DIY Linen Napkins – The Easy No-Sew Method

An easy tutorial for making your own NO SEW DIY linen napkins!


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Did you know that you can make your own linen napkins without sewing?

Yep – it’s true. It involves some ripping of some linen fabric and some fraying and some ironing. But really, it’s a cinch and I’m going to show you how I did it.

In fact, I made a reel about this too – so watch that and if you like those kinds of short tips for your home then follow me!

Let’s get started with this quick project.

Things You’ll Need

Linen or Muslin Fabric (see notes for how much)

Scissors (a good fabric scissors is best)

Iron

Tape Measure

How Much Fabric will I need?

How much fabric you need depends on how many napkins you want to make. I went to Joann Fabrics found a lovely maroon linen fabric for 30% off, so I got a whole yard for around $9.

Generally, 1 yard of fabric will yield 4 dinner size napkins and 1.5 yards will yield 6 napkins.

What kind of Fabric should I use?

Ideally, you want to use 100% linen or a mix of linen and cotton. It’s so pretty and washes and frays really nice.

You can also try muslin. I’ve even seen linen/muslin fabrics. Muslin is technically cotton but with a much looser weave. And because of this, it’s breathable and more lightweight.

Muslin is sold in a variety of fabric weights. The most lightweight muslin fabrics would probably not be suitable as cloth napkins.

Typically sheeting muslin is used for homewares – like blankets and towels. It’s super soft, frays well and it can look very rustic and charming on your tables. And it’s ridiculously cheap! Some folks don’t care for the drab color of it, but I think it can be pretty in a natural way.

DIY Linen Napkins – Step by Step

frayed edge linen napkins

How to make your own frayed edge linen napkins without sewing. Wash and dry your fabrics before completing this project!

Total Time: 30 minutes

  1. Cut/rip Square Napkin from Fabric

    how to make your own linen napkins without sewing! 

    Most cloth dinner napkins are either 18 or 20 inches squared. I opted to make 18-inch napkins here. I measured 18 inches on both sides and made a little cut at each mark. Then, I ripped the fabric at these cut marks all the way down. Afterwards, you should have an 18-inch square napkin! Let’s clean up the edges now.

  2. Carefully pull loose threads to Create Frayed Edges

    how to make your own linen napkins without sewing! 

    The edges of your napkins will be a mess. Use your scissors to cut any long loose threads, and then gently pull at the loose threads to create fringe.

  3. Wash & Iron

    how to make your own linen napkins without sewing! 

    I wanted to wash my napkins after I made the frays to see what would happen. When your napkins come out of the dryer – the edges may be a bit loose again. You just need to clean them up a bit (it won’t take long). Then, iron or steam your linen napkins so they are nice and flat. You can also line dry them.

Won’t these napkins continue to fray in the wash?

Technically, a little bit of fraying will happen with each wash. I have washed mine twice (for testing purposes) and it really wasn’t all that bad. The most annoying part might be the ironing, which will have to happen after each wash.

However, if you line dry them instead of the washer – you could probably just lay them flat and avoid this whole fray/iron business in the first place!

If you are really wanting to secure the edges – you can SEW a serger or a zig-zag stitch about 1/2 inch under the fray. However, that makes this project a sewing project which defeats the purpose of this being easy and carefree.

Four DIY LInen Napkins with frayed edges - get the full tutorial in post for how to make these!

Making your own napkins is a great way to personalize your tables, save money and help the environment.

While you’re at it – you can even make your own table runners!

Xo Karen