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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. 

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