That’s right, if you can clean your garage up enough to fit in some tables and a buffet table, you can probably put on a pretty nice party that is saf from the weather, be it heat or rain!
When I was kid, my parents had a house with an attached single car garage. I don’t remember there being too much stuff in it, maybe a tool bench at the end but that was about it. Of course, they were young so they probably didn’t have that much stuff!
In any event, the point is, in the summer months, my father would park the car in the driveway or maybe even in the street, and we used the garage as our screened in porch. I remember that he built a wood framed screen system that fit into the opening where the garage door was located. I know the garage door did go up and down, so maybe the screen was on the outside. I’m not sure. But, I just remember how much fun we had in our “screened in porch!”
Well, I’m not going to build THAT for you today, but I am going to show you that you can use your garage for a fun summer party. And why not? It offers shade so it’s probably a bit cooler than outside, if it rains – it doesn’t matter, and it’s that much closer to the kitchen and bathrooms!!
So here’s what we are going to do…we’ll start by making the garage surroundings go away. To do this I attached panels of burlap fabric to the ceiling using simple push pins. With burlap being about 50 inches wide, I only needed a few panels to cover an entire wall! Burlap is a good solution for this because it is inexpensive and you can use burlap made out of hemp or cotton in your garden for transplanting plants, it can be used as a great looking wall covering by dipping it in starch and spreading it onto the walls, you can stitch it into bags or rustic draperies. It’s just not a good fabric for pillows! Hahaha, Matt will be happy about that!
For seating, I brought in the table and chairs from the patio. Now, since I’m from a more tropical area, I thought I would bring some of those bright colors and sunshine right here to Matt’s garage in Ohio and create a tropical theme!
I started with a round plastic tablecloth to cover the table, but I dressed it up with a square piece of burlap as a centerpiece mat. All I have done is cut burlap to the size I wanted, and then I removed a few rows of the burlap threads to make a fringe all the way around!
This is a messy project though because the burlap is so loosely woven, it does give off a lot of fibers, so have your dust buster by your side while you are making these, or make them outside or…in your garage! Heehee.
For an outdoor party, I usually like to use paper plates because I want to have fun at the party too, and not be standing around the sink all evening. Plus, just look at the pretty plate options I found! The bright colors help support my tropical paradise theme and they were actually larger than my plastic dinnerware (the white round plate) that is my usual outdoor option. Don’t you just love the rectangular shapes for serving or setting out hors d’oeurves! There are so many wonderful varieties of paper ware out there. Get to one of your local party stores and drool over them!
If you are a stickler for regular plates, though, you can do something unique with the napkins. How about folding them to look like a bird of paradise? Here’s how you do it.
Fold your napkin in half, and then in half again to create a square. Then fold corner to corner to create a triangle with the loose ends up.
With the loose ends facing up but away from you, fold the angled loose edges to the middle on both sides and tuck under the excess as in the photo.
Next, fold in half with the excess areas touching on the inside.
Set the napkin in place and pull up the layers to create the bird of paradise!
Placing these around the table will be quite dramatic, especially if you have a variety of different colored napkins to make them stand out!
While we are at it, let me show you a couple more napkin folds. This is a simple one that looks like an elegant pyramid shape. Star by folding the napkin in half to create a triangle. Then pull the side points up to the middle point.
Turn the napkin over keeping the middle folded point at the top.
Fold the middle point down to meet the bottom.
Bend the napkin at the center and stand up like a pyramid!
If you napkins are soft like mine, they might not stand up. Just iron them with a little starch, or try this fold instead…
First, fold the napkin into fourths and place the loose ends towards you.
Fold the loose ends up towards the middle point layering them as you go.
Then, fold the side points to the back and you’re done!
Ok, with the napkins in place, let’s think about the centerpiece! Every party table needs a centerpiece and here’s something really easy to pull together.
My friend, Jeanne showed me a version of this that she made for the tables at her son’s wedding. She took inexpensive wood frames and painted them white, printed black and white pictures of her son and his fiancé onto vellum, which is that translucent paper, and taped them into the frames. Once she had three frames taped together with heavy duty packing tape she placed a votive candle in the center and the light from the candle lit up the photos – it was beautiful.
I have a similar idea here with printed posters from the movie “South Pacific”, and they are just taped to mattes and I have the mattes taped together. Of course candles won’t add anything to this but a floral arrangement or balloons that would come from the center could be great! I opted for flower leis and they looked festive as well.
On the actual dining tables I used paper centerpieces that I found at the party store. They were full of color, fun and sparkle and I couldn’t have created anything as tropical on my own in the same amount of time it took to pick them up and place them in my shopping cart at the store. Sometimes, store bought IS better!
To add to the tropical feel I have crushed shells and whole shells that I bought in the local craft store to sprinkle onto the table to add some texture and fun!
Well, with the table pulled together, all we need is someplace for the food and drinks. I like to set up all the food, buffet style, so guests feel comfortable coming back for more anytime they like. And, what better buffet table than the work bench in the garage?
All I did here was put the heavy machinery under the bench on the shelf, covered the top with a plastic tablecloth, and then added this fun grass skirt to hide the shop tools and add to the tropical theme. This is the perfect place to add all the great foods and I’ll pull in the second bench, cover it just the same way and make it a drink table.
I did use up some tropical silk flowers and raffia I had around and make some floral sprays for the backs of the dining chairs. All the leaves and flowers are wired together and then wired around a tall rectangle of burlap to coordinate with the table toppers. I tied them to the chairs with raffia!
All we need now are a couple of huge palm trees to make the party complete. And I just happen to have some that I brought up north with me to bring a little tropical flair to Matt’s garage!
I know, they’re a little tacky, but we are having a party in the garage, so don’t even think about getting uppity! Just enjoy!