top of page

Entertain in style! DIY shibori napkins

It's no secret that I love a bit of diy, and I love shibori (or tie-dye as some may better know it as). I've had these shibori napkins on my to-do list for a little while now so it's about time I got down to it!

This is such a simple little diy but will add so much interest and style to your dining table when you entertain, and best of all, they'll be perfectly unique!

For these napkins, I've experimented a little more with different patterns than I have previously (see my blog post on diy tie-dye couch covers). There are so many different possible designs and it all depends on how you fold, scrunch and tie your fabric. You might like to do a little research before you settle on a design that you like. I've include 3 different design options below.

Just one or two things before you start... For the napkins, I pre-purchased mine but you could make these yourself. I chose navy blue dye as I hope to diy some tan colour leather napkin rings and I think the navy will look nice with the tan leather (but more about those in another blog post!)


6 x white cotton napkins

Rubber bands in different sizes

2 x milk bottle lids

Bulldog clips

Paddle pop sticks


Fabric Dye


Rubber Gloves



Remove any tags from the napkins and rinse in water – the fabric will be easier to fold and work with if it is damp.


Fold and tie your napkins using a design of your choice or a design from the following:

DESIGN A: Fold the napkin into a rectangle shape and clamp along the long sides with bulldog clips.

DESIGN B: Fold the napkin into a large rectangle shape and clamp between two paddle pop sticks, fastened at either end with rubber bands. Space paddle pop stick clamps evenly across folded fabric. You will get a good result if the paddle pop sticks are clamped tight around your fabric. You made need to use two paddle pop sticks in each place on either side to tighten the clamp. I also clamped a chopstick on either side to tighten the paddle pop sticks to the fabric.

DESIGN C: Fold the napkin into a small square a little bigger than the milk bottle lid. Clamp the fabric between the two bottle lids, flat-side to the fabric and fasten with rubber bands.


Prepare your fabric dye.

Mix your dye according to the instructions on the packet. Some dyes can be used in a washing machine, but I prefer to prepare my dye in a bucket in the laundry sink as I feel like I have more control this way. Make sure you wear rubber gloves if you don't want your hands to match you napkins! When working with cotton it is good to add salt for colour fasteness. I added about half a cup to an 8L bucket.


Dye your napkins!

Add your napkins to the dye bath, making sure your fabric is soaked in the dye leave for 20 to 30 minutes or until the desired colour is achieved.


Remove napkins from the dye bath (with gloves on!) and give them a good rinse in warm then gradually cooler water before removing rubber bands and other resist equipment. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear, then hang to dry.


Why not do this project with a friend or two? I usually work on my diy projects on my own, but this time I did it with a friend and it was so much fun! It was great for sharing ideas and getting inspiration from each other. My friend Liz dyed some muslin wraps for their little one due so soon!... and some calico bags.

Welcome to the Pretty Palm Tree blog, my space for sharing design, lettering, art, styling, home decor and diy, food and more! MORE ABOUT ME >

  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Pinterest - Black Circle


Stay up to date by joining our mailing list

bottom of page