Hand Lettered Watercolor Menu & Placecards for Holiday Dinners

Dinner Setting Placecards & Menu

DIY dinner menu and placecard made with watercolor paint

Hard to believe that it’s November, but that means Thanksgiving is coming right up! I love celebrating the holiday with our family and spend the weeks before planning and shopping. I’m a big fan of using bright and slightly unconventional colors to add decorative touches to our table, so this year I thought I’d try my hand at painting and lettering a menu and placecards. It takes a little bit of practice, but it will look so pretty for the holiday dinner — give it a try!
p.s. this is a fake Thanksgiving dinner menu, so no luck to family members trying to get a sneak peak!
OOLY Chroma Blends watercolor brush markers and watercolor paints

You’ll need:

– OOLY watercolors — I used the Chroma Blends Watercolor Brush Markers (these are amazing!) and Pearlescent Watercolor Paint Set
– scissors


1. Trim paper

— cut a piece of watercolor paper into two 8 X 5″ pieces. That will be your menu size. To create the placecards, cut one 8 X 5 piece into two, 4 X 5″ pieces. You’ll fold those in half to create the placard tents after they are painted.

Rainbow effect on dinner menu with OOLY watercolor paints and brush markers

2. Paint paper

 — use the watercolor brush markers to create whatever background you’d like. I’m obsessed with stripes, so I created a variety of thicknesses and colors. The most amazing part of the markers is how they blend together, so make sure to try it. I also used the pearlescent set to add a little stripe of gold at the top and bottom of the menu and placecards — just keep in mind that it is hard to write over the pearlescent paint, so limit it to an accent color.
Closeup of watercolor painting of dinner menu with OOLY watercolor paints
Placecard and dinner menu made with watercolor paints

3. Letter menu + placecards

 — I actually have awful handwriting but I’ve wanted to learn calligraphy for a long time. I sort of cheated here by trying a very simplified version of handlettering. OOLY has great tutorials for both ends of their calligraphy markers, so check those out first. I basically used the chisel tip end held at an angle and wrote my letters in a thin line. Then I went back and thickened the downstrokes of each letter. Not perfect — but I’ve got time to practice!
OOLY calligraphy markers written on watercolor placecard

OOLY calligraphy markers and watercolor brush tip markers for DIY menu and placecard

Rebecca Green

Author of Banish Boredom
Content Creator and Herder of Cats at Not-So-SAHM