Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Homemade Cloth Napkins - the Easy Way

I've slowly been trying to reduce the use of paper products in our home. With children, our consumption of paper products was getting out of hand. They could use half a roll of paper towels to mop up a small spill. I want to encourage them to clean, but the waste was atrocious.

One of the best things I did was to take the paper towels out of the kitchen and put them in a more inconvenient spot. Under the kitchen sink I placed a pile of rags. Now a rag is the handiest available cloth for us all to use for a quick clean up.

I also placed a dish pan for dirty cloths under the sink since my laundry area is in the basement and not quickly assessable. Our paper towel use dropped to almost nothing.

Next I wanted to replace the paper napkins. I was planning to make a cute set of fabric napkins and I was bookmarking directions for cloth napkins all over the web. And, of course, I planned to blog about the adorable napkins I made myself!

But it just wasn't happening. The project never was getting to the top of the list and I didn't think it would hit priority any time soon.

This summer I had replaced my dish towels. The old ones were getting thin at spots but still had a lot of life. One afternoon I sat down with my scissors and cut several of the towels into fourths and zig-zagged the raw edges. It only took a few minutes and we now had a whole stack of child sized cloth napkins.

I keep them stacked in a basket next to the table. They have been easy to launder and dry and the children can easily fold them.

Nothing fancy and some day I still hope to make those cute napkins with mitered corners, but until then, this works for us!


  1. I came upon your blog this morning and I must say, what a blessing!! I grew up among the mennonites and truly miss many of them.

    I really like your post on the homemade napkins. I am going to make these today with my children.

    Many blessings to you and your family. From your newest reader.

  2. I love this! Sometimes it's crazy how I will be thinking of doing something and you have just posted about it. Wonderful! I have also been bookmarking pretty cloth napkins, but I'm a sucker for quick and easy. Thanks once again!

  3. Gina I am fortunate to own an overcast serger. So i can do fancy rolled hemmed ones. When my children were younger I use to take their old flannel blankets or leftover fabric of flannel from when I made the PJ's and sergers around them. WE used them as napkins and now as cleaning clothes. I have a few containers around the house for them and in Dearest workshop.


  4. Wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing. I may try this myself. I think the grandsons would love them.


  5. now that's clever! We use cloth napkins, but a tea-towel napkin for the kids would be better because it would absorb more spills. We seem to have spills at every meal, as I'm sure you know.

    We also use cloth napkin rings to reduce the laundry a bit (blogged here

  6. Love this idea! I love to make things out of other things, and these are great.

    I also saw this easy "rip and tear" for cloth napkins over at Wee Folk Art, you might enjoy it! :)

  7. We weaned ourself off paper towels and paper napkins last year! Since we married 13 years ago, I've acquired several sets of cloth napkins that WE NEVER USED! So finally we use them! You would be surprised how easy it is to incorporate cloth into your family. Also, I have terry cloth that I cut and zigzagged the edges and use that for paper towels. It's amazing how easy, reusuable, and great it is to have them.

  8. Thank you, Gina for the wonderful idea. I, too have been bookmarking internet instruction sites and even etsy sites to purchase cloth napkins and slow down on the use of paper around the house. It's funny, becuase I have a whole new set of kitchen towels that I have not put out to use because although they are getting worn my old towels also have lots of life in them. :D Now I know what they are going to become. What a great idea!

  9. Great idea! I wish I had seen this sooner, I recently donated loads of old dish cloths to my husband for his garage! I could have put them to far better use. At least I will know for next time :)

  10. Great idea! I'm going to use this with my 4 boys! I make cloth napkins from fabric, but never thought about doing this with the dish towel, pure genius :-) Thank you! Love your blog!!

  11. You know I have an old terry cloth housecoat someone gave my daughter because the color was messed up on it. It is very thick and we were going to use it for the dog to lay on but I think I am going to make us some napkins from it to. GOOD idea! Now see what you started. hee hee nah just joking with ya but this old house coat would make some GOOD napkins and I like you have tried to figure out HOW to stop having to buy sooooo many paper products because by the time you buy non food items you have spent a good 50.00 or more.
    Thanx for sharing!


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