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DIY Watercolor Napkins

The Sweetest Digs

These napkins are the perfect finishing touch for a table. They are watercolor painted and add an abstract feeling to the room.



  • Cloth napkins. I used the Gullmaj ones from IKEA that are a cotton/linen blend. They cost $5.99 for a pack of 2.
  • Fabric paint in whatever color(s) you prefer. I use these from the Tulip brand, which work well and are really reasonable at about $10 for a 5-pack of different colors.
  • Small paintbrush.
  • Water, towel, tape.

How to make it

Step 1: Wash and prep napkins. Lay out the napkins overtop of a surface you don't mind getting wet and potentially have some paint soak through.

Step 2: Painting. 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. The trick is to use a lot of water to get that watercolor look. Dab some paint on, then go over it again with a super wet brush. Play around until you get the sort of look you want. You don't want the consistency of paint to be uniform - some areas with more heavy coloring, some areas that are quite watery and light. This is what makes it more like true watercolor. Keep working your way across the napkin in stripes from top to bottom. You can also vary the amount of space you have between your stripes, depending on the look you're going for.

Step 3: Let dry, style, and enjoy! We gave our napkins a good couple of hours to dry. Because the paint is meant to adhere to fabric, there is nothing you need to do with it afterwards to ensure it actually stays put. We ran ours through the wash again just to be sure, and they came out exactly the same.


Gemma Bonham-Carter

Blogger / DIYer / Maker and etsy seller of art prints, pillows, pouches & more / House renovator / Coffee lover
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