Guest Blog Post: Rogue Bride’s Brilliant DIY Wedding Gift

I love it when my book inspires fabulous DIY wedding projects that absolutely made the party! Recently, I heard from Rogue Bride — a sensational blogger you have to check out! — about the ultra-creative, dazzling DIY gift she gave to one of her closest friends.

In fact, I loved her note and her review so much, I invited her to contribute a guest blog all about her easy, budget-smart project. Here she is…Rogue Bride:

Wedding Guest on a Budget: The Perfect Bridal Shower Gift

Once you reach a certain age, it’s like someone throws a switch and suddenly everyone you know is getting married. That gets expensive, especially since I’m one of them – yes, I’m getting married too. So when my friend CJ invited me to her bridal shower, I had mixed emotions. I was incredibly happy for her and honored to be there, but I also had a knot in my stomach for how to afford even a single piece of china on her wedding registry.

But, in preparation for my own wedding, I picked up Bridesmaid on a Budget, hoping to save my own strapped-for-cash bridesmaids some hard-earned cash, and I found something else too – the best roundup of inexpensive and thoughtful gift ideas I’ve seen in one place. Under the title “Dazzling DIY Gifts” I found this idea:

  • Personalize table place mats, including iron-on kits to allow you to decorate linen placemats with your choice of images or words.

That idea percolated in my mind along with everything I know about CJ. She’s a professional artist, extremely creative, loves damask, black, and sparkles – and she loves Ayn Rand. If you’re not familiar with Ayn Rand (I sure wasn’t), she wrote The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, neither of which can be explained in a single sentence. In fact, if I try, I would probably upset a number of fans.

I was going for a multi-textured look, so I began with:


4 Plain linen placemats from Target

1 Large Damask stencil

Black paint

Sparkly gold paint

Black iron-on rhinestones

2 Iron-on black flower appliques

1 Pack of “Transfer-mations” printable fabric transfers (with really confusing directions)

For the quotes, I used:

A type-writer font and a decorative corners font, downloaded free from


My fiancé’s printer & troubleshooting skills

Not having read Atlas Shrugged myself, I found my quotes online – which would have worked great if the person who had posted them online knew how to spell. I caught most of the errors, but only found the last one the morning of the bridal shower, and by then it was too late. Always proof-read!


  1. The most time went into designing the quotes on Photoshop. I used three fonts from DaFont to achieve the look: One for the words; one for the ink splatters; and one for the swirly corners. Then I fought with Photoshop for 30 minutes to get them looking right.
  2. Then my fiancé and I had to figure out which side of the printable transfer paper was up. This took a long time, because the directions on the package were terrible. We printed – took several minutes just to figure out how to peel off the back of the very solid printable transfer paper, cut the paper, and ironed the quotes in place. This particular brand of transfer paper transfers the entire white sheet, which for worked for the look I was going for, but wasn’t exactly expected…
  3. I ironed on the two flowers on two of the four placemats. They would have looked great on all four, but I thought having slightly mismatched mats looked kinda cool.
  4. I broke out the paint, sponges and stencil. I discovered that mixing the sparkle paint with the black paint, then highlighting areas with more sparkle paint worked best.
  5. I ironed on black shiny gemstones for added texture and glitz (I know my girl CJ, and she loves bling).

Now for the true confession – I didn’t leave myself a lot of time to do this project. In fact, I made these four placemats in the 2 ½ hours before I had to leave for the bridal shower! The paint was essentially drying on the car ride.

I do not advocate trying a first-time craft, as a gift, in a time crunch.

But, I love how these turned out, and more importantly, CJ and her fiancé loved them. They were really touched that I created something so specific and personal to them. I even managed to include one of their favorite Ayn Rand ideas.

A look at one of the quotes:

Courtesy of Rogue Bride

One of Rogue Bride’s fabulous finished DIY gifts:

The real trick to pulling off this project is knowing the taste of the recipient. If I were making these placemats for myself, I’d have Samuel Johnson quotes, lines from Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, or Anita Loos. Can you imagine Shell Silverstein? Or – quotes from the readings at a couple’s wedding ceremony?

If you’re going to a wedding, or are in your mid-twenties and have several weddings lined up as if someone turned on the “Married” switch, Bridesmaid on a Budget is a great investment.

~ Rogue Bride

Rogue Bride is an anonymously written blog devoted to the bride’s resilience in the face of misbehaving guests and her ultimate triumph over low budgets and media expectations. Rogue Bride is also the co-host of The Bridal Kool-Aid Cocktail Hour podcast on iTunes where she talks about Real Brides, Real Stories, Real Prices.

And here’s my book that inspired her: