Rustic and Reusable Cloth Napkins in Minutes (No Sew Method!)

Rustic and Reusable Cloth Napkins in Minutes (No Sew Method!)


Are you looking for an easy and sustainable way to reduce paper waste in your everyday life? Making your own fabric napkins can be a fantastic solution. In this blog post, we'll show you how to create stylish and eco-friendly napkins using linen scraps. Linen, a classic fabric for napkins, is not only durable but also environmentally friendly. Let's dive into the process and discover some useful tips along the way!

Why Choose Linen?

Linen is an excellent choice for DIY napkins due to its strength, washability, and softening properties over time. Moreover, it's one of the most environmentally friendly options out there. The flax plant, from which linen is derived, requires minimal fertilizer, watering, or pesticides, making it an almost naturally organic choice.

Selecting Suitable Fabrics

While linen is my top pick, cotton is also a suitable option for making napkins. Opt for natural fibers, as they are absorbent and biodegradable. If you don't have any fabric lying around, consider repurposing old garments or bedding. Alternatively, look for laundered linen, which is pre-washed and softened by the mill, which can be ideal for various DIY projects like napkins, bedding and garments.

Preparation: Washing and Straightening the Fabric

Before starting your napkin project, it's crucial to pre-wash the fabric as you would wash the finished napkins. This step helps to eliminate any residual chemicals or dirt accumulated during production, shipping and handling. Natural fibers are prone to slight shrinkage, so pre-washing can also prevent unpleasant surprises in the final product.

To straighten the fabric

edges, simply follow these steps:

  1. Pull a continuous thread along the cut edge of the fabric to ensure the fabric is straight.
  2. To cut the napkins to size, try and cut along the grain of the fabric, which means cutting parallel to the fabric threads. Or try and pul a couple of threads out of the fabric, this will create a gap which makes the grain easier to follow. I demonstrate this in the video. 

Fraying the Edges

The frayed edge adds a rustic charm to the napkins and prevents the fabric from unraveling further, especially after washing. Start by pulling out a few threads along the edges to create a fringe of about a centimeter or 3/8" inch. For fabrics that allow it, ripping the fabric along the grain can be a quick and on-grain alternative.

Trimming the Napkins

After creating the fringed edges, you might notice some unevenness. To fix this, you can cut the frayed edge for a more even look. But remember, small imperfections won't be noticeable after washing, so don't worry about achieving absolute perfection.

Choosing the Right Size Napkin

Deciding on the size of your napkins depends on your intended use. For dinner napkins, a size of 45 by 45 centimeters (18 by 18 inches) works well, while 25 by 25 centimeters (10 by 10 inches) is convenient for everyday use or snacking on-the-go.

this is a rough guide of common napkin sizes: 

Cocktail: 25x25cm / 10"x10" 

Lunch: 35x35cm / 14"x14"

Informal dinner: 45x45cm / 18"x18"

Formal dinner napkins: 54x54cm / 21"x21"

In the end I would let the size fabric guide the napkin size. I'd rather use up an entire piece of fabric and have slightly smaller or bigger napkins.


Final Tips

If you prefer a finished edge, you can opt for sewing the napkins using a sewing machine. For a professional touch, check out videos demonstrating the mitered corner technique, which is perfect for achieving polished edges on your DIY napkins.


By following these simple steps, you can create your very own eco-friendly fabric napkins. Not only will you reduce paper waste, but you'll also add a personal and sustainable touch to your dining experience. Start making these easy napkins today and contribute to a greener tomorrow!


Back to top