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Cheap DIY Linen Napkins! Also, What Size Should Napkins Be?

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In this post: Have you ever wanted linen napkins, but didn’t love their price? Here’s a great way to make inexpensive DIY linen napkins, plus a guide to the correct size for napkins! 

For a few weeks now I’ve been busy creating layered pieces for our Easter/Spring tablescape. First I embellished some Ikea placemats with stencilled numbers. Next I spray painted some old chargers with chalkboard paint. And then I created some free printable place cards.But I have to say, that it’s not going to stay quite like this. I have a few other little accessories up my sleeves! Today I want to share a pretty simple project – DIY Linen Napkins.

inexpensive DIY linen napkins


How to Get Cheap Linen

I purchased some white cotton napkins recently, but really wanted a linen look for Easter/Spring. Fortunately I had about 3-4 meters of summer linen blend in my fabric stash (which I must say is TINY compared to some peoples’!). I had paid $3 a meter for it last fall at Fabricland because they don’t tend to stock much of it in the winter months and they really wanted to get rid of it. Yay for an already paid for project!

So, buy summer linen on sale at the end of summer. Or shop around for it online. 🙂 

Correct Napkin Sizes

Before I get to the tutorial, is anyone else confused by napkin sizes? I mean, I didn’t grow up in a fancy sort of house, so learning about the appropriate sizes for dinner napkins vs. lunch & cocktail napkins wasn’t part of my life lessons. But when I googled napkin size, there were all different answers. Who knows, maybe there was some study that says we make a bigger mess at dinner than with lunch. Anyway, if you care to be proper, I’ve put together a little diagram for you.


Cheap DIY Linen Napkins!

So now, here’s how I made 12 linen napkins…



1. Lay your fabric out on a large flat surface. Using a straightedge and pencil, measure a grid of squares in your desired napkin size plus 2 inches for a hem allowance on all sides.

2. Using good fabric scissors, cut out all your squares.

3. Fold over edges 1/4″ to 1/2″. Then fold over again. Iron as you fold.

4. Open the corners. See the 4 square fold lines? Trim from corner to corner. This removes the bulk in each corner of the napkin when you’re sewing. Refold.

5. Sew a neat line around the inside of the fold and another around the outside. Repeat, repeat, repeat. And repeat some more if you’re making a lot of napkins – I made 12! Then you’re done!

Just this week I saw a set of 4 similar napkins at Chapters for $24 – which means I would have spent $72 for 12. Since I used only about 2 meters of fabric that I bought last fall for $3 per meter and some thread that costs less than $2 for a total of $8 – I saved myself $64!!!

And even though my napkins are not full dinner-sized napkins, they are still very versatile.

Want a fun paper napkin ring you can customize with the seasons to go with your diy napkins? Check out these easy paper napkin rings!


Have you made any napkins? If you don’t make your own, where is your favorite place to buy cloth napkins?

P.S. If you like these napkins, here’s another cotton version that I made with different corners. 

shannon sign off

home made lovely book on table with get it now text button

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  1. Your napkins are lovely Shannon! I saw some similar from West Elm- but without your special hand made-ness!
    Thanks for hosting guys!
    xo Becca

  2. Love the napkins! I really want to get some linen napkins too… now if only I could sew! Does this fabric wash well? I know pretty close to nothing when it comes to fabric and proper care of it 🙂 Thanks for hosting the party again this week!

    1. I will be paying close attention to how they wash up. I’ll keep you all posted.

  3. This is a great reference quide to napkin sizes–I pinned it. Just found you and linked a craft today.

  4. I absolutely love your blog and your sense of style! Thank you so much for the sweet comment on my blog! It made my day. Thanks for the napkin tutorial…..the template for the different sizes is perfect!


    1. Oh my goodness – you are so sweet!!! Thanks for coming and commenting on my blog too!!!!