Easy DIY Cloth Napkins

DIY Cloth Napkins

A few years ago when we lived in our previous home, I started my slow journey to self-sufficiency and reducing waste.  I say “slow” because I couldn’t just go full-throttle all at once – My family already thought I was crazy as it was!


So I figured, an easy start would be to slowly eliminate items as we ran out of them.  One of the first things was paper napkins.  Our kids were in the 6 and 7 year-old range – and we went through a LOT of napkins and paper towels!  Parents out there?  I think you will agree.


We were remodeling our kitchen at the time and had previously had some curtains that we had decided to no longer use.  Not to worry – they weren’t hideous or anything. They were a pretty muted red plaid, made from a sturdy cotton.  I also had an old cotton tablecloth with a unbecoming stain (that could be cut out).  I pondered for awhile what to do with them and came up with one of my best ideas to date – Cloth napkins!

I literally had no idea how to make napkins, so I made do with what I had.


Here is what I ended up doing….

After washing up the curtains (Yeah, they were a tad dusty…) and ironing them flat, I cut off the top portion that housed the curtain rod.  From there, I cut squares from the fabric, approximately 10 inches x 10 inches – some a little bigger, some a little smaller – just did my best so make them uniform, but not wasting any fabric.


I don’t have a serger (not that I wouldn’t love one, like this), and these would be our everyday napkins, so I didn’t get too fancy.  I folded the edges over about 1/4 inch, then used a zig-zag stitch to secure.  I used a coordinating thread on the plaid napkins and red thread on the white ones.


Trim the excess thread, and you’re done!




We have had these napkins for about two years now.  Some are getting little stains here and there, but they are still going strong!


Do you have any scraps that you could utilize as napkins, dust rags, or towels?   Have you re-purposed items like this before?  Tell me all about it in the comments!


This can also be seen at the Homestead Barn Hop!


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9 thoughts on “Easy DIY Cloth Napkins

  1. Thank you for your post, Mel! I think Shaye Elliot made a post about your homesteading blog a while back. Ever since, I’ve loved reading your posts! Thank you for your time. Looking forward to reading more.

    Happy Holidays!,


  2. We are actually in the process of phasing out paper towels and napkins in our home. I’ve been looking online to buy upcycled cotton fabric napkins but am now thinking of what I might have to make them myself. Maybe cut up some old t-shirts and back them up with fabric from an old sheet.

  3. Hi Mel,
    Bravo for recognizing and acting on your recognition. I cut apart old wool sweater to use as wrist warmers, boot toppers and pillow tops. I store the pieces flat a drawers and look upon them as pieces of fabric. The dreaded unraveling never happens. And the bad pieces make great floor buffers and dust rags.

  4. I could easily give up napkins and paper towels, but the hubby, he loves his paper towels. We have cut back on them by using the select a size ones. I use towels instead of the paper towels. I also save old curtains and sheets to use as fabric for things. I got a few flat sheets in various sizes, pretty much brand new, from yard sales this summer to use as backings for quilts I have planned. Cheaper than fabric from the fabric store and much sturdier too.

    1. Heather,
      I remember that is how we transitioned as well, with those select-a-size. 🙂 Up until a month or so ago, we would still have paper towels, but didn’t use them often. To be honest, I just keep acting like I forgot to buy them… Problem solved – For now!

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