DIY Watercolor Painted Napkins

The Sweetest Digs
by The Sweetest Digs
3 Materials
30 Minutes
I’m a sucker for a beautifully set table, and nice napkins are part and parcel of that setup. My girlfriend Caroline and I had a crafting day a while back and experimented with some painted napkins. We wanted to create ones with an abstract, watercolor look to them… and it totally worked! Bonus? They are crazy easy, you guys!
Step 1 // Wash and prep napkins.
We washed the napkins before getting started to make sure that if they were going to shrink in the wash, it happened before we painted. You can see that they ended up quite wrinkled afterwards, but it was just a matter of ironing them when we were all done to get them smooth and beautiful again. Lay out the napkins overtop of a surface you don’t mind getting wet and potentially have some paint soak through. We used an old towel, then taped down our napkins on top.
Step 2 // Painting
Now for the actual painting part. Squeeze out a bit of your paint onto a plate or bowl, and have a cup of water at the ready as you’ll be dipping your brush in there constantly. We wanted watercolor stripes along ours, and so started at one end and moved across the napkin dabbing paint on as we went. There is a bit of a trick to this, so click through to the full post to see a good technique!
I tried some out with a pretty bright blue and did thicker stripes, and Caroline went for the tried and true black and kept her stripes on the thinner side. You can make these with any color you want, and could even do a multi-color look if you wanted. I was thinking that a half light pink and half minty green would look so sweet.
To see all the steps and material list head over to the post!
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The Sweetest Digs
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 4 questions
  • Betsy Lacallade Betsy Lacallade on Jan 06, 2016
    How do these wash? Is this a 1 time use item?

  • Marilyn Keating Marilyn Keating on Nov 02, 2016
    Can you do some creative painting to personalize them?

  • Donna Donna on Dec 19, 2020

    I like the look but if you use fabric paint doesn't that make them stiff? Does the water soften the paint? Is there an alternative paint that can be used? I'm wondering about alcohol ink but I don't know if that permanent (anywhere else besides my fingers that is!)

Join the conversation
4 of 16 comments
  • Teresa Teresa on Dec 31, 2015
    Swim just saying people are going over board they even make stuff out of tolitpapper rolls some thing are worth the time when you can buy it

    • Karen Karen on Sep 13, 2019

      I've made small tapered beads for jewelry out of tp rolls. They're a great brown color and glue easily together. A top cost of mod podge may try using varnish.

  • Veronica Veronica on Sep 13, 2019

    I would be concerned that the paint would transfer to hands when you use the napkin if your hands were wet. I’m not sure you can wash these either. For reusable napkins, I would recommend using fabric dye to look like watercolor.

    • Donna Donna on Dec 19, 2020

      She used fabric paint which is washable and does not come off. However, it is generally very stiff, I don't know if watering it down helps the stiffness or not.