Two of the things I love most are craft, and Christmas, so you can imagine this time of year is a little bit exciting for me. In order to funnel all that excitement into something productive, I’ve been working a rather epic four-part Christmas DIY project, and it’s finally time to share it.
Four Part Christmas Table Setting Make-Along!
Ok, so that’s not exactly a catchy title, but it is an accurate one. Each week for the next four weeks, I’ll be posting a tutorial to make one of the handmade items from the above table setting. If you make along with me, at the end of the four weeks, you will have made Stamped Christmas Napkins, Pompom Holly Place-cards, Homemade Bonbons and a Christmas Village Centre Piece. Such fun! (You will also get to see lots of photos of my chipped nail polish in various colours. This is less fun). I’ve designed it so everything can be made relatively cheaply, and simply (the most complicated thing required is a sewing machine for the napkins), and with materials that most crafters probably already have. It’s also super customisable, so you can choose your own colours and make any little tweaks or embellishments that you might like. I would love you to tell me in the comments if you’re going to join in and make along with me! Let’s get to work on the first project –
DIY Stamped Christmas Napkins
You will need:
- Enough fabric to make the desired number of napkins, and, if desired, a table runner (as well as thread in a colour to match your fabric). I’m doing six of everything, so I bought just under 1.5m of fabric. You could use cotton or a light linen.
- A sewing machine
- A piece of thick craft foam
- Fabric paint, or acrylic paint and fabric paint medium
- Wooden or cork blocks (for stamping)
- Glue, paintbrushes, pencil, cutting knife
First thing’s first: decide on your colour scheme for your entire table setting (including bonbons, holly, etc). As you can see, I’ve gone with not quite traditional Christmas colours – deep pink, teal, and grey for the napkins. A word for those who are mildly afraid of sewing machines – I am rather a novice sewer. I cannot sew anything unless my mother is within earshot so that I can yell to her every time I don’t know what to do. But, these napkins are super easy, so if I can do it, you definitely can too!
Step 1: Measure and cut your fabric for each napkin. Mine are approximately 37cm square, and I also allowed one cm for turnings, meaning that each square I cut out was 38cm to begin with. (I also used my leftover fabric for a table runner).
Step 2: Fold each side of your napkin over approximately half a centimetre, and then half a centimetre again, so that you have a nice, neat edge that won’t fray. I find it helpful to press these edges down with the iron as I go.
Step 3: We’re going to be making napkins with mitred corners. If you’re thinking ‘what on earth are mitred corners?’, never fear. I highly recommend watching this video, as this wonderful lady explains it very clearly and makes it look super easy (which it actually is!) But I’m also going to show you step-by-step.
Firstly, unfold your turnings on the corners of the napkin. If you’ve used the iron to press these down, you should see a nice grid of lines (which I’ve highlights in pink). Essentially, we’re going to snip off the tip of each of the four corners of each napkin, and these lines are a handy guide to show you where to snip (I’ve also marked it with a black line below). Find the tip and snip!
Once you’ve snipped off the corner, fold the new straight edge back on itself by about half a centimetre. Then, refold your turnings (press with the iron again), and you should have a totally adorable little mitred corner!
Step 4: Using your sewing machine, sew down the turning around each napkin, being extra careful when you get to the corners, to keep them nice and sharp. When you’ve finished sewing your pile of napkins, you’re ready for the really fun (and messy) part. Stamping!
Step 5: To make your stamps, take your blocks (or whatever you’re going to make your stamps from), and trace them onto your foam, so you know what size to draw your shapes. Next, decide on your Christmassy shapes. To keep it simple, I decided on doves and Christmas trees, with a few small stars scattered around to break up the regular pattern (I’m not a fan of things being too regular 😉 ). Then, draw your shapes onto the foam, cut them out using a cutting knife, and glue them to your blocks. I’d recommend using a thicker piece of foam (or if you can’t find a thick one, double up two thin pieces), as it will make your stamping a little easier and cleaner.
Step 6: Before you start stamping, it’s a good idea to roughly measure out how many shapes can fit onto your napkin, so that you end up with a nicely spaced pattern (if that’s the look you’re going for!). Simply place the stamp (without paint on it) on the napkin to see how many times it will fit along each side.
I decided to use two colours, but one would look swell too, depending on your colour scheme. I already had paint in the colous I wanted, so to avoid spending more money on fabric paint, I just bought a fabric paint medium that could be mixed with my acrylic paints. If you take this option, just be sure to follow the directions on your fabric paint medium (i.e. mine needed to be heat set with an iron after drying).
Load your stamp up with a thin layer of paint and stamp away. It’s best to try a test patch on a scrap bit of fabric, or even on paper, just to see how things will turn out. Allow it to dry, and voila! You now have your own set of lovely Christmas napkins!
Have you ever made napkins before? They’re so easy and customisable, I now want to make a set of napkins for every occasion. Overkill?
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and let me know if you have any questions. And, be sure to check back this time next week for a tutorial on how to make Pompom Holly Place-cards!