Hand-dyed Napkins

This project is so beautiful and REALLY relevant to any one of us with a crafty heart. You could make these to use around the house, for a special holiday dinner party, for a bridal shower, a festive brunch, for gifts… the list goes on. Rachel from Heart of Light shows us how!

You will need:

- Napkins (plain, sturdy cotton ones from here) – $250 for 180 napkins
- Fabric dye (we used Rit powder) – $20 for several boxes
- Salt – $2
- Tubs for dying 
- Gloves 

Step 1: Prewash and dry all your napkins

Step 2: Mix up your dye according to the instructions on your package, but with less water. We used Rit dye and we added the dye powder + 1/2 cup salt to 2 cups of hot water and then mixed that with an additional 4 cups of water. Depending on your desired intensity, you can vary this amount.

Step 3: Fold the napkins. This is where you want to experiment. The placement of your stripes will vary based on how you fold the napkins.

Step 4: Dip the folded edges of your napkins in the dye, holding for anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes, depending on how saturated you want them. The dye will gradually creep up a little.

Step 5: Rinse your napkins in warm water, gradually decreasing the temperature to cool, until the water runs almost completely clear. If you want well defined stripes, rinse very well at this point. If you want stripes + solid color background, rinse them gently but don’t worry about getting to the clear water point.

If you are doing a large batch, fold your napkins individually, then stacked them together using a large binder clip to keep them in place. Fill an entire rectangular storage container (which has the dye in it) with rows and just left them to soak up the dye. You could do about 30 napkins at a time this way.

Step 6: Hang dry if you want better defined stripes. If you prefer your napkins to have softer stripes + solid color background, you can skip this step and put them directly in the washer.

Step 7: Run the napkins through the washing machine on warm (if you’re doing multiple colors, only run a single color in each cycle!). The colors will bleed a bit, which I liked because it gave them a nice overall color with the contrasting stripes.

Step 8: Tumble dry and fold. The color will be totally set at this point – no worries about it smearing on your guests if the napkins get wet.

Ta-da! A lovely and fun custom napkin. You gotta check out how the rest of Rachel and Dusty's wedding turned out here.

(DIY photos by Rachel, other photos by Happy Confetti Photography)