Crafting: Linen Napkins

For me, setting the table for a gathering is one of the most satisfying parts of getting ready for an event.  Gathering all of the china, flatware, stemware and of course, the linens, is something I take great care in getting just right.

A great collection of linens can enable you to be ready for just about any type of event.  But sometimes you may find that the particular color you're searching for is not to be found.

Nowadays, rather than scouring the stores for napkins that are just the right color, I've found that it's rather easy and simple to make my own fine linen napkins for any event.

RIT Dye is available everywhere, and if you go to their website you can even find Dye Recipes, so that you can mix up any color imaginable! For these napkins I decided on the color "Aquamarine"

~ Christian

Linen Napkins
  • 2 yards white linen
  • 4 ounces RIT Dye (your choice of color)
  • 1 cup salt

I purchased 2 yards of white linen, and made sure to wash and dry it to remove any sizing or starching agents it may have had on it from the fabric store.

In a large stockpot, put 3 gallons of water and set it on the stove to get hot and steamy. Once the water is hot, add 4 ounces of the RIT Dye and 1 cup of salt.

When you add your fabric to the dye bath, take care that all of the fabric is being exposed to the dye; any folds could contain air pockets that may inhibit the dye from saturating into the fabric.  This might otherwise create a tie-dyed effect.

After the fabric has sat in the dye bath for anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour, rinse it in the sink using cold water until the water runs clear, and most of the excess dye has been rinsed away. Then wash the fabric in the washing machine (cold water cycle), and dry as normal.

Once the fabric has been washed and dried, you can iron out any wrinkles and get the fabric ready to be made into napkins.

I used a 12.5" x 12.5" quilting square as the template for the napkins. Cut out two squares for each napkin.

If you have a serger, set it for a 4 thread overlock stitch, and quickly serge the outside 4 edges of each of the squares. 

This step is optional if you don't have a serger. Overlocking the edges gives your napkins durability.  The napkins hold up quite well through many uses.

Match up the sides of the squares and sew along the perimeter with a 1\2" seam allowance. Leave an opening on one side of the napkin through which you can turn out the napkin.

Use a bone folder to press out all of the edges from the inside of the napkin. Once all of the corners have been pushed out, iron out the napkin.

With a quarter inch seam allowance, top stitch around the perimeter of the napkin. This will seal up the opening that you flipped the napkin out from. 

Once you have sewn around the perimeter of the napkin, go around one more time with a quarter inch seam allowance. This gives a really nice twin needle stitch effect to the napkin.

Repeat all the steps until you have as many napkins as you desire!

How-to Videos
click on the links below


  1. I love this and really slapping the side of my head for not thinking of it. We use linen napkins all the time yet I've never thought to make my own. This idea of buying white fabric and then dyeing it to match your colour scheme needs is perfect!

  2. It is a nice craft for those of us who like linens! That tone of blue is so good with so many china patterns.



  3. A wonderful post.. and wonderful video how-to! Excellent work, David! (and Christian!)

  4. Thanks Kenn! Christian did a great job!



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