Homemade Cloth Dinner Napkins

In our household, we try to be as eco-friendly as possible.  After switching from paper towels to cloth rags, my 6 year old insisted that she wanted all cloth napkins for the table and also to take to school in her lunch box.

Making your own cloth table napkins quick and easy project that helps to cut down on waste.  (Alternatively, you can buy cloth napkins – you may want to try Etsy).

My daughter picked out her own fabric from the craft store (cat-themed fabric, of course!).  However, I also found some old flannel sheets from when I was a kid that I decided to upcycle.  The fabric was in slightly worn, but good condition, and since we had no use for these twin-size sheets, it was a perfect addition to our project.

Cut your fabric to the desired size.  My kids wanted small napkins, the same size as the average paper napkins, so we made them approximately 8″ square.  However, traditional napkins might be as large as 16″.  We decided on a smaller size so we could keep a stack at our kitchen table and available for school lunch boxes.

To start, use a cutting mat when possible and cut about 1″ larger than your desired size (e.g. 9″ square for an 8″ square napkin).

Fold and iron the edges under approximately 1/4″.  You can then fold the edge under another 1/4″ to hide the seam (optional).  After making a few of these, we left out the step of folding the edge under a second time.  It does leave an unfinished edge, but it is not very noticeable, and the kids certainly do not mind.

Sew around the edges and trim any loose threads.  Very easy!

We keep a pile of these at our kitchen table, and they also get used in the kids lunchboxes.  If one gets inadvertently thrown out, it is not a big deal, since these were so cheap and easy to make.  These can be washed and reused, and cotton fabrics can even be composted when they get too worn out to use.




  1. 1

    Very cute fabric your daughter picked out! Doesn’t look too difficult to make!

  2. 2
    Robin Wilson says:

    I wonder how many six year olds are eco “aware” enough to insist on cloth napkins at the dinner table and in their lunchbox? What a girl! The upcycle of sheets is a great idea! I can get them really cheap at the thrift store.

  3. 3
    Stacey Roberson says:

    What a great idea! And a simple pattern, as well. I’m always looking for ways to “go green” around the house.

  4. 4

    These are so cute. If only I was good at things like this. lol

  5. 5
    Debbie Welchert says:

    This is so nice and so much cheaper than buying paper napkins. We have plenty of things that we can use here to use so we can save money there too. What a great idea!

  6. 6

    This is a great idea! Save money and the environment. Thank you for sharing!

  7. 7
    Cathy Shaw says:

    They are also very pretty. I suppose you could also make your own cleaning cloths this way too!


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