Special Valentine's Day Table Decorations

Meal Photo

Meal Photo

Set the scene for a welcoming Valentine's Day dinner with effortless accents that make your company feel special. Whether it's a quick candy holder, fanciful coasters or an easy garnish for dessert plates, table toppers like these add a sweet touch to any meal. Best of all, each idea is easy and inexpensive, too.

We put together a mouth-watering meal that you can prepare for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day. It features Crab Au Gratin Spread, Chicken with Asian Stuffing, Poppy Seed Salad Dressing and Raspberry Mousse Pie.

Turn CDs into Cute Beverage Coasters

CD coasters

Keep your dining table free from stains and water damage with these easy-to-make beverage coasters that you can create with compact discs, colorful craft foam and just a few other items.

We took advantage of promotional CDs received in the mail for Internet service providers. But you can use old CDs or buy inexpensive recordable CDs from a discount or office supply store.

Craft foam is available at Wal-Mart, and fabric and craft stores. It's sold as 8-1/2-inch by 11-inch sheets with or without an adhesive backing. It also comes in many precut shapes.

To make the bottom of the coaster, place a CD on a sheet of adhesive craft foam and trace around it. Then use a scissors or X-acto knife to cut out the circle and attach it to one side of the CD. (If you can't find adhesive craft foam, simply use a glue stick to attach the foam to the CD.)

After lining the bottom of the CD, use a glue stick to attach precut foam hearts to the top in a pleasing pattern. (Watch how you place the shapes, so the base of a drinking glass will rest evenly on the foam.)

Make one coaster for each place setting or assemble a set for everyday use.

Create Party Favor with Paper Napkin

Serving sweets to the guests at your table? Present them in a heart-shaped holder that's a snap to create with a paper napkin.

To begin, place a square paper beverage napkin diagonally on a flat surface. Bring the two outside corners to meet in the center. Lightly press the folds.

use glue stick on one side of napkin

Use a glue stick to run a line of glue along the center on one side of napkin.

fold napkin in half at center

Fold the napkin in half at the center, so the glue is pressed to the napkin on the other side of the center line. Press firmly along the glue line.

use fingers to shape the curves of the napkin heart

Use your fingers to open and shape the curves on both sides of the heart.

Place candy holder on or near each guest's plate and fill with after-dinner mints, valentine conversation hearts or candies of your choice.

Melted Chocolate Is a Sweet Garnish

table setting

Dress up dessert plates in a dash with simple chocolate garnishes that are sure to melt hearts. The two-tone designs are the perfect plate decoration for individual slices of Raspberry Mousse Pie.

They're simple to make with vanilla and semisweet chocolate chips. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat 1/2 cup vanilla chips and 1/2 teaspoon shortening at 70% power for 45 seconds; stir. Microwave 10-20 seconds longer or until chips are melted. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag.

In another microwave-safe bowl, heat 3 tablespoons semisweet chips and 1/4 teaspoon shortening until melted. Transfer to a resealable plastic bag.

pipe chocolate in small circlesSnip a corner from the bag holding the white chocolate; pipe circles about 1 inch wide along the edge of each dessert plate.

Snip a corner from the bag of semisweet chocolate; pipe smaller circles on top of the white chocolate but a little off-center.

pull skewer through chocolate to create heartCarefully place the tip of a wooden skewer or toothpick in the semisweet chocolate closest to the outer edge of the white chocolate. To create the "top" of the heart, pull the skewer through the semisweet chocolate. Continue dragging it to the opposite side of the white chocolate to create the heart's "tail."

Repeat with remaining circles of chocolate to dress up most any dessert.