturdier seagrass charger, use a $1 pizza pan for the base! This is a great option for an outdoor party where people might be carrying their food around as they mingle.
Speaking of outdoor parties, try serving this delicious strawberry cocktail at your next one!
Step 3: Glue braided raffia to cardboard base
Starting in the center of your cardboard circle, hot glue the end of your first grass braid. Continuing gluing the braid in a tight spiral, taking care to keep the braids right next to each other so none of the cardboard backing shows through.
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When you reach the end of a braid, simply cut the end right before the tape (or knot if you tied it), making sure you have a straight edge. Then, cut the end of your next braid and glue the beginning of this braid directly up against the end of the previous braid.
Since this is a lovely organic texture, the transition will blend right into your placemat.
Step 4: Cut off the excess cardboard
Once your seagrass braid spiral reaches the edge of your charger base, glue the end of the final braid very securely. Then using a craft knife or a pair of scissors, trim the excess cardboard off your placemat.
Be sure to trim the edge slightly underneath the outer seagrass braid to avoid seeing the raw cardboard.
How did we do?
I don’t know about you, but I’m just as happy with our DIY seagrass charger as I am with the Pottery Barn version and it was 1/12 the cost!
Maybe we should spend the extra on some really pretty coastal dishware? 🙂