In this post, I’ll show you how to make a DIY napkin ring out of upcycled leather that only looks expensive.
DIY Woven Leather Napkin Rings
This is the only time of year I ever think about napkin rings. Listen, I don’t even know how to FOLD a napkin. But when you’re hosting for the holidays, a napkin ring adds a really special touch to the table.
I’d prefer not to splurge on something I use once a year. I also don’t want to buy something cheap that I pull out once a year and loathe. So instead, I decided to make beautiful woven leather napkin rings using materials I already had on hand (aka free).
To make these napkin rings, I upcycled an old leather skirt that hasn't fit me for years. It's beautiful, but it wasn't doing me much good sitting in a closet. If you don't have anything you're looking to upcycle, you can buy very inexpensive leather remnants online.
First, you’ll cut your leather remnants into 1/2″ wide strips. To DIY my napkin rings, I opted to cut the leather strips down to 4″ lengths, but you could go up to 4.5″ if you have bulky napkins.
For each napkin ring, I used 15 leather strips: 8 across, 6 down, 1 connect the ring. To make a thinner napkin ring, you could use 3 strips instead of 6. I just really liked the substantial look of 6!
Using a simple basketweave pattern, weave your leather strips together to form a (roughly) 3″ x 4″ rectangle.
Start by taking one strip and laying it on the table vertically.
Next, take a second strip and hot glue it perpendicular to the bottom of the vertical strip. Try to align the edges as well as you can (if it’s not perfect, you can give it a trim at the end).
Now, flip the whole thing over and glue the next strip right above the first strip you attached. Keep the leather strips as close together as possible for the most polished result.
Continue to glue strips on alternating sides until you reach the top of the first vertical strip.
For the next vertical strip, slide it onto the “open” end of the horizontal strips but weave in the opposite order from the first. For example, if the first strip was started on the front of the piece, start the next strip on the back.
Slide this strip over and tightly nudge it against the first strip. For these center strips, you only need to glue the top and bottom. You can glue the rest if you’d like, but it’s not necessary.
Continue weaving the remaining strips, alternating direction, until you reach your last strip. Once you weave the last leather strip of your napkin ring, glue every section like you did on the first strip to secure the entire weave.
Trim any messy ends to create a clean border all the way around your woven leather rectangle.
Finally, we’ll connect the ends of the woven leather piece to create your DIY leather napkin ring. To do this, we’ll cut 4 small strips of leather that are the equivalent size of two weave squares.
Simply take one final 1/2″ leather strip and cut it down to 1″ lengths.
Glue one end of the strip to the top corner square of one side of the woven leather, and glue the other end to the corresponding square on the opposite side of the woven leather piece.
This connection will create a leather cuff (aka a napkin ring) to slide your napkin through.
Continue with 3 – 5 more strips in the same way to connect the remainder of the back of the cuff. I added one connection at the top, one at the bottom, and two at the center. You can add more if you like but I thought the pattern the four strips created was interesting.
Your gorgeous leather DIY napkin ring is complete!
How high-end does this look? Hopefully, like me, you have something leather that needs upcycling. But even if you don’t, leather remnants are super affordable so you can still DIY this high-end look on the cheap.
So what do you think? Would you give this project a try? If you love DIY and are looking to decorate your home on a budget, be sure to check out my full collection of DIY posts!
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