Do It Yourself Project: Stamp Printed Linen Napkins

DIY Week

I’m not going to lie: I love, love, love this idea as usable favors, particularly for a bridal shower brunch. They’re easier to make than they look, so mass producing them if necessary isn’t terribly hard. I formatted mine to be 14×14″ but the general method for making a more rectangular napkin is exactly the same.

You’ll notice that my shots above don’t have the stamp on them. Well, that’s because I made the poor choice of doing a subtle silver fabric paint on my warm gray napkins – it looks beautiful in person, but it doesn’t shoot well. Rather than have a photo of a napkin that looks stained, I just shot the plain one I made as a back up. Lesson here? Test your fabric ink out on a scrap piece of linen before using it on your finished linens. You may not always get the result you’re looking for.

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What You’ll Need

Linen Yardage
Fabric Pencil
Sewing Pins
Sewing Machine (Preferable; Needle and Thread if Hand Stitching)
Stamp or Hand-Cut Mounted Linoleum Block
Fabric Paint (Not the Puffing Kind)
Small Craft Paint Brush (Optional)

Pre-shrink your fabric by washing and drying it according to the care directions listed on the bolt you purchased it from. If the directions are unavailable, I recommend you wash it on warm. Do not wash anything else while preshrinking your fabric and, if available, use the delicate setting. When dry, iron out your fabric yardage. You may need to realign the fibers if the fabric is distorted – do this by pulling the fabric out in the direction it needs to go to have the edges sit at 90 degrees again.


Cut the linen into 14.5″ x 14.5″ squares. If necessary, press the fabric again. Measure ¼”, ½” and ¾” in from each edge and draw lines across the linen with a fabric pencil. The fabric should look like the diagram above. Starting with the closest side to you, fold the edge of the linen so it folds at the ¼” mark and reaches the ½” mark. Iron the fold so it stays crisply in place. Fold the linen over again so it now reaches the ¾” mark and the open edge is now concealed. Iron the fold again, and pin with sewing pins to hold the fold in place. Repeat this process on the opposite edge only.

When the two opposite edges are pinned, prepare your sewing machine for use. Sew near but not too close to the inner fold in a straight line, removing sewing pins before your needle gets too close to them. Remember to backtrack your stitches at the beginning and end of the stitch line to secure them in place. Repeat with the opposite side.

Fold the unsewn edges to the the ½” mark and iron it down. Fold down all four edges of the linen so the fold forms a triangle that is the same size as the stitched fold. Iron each triangle fold down to keep it in place, then fold the remaining unfinished edges to the ¾” mark so the result looks like the photo above. Iron and pin the fold, then bring it to the sewing machine to sew it as you had the earlier folds. When you’ve finished, press the completed linen napkin so the surface is flat.

Use a brayer to roll out fabric paint over a stamp or a self-cut linoleum block (if you’d prefer something custom designed). For the best results, use stamps or designs with more of a silhouette style – line details are harder to print clearly. The ink should be coated evenly so the inked surface is flat but consistently covered. After positioning the stamp over where you want it, place the stamp on the linen surface and apply pressure directly down onto it to avoid smudging the image impression. Lift slowly and carefully, helping the fabric and the stamp separate if needed. It’s helpful to keep a craft paint brush around in case any of the stamps do not print consistently – ou can fill in the unevenly printed areas by hand with it so you don’t waste the napkin. Lay the linen flat to dry. Depending on the fabric paint, you may be required to seal the paint with another round of ironing – see the label of your paint for further instructions.

When you are ready to clean the stamp, use soap and water.

Images by Maddy Hague.

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  • Kristin

    Can you tell me where you got your linen fabric? I’m looking for a medium warm grey to make some runners for my wedding, but am having a hard time – most of the greys are too cool!

    Thank you!

  • Maddy

    It was from Joann Fabric :)