Are you a lover of charger plates and always searching for the perfect one to complete your beautiful tablescape?  Have you become dissatisfied with the selection and wish someone would get a little more creative when designing beautiful chargers?  If you answered yes to both of these questions, then you are in the right place.  Today I am going to show you how to make the prettiest spring charger plates and will also show you how you can bring your own designs to life.

​THE MAGICAL MACHINE

** This post was sponsored by xTool and contains affiliate links.  While it is sponsored, all of my opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are my own.**

​No doubt you are saying “I don’t have a woodworking shop or any ability to cut wood or plastic so how could I possibly make a beautiful charger plate?”  I never thought I could either, until I saw this magical machine that was cutting all sorts of shapes and designs with ease.  It was not in a factory but rather in a person’s private home.  Honestly, when I saw it a million ideas ran through my head and I felt positively giddy!  This magical machine is a laser cutter.  

I know, the name “laser cutter” sounds daunting.  Like something out of a science fiction movie where robots have taken over the world and are creating all kinds of gadgets to keep humans in line.  I will admit, while I was excited dreaming up all my designs for this machine, I was also nervous.  I am not well-versed in technology nor anything mechanical.  I received a Cricut two Christmases ago and still have not mastered it.  How would I ever learn how to operate a laser cutter?  Well, I faced my fears and I did learn how to operate it and my very first design turned out beautifully!  If I can do it, I guarantee you can too!

​PICKING A MACHINE

​The very first thing you will need to determine is what variety of materials you want to want to work with.  My wish list for materials and abilities was very long – wood, acrylic, cardboard, paper, leather, plywood, etc.  When you know what you want to cut, then search out what laser cutter you will need.

​I had been seeing all these wonderful creations made by xTool laser cutters so they were at the top of my list because it appeared that they had a top-notch product.  Thankfully a fellow creator helped make the connection and next thing I knew a rep from xTool and I were chatting about my needs and dreams.  She quickly put me on to their P2 CO2 laser cutter due to the fact that I wanted to be able to cut a wide range of colors in acrylic.  She also suggested a conveyor because I will be creating some very large pieces for Jenna’s wedding.  That was a really good suggestion, because I actually needed it for this charger plate project because charger plates are quite large. If you would like more information about the P2 laser cutter just click here. If the P2 is a bit more than you need you could also take a look at the S1. Just click here.

​Once you have your machine, watch tutorial videos to acquaint yourself with the machine and do a bunch of test runs.  I used cardboard and paper for my initial designs so that I would not waste valuable materials.  Doing this gave me the confidence to put the first piece of actual wood through the machine.

​MATERIALS FOR SPRING CHARGER PLATES AND NAPKIN RINGS

  • 4 pieces of wood 17″ x 14″ (spring charger plates)
  • 1 piece of wood 15″ x 8″ (napkin rings)
  • DecoArt Americana Acrylic paint – Light Avocado
  • ​DecoArt Americana Acrylic paint – Aloe
  • ​DecoArt Americana Acrylic paint – Cotton Candy
  • DecoArt Crafter’s Acrylic paint – Burnt Umber
  • Laser cutter
  • Paint brushes
  • Glue stick
Materials for charger plate and napkin ring diy including wood and paint

​CREATING THE DESIGN FOR THE SPRING CHARGER PLATES

​The first step is to determine what the theme is for your tablescape and what table setting’s décor you will be using.  Is it romantic or a special event such as Thanksgiving, or is it for more formal occasions like an anniversary or is it to match your home decor or a season?  For my tablescape, I wanted something that could do double duty for Easter and spring.  Being a flower lover, I decided to create a floral circle.

​There are many ways to create a design for your charger plates such as:

  • freehand sketch a design or 
  • purchase a design off of Etsy or 
  • create something in Canva or 
  • search up a circle design on the internet or
  • ask AI to generate a design for you.   

Canva is my go to program, so I simply searched a floral circle and after scrolling through all the choices, I came upon this pretty image.

Round circle of pink flowers and green leaves
Design for spring charger plates and napkin rings

​With many designs you can simply use the trace element in the xTool app but because my design had so many little lines, some areas that would need to be cut and others just scored, it was best to take it one step further and not simply rely on the trace ability.

For the detail of this project, I needed the design to be saved as an .svg not a .jpeg.  I learned from my children that the best way to obtain this is through Adobe Illustrator.   

​When they told me that, I almost threw in the towel.  I remember exclaiming to them “not only do I have to learn how to use the laser cutter, now you are telling me I have to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator???  I am older gal, just how many new tricks do you think I can learn?”  They talked me off the ledge and assured me that it was not hard.

​CREATING AN SVG FILE OF THE DESIGN

​Import the design into Adobe Illustrator.

​On the right hand side there are three tabs “Properties”, “Layers” and “Libraries”.  Click on the Layers tab.  You will see Layer 1 and that is your original design.

​On the bottom right hand corner there is a small + sign.  Click on that and you will see “Layer 2” up near the top.  Double click on “Layer 2” and rename it to “Cut”.  When you create in this layer, keep in mind that it will cut through the material completely.

​Click on the + sign again and where you see Layer 3 appear.  Double click “Layer 3” to rename it to “Score”.  Whatever you create in this layer will simply place a line on the material.

​Now to start tracing the image.

Click on the layer “Score”.  

Using the pen tool, trace the design and all features that you want to be marked on the design.  Here is a photo of my design in progress.

Illustrator file of charger plate design

​Next, click on the layer “Cut” and now using the pen tool, trace where you want the laser cutter to cut right through to create the outside rim of the charger plate.

​When you have completed tracing all the layers, look back at the right hand side.  You will see an eye shape to the left of each layer description.  Click on the eye next to Layer 1 so that the eye no longer shows.  This is very important because if it is showing it will cause issues in the xTool app.

​When complete, go to top left click on File.  Save as the name of the design with the .svg extension.  

​xTOOL APP

​Open the xTool app.  Go to top left there will be a button that looks like a file folder.  Click on this button and a drop down will appear.  From this drop down, click import image.  Find the digital file you just saved from Illustrator. Click Open.

The design file may come in in multiple layers or it might come in as one layer. If it comes as one layer, find the cut line by hovering your mouse over it. Right click the cut line, click the red circle under Move To. Now you will have two layers. One will have a red circle and the lines will be red and this is for Layer 2.

Click on Layer 2 (cut layer) then go to the right hand side and under Processing Type, click on Cut.

xTool laser cutter screen showing Cut

Click on Layer 1 then go to the right hand side and under Processing Type, click on Score.

Click in the white space (wherever your item is not), now a new menu will show up on the right. Click on Material. For my charger plates, I chose 3mm basswood plywood. You will have to select whatever material you are using.

xTool screen showing material chosen

Put material in the printer. Click Refresh on the right hand side next to the image of the cutter.

xTool laser cutter showing Refresh screen

Then a photo will show up of what the camera in the cutter can see as seen below.

Click on the screen on the right hand side on the + sign which is beside the word “Thickness”. Now position your mouse over the material and click. You will see a rectangle show up. This will measure the height of your material.

xTool laser printer screen measuring material

Click and drag over whole piece of the artwork which will select all of it. Click and drag your artwork over the material to the position where you want to cut it. You will also need to drag it out to the size that you want. My charger plates are 13″ across.

Go to bottom right and click Process.

xTool laser cutter process button

Click on Start button (green button in top right hand corner).

xTool laser cutter processing design

Press big round silver button on xTool laser cutter. You will hear a clicking sound which is the cover locking. Be sure to watch the print in case there are problems, such as the material burning. You will need to immediately pause the print and take care of any issues.

Below is the charger plate being laser cut.

Charger plate being cut in laser cutter

Here it is coming out of the laser cutter.

Charger plate coming out of laser cutter

NAPKIN RING, ADDITIONAL STEP

When setting up the napkin rings to be cut on the laser cutter there is an additional step.

For the napkin ring design, Select the original image. Click command C to copy, then command V to paste. Up at the top menu hover over Reflect and choose reflect horizontally. This will create both sides of the napkin ring. You can’t just print in the same orientation because the details need to be on the outside and then the outside cuts will not align.

See below how the design is one way and the second one is a reflected or flipped.

Duplicate these two images for however many napkin rings you would like to have and set them out on the board so that they all fit. Then follow the same instructions as for cutting the charger plates.

Napkin ring design in xTool app
Napkin rings

ADDING DETAILS TO SPRING CHARGER PLATES & NAPKIN RINGS

​You can leave the chargers and napkin rings as is, but I chose to add more detail by painting it.

​STEP 1 – WHITE WASH

​Using white acrylic paint thinned down with water, apply the paint with a wide brush or sponge brush.  Brush back and forth until well blended.  Keep the paint thin so that the wood grain shows through.  Do not put it on so thickly that it becomes solid.

White washing charger plate
White washed charger plate

​STEP 2: PAINTING LEAVES

​With this entire design, I wanted a very whimisical feel so I kept the paint watered down so that it ended with a soft feel rather than a paint by number look.  I found it easiest to keep the colors to a minimum and work with one color at a time.  

Painting green leaves on charger plate

​Starting with the leaves – you can paint them all one shade of green or you can choose two shades as I did for more interest.  Place a small amount of paint on your palette, dab your paint brush into water and then into the paint and gently paint the leaves in a watercolor fashion.

Charger plate partially painted

​STEP 3 – PAINTING FLOWERS

​In the same manner as the leaves, place a small amount of the pink paint on your palette.  Dab your paint brush into water and then into the paint and then begin to paint the flowers.

Watered down pink paint in a paint plate

I left some flowers as a very watery light pink and then to add interest, I increased the amount of paint to the other flowers so they were a more solid or intense shade of pink then the light ones.

Charger plate partially painted
Spring charger plate

​STEP 4: PAINTING STEMS

​Using the burnt umber, paint in stems and other details as you see fit.

Brown details on charger plate

Completed spring charger plate with pink flowers and green leaves
Spring charger plate

NAPKIN RINGS

​Lay the napkin rings face down and place a layer of glue on the back side of one of the napkin rings.  Place the other side of the napkin ring on top of the napkin ring with glue.  Make sure that the good sides of the napkin rings are facing out.  Hold tightly together until the adhere.

Gluing napkin rings
Gluing napkin rings

Paint in the same fashion as the charger plates but wrap the paint around the edges of the napkin rings.

Painting napkin rings
Painting napkin rings
Edge of painting napkin rings

Here is one completed. Isn’t it cute?

Completed napkin ring

CLEAR COAT

​For added protection, spray the charger plates and napkin rings with a matte clear coat.

Charger plate and napkin ring diy styled with a white linen napkin and vintage plate on a lace tablecloth
Spring charger plate

​ENJOY

​Click here to see how I used these spring charger plates and napkin rings in a pretty Easter tablescape.

Charger plate and napkin ring in an Easter tablescape
Spring charger plates in Easter tablescape

​As you can see they are a perfect way to take your tablescape up to the next level with an infusion of your own creativity. 

Having the ability to make my own charger plates is so satisfying because I will be able to make ones picture perfect for every occasion.

​Don’t keep them all to yourself – can you imagine what wonderful handmade gifts they would make for your loves ones?

Thank you

Thank you so very much for reading my blog. I hope you have enjoyed these spring charger plates and napkin rings and that you will give them a try! I also hope that you will subscribe if you like what you see!

Looking for more inspo?

I have a lot if you are! How about this sweet but easy concrete Easter bunny ​diy? Just click here.

Concrete bunny with flowers and dried grasses

​Or how about this front door wreath alternative perfect for spring? Just click here.

Spring wreath alternative made from a purse, stuffed with faux roses hanging on French door with a sunset behind and lakeview

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