How To: DIY Faux Agate Wedding Decor


$20 decor that looks as cool as the real thing

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

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Wedding planning tricks you into doing crazy things. Like that time I bought hundreds of glass cylinder vases for centerpieces because I thought plastic ones would look cheap and that buying them would be less expensive than renting (which was not only incorrect, but then I forgot that buying things means you have to store them. Sorry, Grandma, you’ll get your attic back one day). With that experience behind me, I’ll never begrudge anyone wanting to make their wedding pretty, because, people in glass houses… But I did learn something really important, which is this: most of the super hip wedding decor you see on Pinterest was created for either tiny weddings, styled shoots, or weddings where the word budget didn’t exist. And once you start multiplying cool ideas by 150, things add up.

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So when we learned we were going to get to work with HP using their new Sprout by HP (which features an overhead camera that can scan 3D objects, and a touchmat that lets you move things around in real time with the power of your fingers), we wanted to see if there was a way to take really cool, but otherwise expensive materials, and turn them into wedding decor that you could make for next to nothing, and possibly even pass off for the real thing.

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I saw these agate place cards on Pinterest a few months ago, and thought they looked really hip and modern. But as one might expect, slices of pretty rock are… expensive. So we asked Tabitha of Winston and Main if she’d be up for creating a faux version using the Sprout. And she turned around and gave us not one, but two ways you can use scanned agate for cool (and cheap as heck) wedding day decor. But before we get started on our projects, you’ll want to download your agate scans. Since you can easily scan and duplicate items using the Sprout, Tabitha created a few different templates for us that you can mix and match to get what you need. Some of them are set up so that you can type in your guests names and print them out (they’ll look just like ours above.) Or if you want to handwrite your own guests’ names, simply delete the pre-filled fields before printing. There’s also a set template pre-filled with table numbers if you don’t want to write those by hand either. You can download the full set of scans as a zip by clicking here.

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Here’s what you need:

For Placecards:

 For seating chart:

TOTAL COST: Around $30 for the seating chart, depending on how many guests you have. Approximately $20 for placecards, again depending on how many guests you have.

TIME TO MAKE: 1–2 hours, and can be done way in advance of your wedding.

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Directions:

1. Download the agate PDF. Open it in Adobe Reader and change “Guest Name” to your guests’ names. You can change the font/size by hitting ctrl+e (PC) or command+e (Mac).

2. Use a few small pieces of painter’s tape to stick the printed label sheet to matching color cardstock.

3. Cut out the agate shapes and the cardstock backing at the same time, to form a matching set (they form a back and a front). Remove the painter’s tape, but keep the sets together.

4. Next, cut the length of clear thread you need for your seating chart (make sure to add an extra foot so that you have enough thread to tie it to the brass rod), and tape it to a table using painter’s tape. (Ours is five feet, but yours will be determined by how many guests you have per table.)

5. Leaving a foot at the top, place the agate for table one by sliding the cardstock under the thread, then peeling and sticking your agate-printed label paper on top. Your clear thread should now be sandwiched snugly between the two.

6. Measure two inches down and stick your first guest name card. Continue measuring and sticking cards on, until you’ve added all the guests for table one.

7. Repeat steps 4–6 for however many tables you have.

8. Tie each table strand to brass pipe or dowel. Make it a double or triple knot, as clear thread is slippery! Trim any ugly threads.

9. Thread the cord through the pipe and tie it to hang display. Done.

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Tabitha’s Tips + Tricks:

1. Don’t be a perfectionist. The agate slices are organic shapes, and if you cut quickly and imperfectly it’s no big deal.

2. This project works best displayed against a wall so you can flip all your cards to face the right direction and they’ll stay put. If you hang it away from a wall, the strands will twist and so you’ll see some fronts/some backs from any given direction.

3. And for the #lazygirls in the house, these agate designs are available on Spoonflower as well if you don’t want to bother with all that printing (I bought a swatch of the adhesive wallpaper and it’ currently serving as office decor in my house.)

Modifications:

This project works really well for other decor, like, say, those place cards I loved so much:

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Editor’s note: Meg and I have both invited ourselves to your wedding. I hope that’s okay. I know all the steps to the Cupid Shuffle, is all I’m sayin’.

Have you seen any cool wedding decor online that was obviously created for a party of one? LET US KNOW AND WE MIGHT WORK more creative materials INTO A FUTURE TUTORIAL.

This post was sponsored by the new Sprout by HP. Thanks HP for helping make the APW mission possible!


The Info:

Styling: Tabitha Johnson of Winston & Main | Photography: Melissa Ryan of Marble Rye Photography

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • Meg

    I love the names you used for the guests :)

    • Mallory2

      Leslie Knope?!? Would kill to have her at my wedding :)

  • Katarina

    Glad to see Lil’ Sebastian being seated at table 1. All is right in the world.

  • kate

    i like that you guys are providing the ready-made templates with these sponsored DIYs! sooo perfect for #lazygirls who like pretty stuff.

  • Another Meg

    Maddie, thank you for adding your current hair color to your bio!

    • Meg Keene

      That is a tool in this household for reviewing colors (and practicing having a good memory) with my toddler. “What color is Maddie’s hair right now?” “Me think about it. Pink!”

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      <3 you for noticing.

  • Elemjay

    Great project- looks cool and not too labour intensive! May I ask about the napkins – where are they from please?would love to find something similar!

    • The napkin is actually a piece of my favorite fabric! I can check what it’s called when I get home tonight and let you know!

  • “Editor’s note: Meg and I have both invited ourselves to your wedding. I hope that’s okay. I know all the steps to the Cupid Shuffle, is all I’m sayin’.”
    Rachel’s note: Meg and Maddie *may not* send their RSVPs back by the requested date is all I’m sayin’.
    <3 <3 <3

    • Meg Keene

      *probably won’t*

  • KC

    My first thought when I saw this: “Oh, wow, they’ve subbed in dripped candle-wax or hot-cut candle slices to make faux-agate! How smart!” (for the first, drip candle wax in one color on foil or plastic; add another color, preferably while the wax is still warm so you don’t get gaps; repeat until you have a round thingy; peel or twist off the surface you put it on; buff if desired; for agate slices, probably melt edges and roll in sand and smooth the back; for the second, get multi-color dipped candles, slice with very hot knife, fill in wick-hole in center)

    But no. Even easier! And you just print the names right on it!

    Note: if you were having this free-standing, you could potentially print the slice images reversed on each pieces of “backing” cardstock so it didn’t matter which way the cards were facing?

  • Minor tip: If you print letters with a font that has a white center with black edges (sometimes this is an option within a font too) it can be read against any color background — either the white will stand out against a dark background, or the black will show up against a light background. It would give a slightly different look, but it might make it easier to read the names on some of the “agate” cards with white centers.

    • Kayla

      I was thinking the same thing. I straight up can’t read half of these.

  • I’m pretty sure I don’t need any faux agate cards in my life right now, Never know about the future though. But I am thinking now that I could use a few more real agates in our house. They’re so darn pretty.

  • quickj

    This is so cool! Loving these last couple of crazy-cool DIYs with the Sprout. Hoarding for some form of future decorating use (aka the next friend who gets married who wants ideas and/or random things around the house).

  • AP

    Um, I love the napkin and gold silverware!

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  • Stacy {Woodsy Weddings}

    These are really pretty, especially with the chevron napkin behind them. You could also mod podge them to some tiles to make beautiful coasters that double as your guests’ gifts.

  • This is really cool!

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  • Akaleistar

    Beautiful! I love them as place cards :)

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