Make Your Own Cloth Napkins

how to make cloth napkins

Who needs paper? It’s quick and easy to make your own cloth napkins!

Paper napkins are incredibly wasteful. Unless you’re buying recycled or FSC-certified paper napkins, chances are you’re wiping your chin with paper from virgin forests. Even if you are buying more responsibly made paper products, you’re using that napkin one time before sending it to the landfill, because you can’t recycle paper that’s got grease and food stuck to it, unfortunately.

On top of that, just like with anything disposable, you have to keep buying paper napkins over and over. Sure, they’re pretty inexpensive, but over the year all of that paper adds up. If you spend $4 on a pack of paper napkins every two weeks, that’s more than $100 a year!

Luckily, you don’t have to destroy virgin forests or fill up any landfills to wipe your face. Grab some fabric from your stash, and let’s whip up some easy cloth napkins that you can use over and over instead!


  • 10×10″ piece of fabric for each napkin you’re making – I recommend a dark-colored fabric or at least one with a pattern. This will make small stains less obvious.
  • Sewing machine, pins, thread, iron

How to Make Your Cloth Napkins

1. Iron the fabric, then fold one unfinished edge over by 1/4″. Fold the same edge over again, so you’re tucking in the unfinished part. Iron and pin. Repeat on the three other unfinished edges of your napkin-to-be.

pinning cloth napkins

2. Sew around the edge of your napkin starting at the middle of one side and leaving 1/8″ between the stitching and the edge of the fold (not the edge of the napkin). Make sure to backstitch before you start sewing, so your stitches won’t unravel. Sew around all four sides of your napkin, backstitching again when you get back to where you started.

cloth napkins back

3. Iron again to set your stitches, and you’re ready to use your brand new napkin! You can repeat steps 1-3 to make as many napkins as you have fabric for.

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