1 of 22Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Votive Candle Holders as Place Cards
Arrange a luminous table setting. Write guests’ names on strips of parchment paper and wrap them around votive holders, securing the ends with tape. As an alternative, remove the candles, cut snapshots of guests to match the height of a holder, and then curl around the inside wall.
2 of 22Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Gift Tags as File Label
Use leftover, adhesive gift tags to label file folders. Holly leaves = medical records, Santa = bills (obviously—you owe him for the bike, the LEGOS, the dollhouse…).
3 of 22Photo: Erica McCartney; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Gift Tag as Glass Marker
Personalize key tags and attach to glass stems with a decorative ribbon. This way, each guest can fill their own glass with whatever tastes right!
4 of 22Photo: Philip Friedman; Styling: Linden Elstran
Playing Card as Gift Tag
A playing card is a winning stand-in for a gift tag. Numbers 2 to 10 are fun for kids' birthdays; the king and queen of hearts are perfectly suited as valentines. (Use a permanent marker to write your message.)
5 of 22Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Holiday Tags as Drink Labels
Merlot gone missing? A small, adhesive gift tag keeps each drink in the right hand.
6 of 22Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Kazoo as Place Card
Ready to blow it out at your next dinner party? Use a permanent marker to write guests’ names on kazoos to designate seats—perfect for New Year’s Eve.
7 of 22Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Ribbon as Place Card Embellishment
Punch four holes around a piece of cardstock, then tie two pieces of ribbon along the top and bottom to make a striped place card.
8 of 22Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Pumpkin as Place Card
Spell out guests’ names with adhesive letters (or write them with a permanent marker); send the mini gourds home as party favors.
9 of 22Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat; Styling: Kristine Trevino
Stickers as Book Labels
Hey, math can be colorful! Wrap textbooks in simple paper and use alphabet stickers to label the spines.
10 of 22John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Stretchy Bracelets as Wine Charms
Snag a couple of your child's stretchy bracelets to identify guests' glasses at your next party. Bonus points if the shapes match your party's theme. Submitted by: Abby123
11 of 22Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Pipe Cleaners as Drink Labels
Skip the fancy wine charms and use an array of brightly colored pipe cleaners to identify guests' drinks at your next get-together. Submitted by: LassieBV
12 of 22Photo: John Lawton; Styling: Linden Elstran
Pastry Tip as Place Card
Set a sweet table and use scalloped pastry tips in fun colors as place-card holders.
13 of 22Levi Brown
Rubber Bands as Sandwich Labels
Distinguishing chicken salad from tuna is no picnic. Next time you’re packing sandwiches, stretch a thick rubber band around each one and label it with a permanent marker. Divvying up lunch will be a snap.
14 of 22Kathryn Barnard
Address Labels as Travel ID Tags
Tag your precious travel items, such as your iPod and digital camera with return address labels. If you accidentally leave a device on the airplane, a Good Samaritan will know where to mail it. Consider them homing devices for your airborne companions.
15 of 22Mark Weiss
Address Labels as Bookplates
Stick or tape them on anything you don't want to lose: books, magazines, umbrellas, Tupperware containers, cell phones, the stapler on your desk at work. That way your stuff will see many happy returns.
16 of 22Thayer Allyson Gowdy
Coasters as Gift Tags
For clever gift tags that capture a travel memory, hang on to cardboard coasters from the bars and the restaurants you visit on your journey. When you return home with souvenirs for friends and family, punch a hole near the edge of the coaster, tie a ribbon through the hole, and write a quick note in an empty space (or on the blank side).
17 of 22John Lawton
Golf Tees as Food Markers
Is that a blueberry or cranberry muffin? Eliminate all the guessing at your next brunch by using colorful tees to denote which is which. (Also handy when distinguishing medium-rare from medium patties at a cookout.)
18 of 22Antonis Achilleos
File Folder Labels as Cord Identification
Attach adhesive file-folder labels with the names of the cords' owners (for example, phone, computer, fax, and lamp; or TV, DVD, VCR, and phone) near the plugs. This way, you can quickly ID which cord belongs to which machine—and you won't unplug the wrong one.
19 of 22Alexandra Rowley
Duct Tape as Luggage Tag
Make your suitcase easier to identify. Stick a few pieces of duct tape to the sides of the bag to avoid the usual "Is that mine?" routine at the baggage carousel.
20 of 22Ellen Silverman
Nail Polish as Key Coder
Differentiate your keys by color-coding them with your favorite nail hues. Lay keys flat and apply a thick coat of a different shade to the top of each one.
21 of 22James Wojcik
Clothespin as Towel Labels
Track guests’ towels. When “his” and “hers” doesn’t cover it, give visitors color-coded pins (or write names on wooden ones) to attach to their bath towels.
22 of 22James Wojcik
Electrical Tape as Cup Labels
Avoid drink mix-ups by color-coding cups with electrical tape at a birthday party.