Today I am excited to share my latest project as Redbook magazine’s resident home/DIY expert. From my babes’ birthday parties to summer barbecues, I take my tablescapes very seriously. A beautifully set table is the first thing your guests will notice (before they even taste the food), so it’s important to make a positive impression. I love barbecuing for the Fourth, but didn’t want to go overboard with American flags. So instead, I picked a nautical theme that will actually work all summer long. (Plus, it was a great excuse to use my flea market whale.)

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Here are my tips to recreate this look from the July issue of Redbook:

  1. Table runner. I built everything around a bit of rope-patterned material I made into a table runner. Dirty little secret: I can’t use a sewing machine! I just folded the fabric under and duct-taped it to the right width.
  2. Rope-covered vases. Starting from the bottom, wrap a cheap glass cylinder vase with rope, securing it with craft glue as you go. Make sure you buy a glue that works on glass—not all of them do.
  3. Seafaring napkins. I used an anchor stamp from a stationary shop on plain red napkins. Dip your stamp into blue fabric paint, then press it into your napkins. I didn’t learn any maritime rope tying in Girl Scouts, so I just knotted these napkin rings to look cute.
  4. Star sides. Fresh summer fruit is an essential barbecue side dish. I used a cookie cutter on the watermelon to play into the patriotic theme.

Be sure to pick up the latest issue of Redbook for more on what inspired this nautical dinner party scene.

Are you hosting a barbecue this summer? What do you have planned?

Love,
T

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