You all know how much I love a good thrift store transformation, right? Well I’ve got a bunch of new makeovers for you over the next few weeks – and they just happen to make wonderful handmade gifts, too.
Yes, you heard that right: thrift store + a little diy = cool handmade gift. I tell you, that equation is just about my favorite! But don’t think that also equals ‘used gift’ because these are things you will be proud to give – in fact they are all knockoff’s of much higher priced catalog items!
In fact, I first saw the inspiration for today’s thrift store transformation, Chalkboard Napkin Rings, in an online catalog awhile ago. They are no longer available there, but just to give you an idea, here are two sources I did find:
The first is from Amazon -
The second from World Market -
Now, I’m not gonna spend the time talking about the price difference ($37…hello?), but it gives you an idea of the value of your gift. But you don’t have to pay either of these prices and you get the knowledge that you kept something out of the landfill.
How much less? How about .99! That’s what I paid for each of these sets that I found at our local Goodwill:
I looked for any ring set that was smooth and a decent color, because the color of the rim and insides will show in the finished product. The rounded wooden set isn’t ideal for writing on like the rings that have flat outsides, but I’ve included them to show that they can work if that’s all you can find. Most surfaces will work for this project – I used glass, ceramic, coated paper mache, and wood – so there are lots of options depending on what you find at your local thrift store.
Besides the thrifted napkin rings, the materials you’ll need are few and the directions so simple, taking only minutes to do, that these make great last-minute gifts, too!
Materials & Instructions:
- Gather your materials: Used napkin rings, chalkboard paint (brush-on) or black flat latex paint (I have found this to work just as well as the more expensive chalkboard paint), a 1-inch foam brush, chalk (this is from a package of 3 boxes from the dollar store). Optional: small artists brush to touch up edges, chalk marker (more on this below).
- Use the foam brush to paint the centers of the napkin rings. Leave the edge unpainted with as straight a line as you can, but don’t sweat it – imperfection is perfectly fine (but of course you know it’s also fine everywhere here on AOC!)
- Set on the unpainted edge to dry. Optional: when dry, touch up edges with a small artist brush, if you want.
- Condition painted areas with chalk after rings are completely dry (at least 24 hrs). This is what makes the paint look like a chalkboard and helps chalk to erase easily.
- To condition: 1) rub the side of the chalk over all painted surfaces, and 2) buff surface lightly with a rag, leaving a film of chalk behind. You can see the difference between conditioned and non-conditioned rings here and how the conditioning really gives it that chalkboard look.
To write on the rings, here is my chalkboard decor tip: Chalk Markers. Have you heard of chalk markers? I think they are awesome! You get the look of chalk without the dust or smearing, yet the lettering easily comes off with a damp cloth when you want to change.This is purely optional, as regular chalk will work fine, although it will more easily rub off.
There are many ways you can present the rings as a gift, with or without accompanying napkins. Here are some ideas I came up with:
Clockwise from top left:
- Thread larger rings through a wide ribbon and use the surfaces to show how they can be used for seasonal or other sayings as well as for names. If you have a ‘red plate’ tradition in your family, wouldn’t it be sweet to add a ‘you are loved’ napkin ring to the mix?
- Thread the rings through a narrow ribbon and tie a piece of chalk into the bow. Pre label with names or not, as you choose.
- Add a set of purchased matching napkins to your gift and tie a piece of chalk with jute to one of the rings.
- Coordinate colors with the rings you find. Here I used a gold chalk marker on the orange glass rings and tied them and the marker up with an gold-orange ribbon.
- Add simple diy napkins and chalk to your rings and label one of the rings as an example.
Of course, you don’t have to give them away at all if you don’t want to! I love how the painted rings work as place cards or for seasonal sayings, and even as a way to be able to label family member’s napkins when reusing them for a few meals instead of purchasing paper napkins. We use our cloth napkins everyday and I love not being dependent on paper napkins and the savings!
Do you use cloth napkins? Would you like to have (or receive!) these chalkboard rings?
Looking for more ideas? Then you’ll want to follow me on Pinterest and check out my Handmade Gifts board as well as my Thrift Store Transformations board!
Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links and when you order through them, I get a small percentage at no additional cost to you. You can read more about this on our Disclosure page. Thank you for your support of An Oregon Cottage!