We don't always use formal dinner napkins when guests come over, but I do love to have some on hand for times when we're feeling fancy. I've fallen in love with the concept of hand dyed/hand painted of fabric lately (especially from here!). Mix that in with a strong desire for happy, springy colors and you get these galaxy inspired, hand painted napkins.
These beauties pair nicely with a crisp, modern table scape, and are so subtle and pretty in real life! I had some linen left over from a project, and wanted to make at least six of these, so I made them in a smaller, cocktail-ish size, but the same technique I used can be applied to a larger cotton napkin as well.
Want to make a few of your own? Find all of the details after the jump...
Here's what you need:
-1 yard of cotton or linen fabric (washed and dried)
-Small spray bottle
-Cardboard or dropcloth
1. Cut your fabric. Decide how big you want your napkins to be. Just be sure to cut them an inch bigger than you would like the final napkins to be to allow for a 1/2" seam allowance.
2. Prepare your paint.* Open your spray bottle and add two parts paint, one part fabric medium, and a little bit of water (enough to make the paint spray easily out of bottle in an even spray. Test it out and add more if needed). Shake well.
3. Spray on first layer of paint. Lay down a large piece of cardboard or a drop cloth and arrange your napkins on the surface. Spray a light layer of paint in desired pattern. I sprayed white first, but didn't feel it was distinct enough as it dried. I waited a half hour and then added a layer of light gold. I followed that by a layer of pink and then a bit more white.
4. Allow paint to dry completely. This isn't an exact science. Most will tell you 24 hours, but mine were dry in in about six hours thanks to the water-thinned paint and light layers.
5. Set paint with an iron. Turn iron on medium/high, depending on fabric and run it over each section of paint, holding for a few seconds. Do NOT use the steam feature! I placed a kitchen towel below and on top of my napkins while ironing to be sure no paint would transfer anywhere I didn't want it to. Wait at least 72 hours before washing.
6. Finish napkin edges. Fold the edges of two opposite sides down a 1/4" and press. Fold over again and press. Pin into place and stitch a straight line with a sewing machine. Repeat with the other two sides and remaining napkins.
-Finishing the edges of the napkins is more easily done before painting than after!
-the paint made the linen a bit stiff. especially in places that had a few layers. This may get better over time, but if I made these again I would use a soft cotton instead. Plain, store bought napkins would do nicely too!