Friday, March 12, 2021

No-Sew "Snip and Rip" DIY Dinner Napkins - Romantic Homemaking Series


“Love is a great beautifier.” 
~ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Greetings dear ladies! I am excited to share this simple, simple concept with you all which will give you a dozen lovely new napkins with just a short amount of time. These "snip and rip" napkins don't require a sewing machine and are rather fun and addictive to make!


First, you will need a basic cotton flat sheet (or large piece of good absorbable fabric or even a huge tablecloth) and a pair of scissors. I used a twin flat sheet I found at the thrift store and it produced me with 12 napkins! A larger sheet would provide more and so forth. 


Now, I won't be going into too much details as it will lose the fun. The basic concept of this tutorial is common sense. First, you will want to snip and rip off all 4 corners (edges) of the sheet (or fabric) in order to make it straight. To do this, you simply get near to the end of the sheet and do a one-inch snip. Then using your hands, you tear the sheet or fabric all the way down to the edge. Believe it or not, if the fabric is hearty, then this will give you a good straight end.


Snip and rip off all four corners of the sheet (the goal is to remove the hems on all sides). This will give you a perfect rectangle-sized fabric with frayed edges. I am keeping my edges for another project and will share that soon. You may want to do the same ♡


Next, I folded the sheet to see how many napkins I could get out of one "row". When I folded the longer part into three's, that seemed to give me an 18" napkin size that I liked. You can choose your own measurements. With that being said, I made 2 more snips of equal distance and turned the long side of the sheet into three equally sized long strips.

Next, I measured across the long strips and was able to measure out four complete square napkins from each strip. So, I measured 18 inches, did a snip and then a rip. This gave me one square napkin. I continued this with the rest of the sheet strips until I had a dozen. There was a bit of fabric left at the end of each strip that I have other plans for.

I'm hoping this makes sense! ๐Ÿ˜…


Basically, you are snipping and ripping the sheet into equally sized squares! I now have a pile of 12 squared 18x18" pieces of frayed fabric. 


Next is the fun part! I did this at night while sitting with hubby on the couch. You simply pull away and unravel the threads around the napkin to get a nice evenly frayed edge. Once this is done on all the napkins, wash them and dry them a few more times (to release any excess threads) and repeat the thread-fraying process. Once you've done that they should "hold" and keep the nice edging without constantly needing to de-fray, etc.


And now you are left with a pretty pile of dinner napkins! Obviously you make these to taste. A calico fabric or sheet would make a homespun napkin. A geometric sheet or fabric would make a modern napkin. A large floral print would make a romantic napkin. I call mine "prairie napkins". There is something for everyone!


I purchased my second-hand twin sheet for $2 and was able to get 12 ample sized napkins from it. I would say that is a great deal! You may have sheets lying around in your cupboard and can do this for free. I would only suggest you use sturdy fabric with more natural fibers that absorb (polyester sheets/fabric would NOT be a good choice for that reason). 


For those of you wanting to start a cloth napkin collection and reduce your paper towel purchases then this is a great project to get started on. I have a feeling I will end up with lots of new napkins for each season! I really adore how these turned out! They have such a prairie, cottage, shabby look to them that I love... Do you think these are something you would like to make? Here are three other projects I made with the last of these sheet scraps!

Happily homemaking,
♡ JES



33 comments:

  1. Very pretty! I think I could even do this project. Ha ha! I will search for a pretty sheet or some fabric.

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    1. ๐Ÿ˜‚ yes you can! So fun and easy ♥️

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  2. Your "prairie napkins" are lovely! I would like to try this project, but I must confess, I don't understand how you can wash these without them fraying really badly? Is it possible for you to give more details about what you did to the pieces of fabric to keep them from fraying further? :)

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    1. Honestly I just kept pulling them until there was a nice amount of fray and the second time I washed them they had already calmed down.. There is no trick but trying to get every strand of thread pulled until it seems secure. I am sure there are seamstress terms but I don't know them ๐Ÿ˜‚ I've done something similar with cleaning rags and it worked out... ♥️

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  3. I am so glad I decided to sit down at the computer and check my emails before starting supper! I love this idea. The biggest problem for me is being limited to thrift stores in my area and the few we do have somewhat close rarely have anything to offer. But I'm going to keep looking! One of these days I will come across some linens and an old book so I can start being crafty!

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    1. Yes, I completely understand! Our last home didn't have a thrift store for hours... this closer access is new for me! But keep looking at what you do have, you never know what will turn up. That is what makes it so fun ♥️♥️♥️ Also, look in your linen closet... there may be something like a tablecloth, etc., that you never use that can be repurposed. ♥️

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  4. I'd love to find sheets like yours, but having said that I do have a few vintage cotton sheets (with larger floral prints) that have faded sections so I shall take one of those and make napkins. Clever and pretty idea, Jes, thank you!

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    1. Vintage sheets would be lovely! Even some of your fabric scraps -- using different prints to create an eclectic set would be fun too! ♥️♥️♥️

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  5. I love this idea, Jes, and you found such a pretty sheet, too! I do have a question, though. When you mentioned washing and drying them a few more times, do you mean machine dry or will line drying work? We already use cloth napkins, but mine seem to be mostly fall/winter patterns, and I was wanting some more springtime/floral ones. I may have a sheet that will work in my giveaway bag. Thanks again!

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    1. Thank you! ♥️ I would put them in the dryer to give it a good whirl to try and activate any dangling threads... but if you don't have a dryer, you will probably just have to do the de-threading after a few more washes than just 2... I would use them after two but expect to pick off more threads in the meantime... Hope that makes sense! I love that you may have something in the giveaway bag!

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  6. Another lovely idea. Thanks Jes. I often wondered if there was a way to eventually stop the fraying. I shall be looking out for some suitable fabric from our local thrift shop.
    Blessings Gail.

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    1. Glad you like it! ♥️ Once the initial threads have been removed, it seems to stabilize for some reason (after a few washes as I mentioned above)... Hope you find something pretty! ♥️

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    2. That is my thought too because I did this years ago at the recommendation of a simple living type book and the fraying never stopped. Every time I washed them I had a horrible mess of threads knotted and wrapped around other items in the load. Next I tried running a row of machine stitching around the perimeter about a quarter of an inch in and that didn't even fix the problem. I tried several sets different ways and I finally came to the conclusion that napkins with any longevity had to be hemmed on the sewing machine. Many of my sets of hemmed napkins lasted 15 years so I found it was worth the effort.

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    3. Hi Lana, thanks for sharing your experiences... I have to think that the fabric has everything to do with it.... Mine seemed to simmer down already after 2 washes... So perhaps a test fabric would be wise to see if it would stand the test. I did this with cleaning rags and they held up in the past also.

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  7. These are so pretty! I love the prairie, cottage, shabby look. Thank you for the tutorial Jes! Blessings ~

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    1. You are most welcome Candis. Thank you for visiting ❤️

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  8. I’m so happy to be reading your blog again. You have blessed me in many ways. I was inspired by your handkerchief post years ago and used the fray method for the edges (I really just wanted to get to the more fun embellishments). I’ve been using them for years and they’ve held up nicely. Thank you so much.

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    1. Thank you for sharing! That is so good to hear! Have a beautiful week ♥️

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  9. I absolutely love these! Wondering if I could just cut them with pinking shears, and what would happen if I washed and dried them that way. Anybody know?

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    1. Hmmm... I have no idea... that is an interesting thought. Maybe practice on one piece of fabric and see? And report the results ♥️

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  10. I just love this idea! Thank you so much! There are so many good things on your blog. Very happy to find you! :))

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    1. How kind of you to say! Thank you for much ♥️ I'm glad you found us! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  11. I love your napkins Jes :) The quality of your sheet looks very good. I am yet to see a sheet like that in a thrift store in new Zealand...possibly an old tablecloth. I'm intrigued with the fraying idea...and hope to give it a try one day. Thanks for so many great ideas and all presented so beautifully too !!!

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    1. Good morning Linda, thank you so much for your encouraging words! I do hope you find something pretty and are able to try this method ♥️ In the meantime, happy homemaking friend!

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  12. Your napkins are so very lovely! How cheerful your table will be and I'm sure it'll cheer all you sit there. Thanks for the tutorial!

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    1. Thank you Jennifer! I'll be honest, I am thrilled with them ♥️

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  13. Very pretty! I think I'm going to have to keep on the lookout for a nice piece of cotton :)

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    1. Yes ♥️ I can't wait to make more! I see a nice collection for each season coming our way!

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  14. Such Pretty Fabric๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒฟ~ I am waiting for an order of Floral cotton Fabric to arrive early next week ~I Think I would Like To Try This....๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒธ

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    1. If it's a durable cotton it should work out quite lovely! And it's such a fun little project ♥️

      Happy first day of spring Fiona ♥️

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    2. Thank You Jes ๐Ÿ’› x

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  15. Wow great idea! I am gonna try it too!
    Thank you so much for this marvelous blog!
    God Bless!!

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    1. Wonderful! I hope you enjoy it with good results ♥️♥️♥️

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