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{Tutorial} Painted Leaves Thanksgiving Napkins

{Tutorial} Painted Leaves Thanksgiving Napkins

When I look at all the fancy tables out there, it’s almost always the little details of the design that I marvel over. The hostess that goes just that little extra mile to show her guests how special they are to her are the ones that leave an impression. For my kid’s table, I added a little extra handmade touch with a set of painted napkins that ended up being a fun project for the whole family.


  • 1/2 yard of muslin material
  • Orange (or red and yellow) fabric paint
  • Piece of scrap cardboard (like a cereal box)
  • Leaf template
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Paintbrush

Get Crafty:

18 inches by 18 inches is a pretty standard size for napkins, so 1/2 yard of material should provide two napkins with a bit of material leftover. Using a ruler, measure a 19 inch square, making sure to mark exactly along the woven threads of the fabric; this will be important once the fringe is started.

Once the squares are cut, start unravelling the material on all four sides by 1/2 to 3/4 inches. Just gently pull out a thread or two along the edge at a time until the fringes are at an appealing length. You’ll really notice it after a few pulls if your cut was uneven. If it was, just scissor up the sides to make them perfect. I left mine un-reinforced, but if you like, you could run a seam around the edges of your napkins to prevent any further unraveling.

Print out the leaf template and trace it onto your scrap board. I used a soon-to-be-recycled cereal box.

Cut out the leaf shape with an exacto knife so it will act like a stencil when the paint is applied.

I admit to a bit of laziness and didn’t go to the store to get orange paint, as I had red and yellow on hand. Two parts yellow and one part red and we were on our way to painting some leaves!

Place the template in a pleasing position on your napkin, and while holding it tightly down, dab your napkin with paint until your stencil is filled. My daughter loved this part, as she was able to do it without worrying about getting any paint where it didn’t belong!  If you’re doing two leaves, wait for the first to dry before stenciling on the other.

And you’re ready to set the table! Yes, it was that easy, and it’s such a special detail for the table!

Paula Biggs

Owner at Frog Prince Paperie
Paula Biggs is a party planner, DIY crafter, and owner of Frog Prince Paperie, where you can find hundreds of party, craft and lifestyle ideas.


Friday 22nd of November 2013

It may be too late to do this for Thanksgiving but not for Christmas. These are so cute.

Paula @ frog prince paperie

Saturday 23rd of November 2013

Thank you, Sandra! It's really a quick project, but also a busy week this week before Thanksgiving!

Creative Mind

Sunday 14th of November 2010

This is really smart..i also have a post like this on my blog..