Tablescape: Large Group Book Luncheon

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In our culture, we have lots of opportunities to celebrate reading, writing, and books. We have literacy organizations, school reading programs,  writers’ groups, home, church and library book clubs and so much more. Decorating for receptions or luncheons for such groups clearly makes books the perfect items for centerpieces. I am sharing the table decorations for this large group book luncheon so that you might see ideas you can adapt to your group’s needs.Once I determined that I wanted to use a book theme and actual books and pages for my luncheon, I needed to select a bright accent color to perk up the subdued cream and white colors of the pages. We always use white paper table-coverings for our luncheon tables, so I knew I needed a vivacious color. In my window-shopping at a local craft store, I found this great water-color aqua wired ribbon on sale, and my color scheme was set. I found solid color aqua paper napkins to match the ribbon color, and I was set to make my centerpieces.

I have decorated with books and book covers before for a writers’ group, and in searching on the Internet for book decoration ideas, I came up with this inexpensive, easy idea for my centerpieces. I took old, free books set out frequently by my public library for anyone to take, and tore the covers off. Then I turned a group of pages into the center. I never counted how pages I would use in each loop; I just got a feel for how many to loop. You may need thicker loops if the book paper is thin . It doesn’t matter what the books you use for these decorations–I would avoid using books with too many pictures or colored headings on the page. Sometimes you can just turn to another nearby plain page to make your loop.

You can make similar book decorations by turning down the top corners of all the pages in a book, but my way takes much less time. Looping the pages is something you can do while you are watching television or you can show your older children how to help you.

Have a strong rubber band ready on your wrist as you begin to fold the pages in. You can usually hold the book with your looped pages in your hand as you work, and when you get all the way around, put the rubber band around the looped book. Adjust the pages and the book spine to be a circular column. Then you can tie any type and color of ribbon around the column to cover the rubber band. You can also covered the rubber band with a wide strip of decorative paper to tie in with your color scheme. These book columns should stand up on their own.

If you are decorating long tables and will use several book columns on each, you will need to be sure the size of the books are approximately the same. You can also use two shorter books with a taller book in the center. I used a sheet of cream color copy paper (scrapbook or construction paper would work as well) under each book column for just a depth of color to balance against the white table-covering. Then I sprinkled cut-out shapes of book pages around the base of each book column. Because I have access to a die-cut machine, I cut out star shapes, but there is no reason you can’t cut out triangles or small rectangles with a pair of scissors. You can usually cut through several page thicknesses at a time, so it doesn’t take long to create this table confetti.

I decorated this particular luncheon for my church’s monthly fellowship gathering after church–this was done in September as the church’s activities were getting underway after the summer. As you read on the tentcards I used on each table, I was using books as the theme to tie into reading the Bible. But your use of books in your decor could easily be used to celebrate reading in general, reading skills at school, reading for fun, writing and publishing books, or reading your book club selections. Your tentcards can say whatever ties into your theme.If you are looking for easy decorations for a book theme event, I hope you found an idea you can adapt here. The nice part about these decorations is that you can save the ribbon for other occasions and recycle the book columns and table confetti. Guests are fascinated by the book pages!

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