No Sew Napkins

This was one of those delightfully surprising projects… the kind that comes out of a late afternoon random idea, involves digging through what I already have, experimenting with my 4 year old, and voila. Just what I wanted for free. Don’t you just love that?

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of drop cloth. My smocked living room curtains, my roman shade in my son’s room, and tons of throw pillows are all made of drop cloth. And these no sew napkins have me singing its praises again!

Simple, natural, and beautiful!  No sew drop cloth napkins are SO easy! via #diy #nosew

I love drop cloth’s slightly nubby texture, soft cool color, and price.  I have been craving simplicity lately (you moms of older children can tell me… is it something about the madness of the start of school that has been whirling around me at hurricane forces these last few weeks?), and natural, neutral elements.

Simple, natural, and beautiful!  No sew drop cloth napkins are SO easy! via #diy #nosew

My first expression of that was my neutral fall decor idea I shared last week, which only inspired me to seek more. So when setting my table the other day, it struck me that washed and dried drop cloth would look lovely with my white plates and woven placemats.

Simple, natural, and beautiful!  No sew drop cloth napkins are SO easy! via #diy #nosew

And I’m so pleased to say that they were a breeze to make… and fun, too! Here’s how:

  1. Begin with pre-washed and dried drop cloth, and remove all hems (drop cloths come pre-hemmed) if you have any.
  2. To “cut” drop cloth, use scissors to snip a small section (~1″) and then tear the rest of the way (be sure to make your squares ~1″ larger than the actual desired size of your napkin).
  3. Remove long strings from the edge of the ripped cloth until your desired amount of fringe is showing.
  4. Trim fringe, if necessary, to make it even.
  5. Use just a dot of fray check on each corner of the napkin and rub it in with your finger.

Simple, natural, and beautiful!  No sew drop cloth napkins are SO easy! via #diy #nosew

The dot of fray check should keep the napkins from unraveling any further, but by putting it only on each corner, it keeps your napkin from becoming stiff. I love how they turned out.

Simple, natural, and beautiful!  No sew drop cloth napkins are SO easy! via #diy #nosew

And I’m pleased to say that I had just enough drop cloth scraps in the same color (not all drop cloths match, sadly) to make exactly 10. That’s a hoarder DIYer for the win!

Simple, natural, and beautiful!  No sew drop cloth napkins are SO easy! via #diy #nosew

What do you think?

Simple, natural, and beautiful!  No sew drop cloth napkins are SO easy! via #diy #nosew

In what other creative ways have you used drop cloth?


diy smocked drop cloth curtains

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  1. On my to-do list is to make new cloth napkins…this is perfect and it is a bonus I do not have to dig out the sewing machine!

  2. I can’t wait to make these for my sister-in-law’s wedding shower! Did you use a canvas dropcloth? Canvas is all I have found at Menards and Home Depot, but it seems too rough. Does it soften after you wash it?

    1. That’s wonderful, Sarah! Yes, I did use regular canvas drop cloth, and it gets significantly softer when you wash it. I hope this helps!

  3. Hi,
    wow these are beautiful,
    How did the no hem hold up with washing?
    and do you know if these can be dyed?


    1. Hi Tonia,
      I’m so glad you like them! Washing them did create a few more strings, but I simply trimmed off the ones that were too messy. They are so wonderfully casual and imperfect to begin with that I liked them just as well after the wash. Unfortunately, I’ve never tried to dye drop cloth, but I think others have done so with success. Good luck!

  4. Rachel, They look so fresh and organic! Thank you. But do please specify the other materials for novices like me. Can hardly wait for your reply.

  5. I pinned this a couple weeks ago to make my own napkins for Thanksgiving, but I don’t have any drop cloth laying around, so it ends up being cheaper for me to just order already made napkins. Boo. But I’m still using your idea of the twine and lavender. So pretty!

    1. You’re so sweet, Melissa! It is funny how often these days it’s cheaper just to buy stuff… I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving!

  6. These are so pretty on your white plates, which is what I have! Yay! Next trip to Menards that my husband makes a drop cloth will be on his list!
    In an effort to prevent additional threads from fraying, and as I love to sew, I think I’ll machine stitch a border just inside the frayed edges. I’ve done this on my bread cloths that I’ve done and they hold up great. Easy peasy.
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. I need to make 150 for a wedding – have you ever used muslin? I am trying to figure out the cheapest easiest way where i can rip without a lot of cutting. Or, do you think this fabric is the easiest to rip? Thanks!

    1. I have ripped muslin before (when I made some ruffled curtains), but the only concern with that is that muslin doesn’t always rip very straight. If it’s a looser weave, it can be hard to get straight lines. But if I were you, I might get a half yard of the muslin and try it. Muslin is thinner than drop cloth for sure, but for just a one-time use, it might be both cheaper and easier!

  8. The drop cloths at Home depot come in different weight fabric. 8oz and 10oz. Do you know which would be better or softer? Was going to make these for an outdoor wedding.
    Thank you!

    1. I’m afraid I don’t remember what I used… sorry! The 10 oz will be thicker, though, so I would bet that the 8 oz would be softer… but the 10 oz may feel more substantial. You might try both and decide or think about whether softer or substantial sounds more appealing. I hope this helps!

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