Spring Dyed Lunchbox Napkins DIY

May 12, 2014  |  Crafts + DIY
Spring Dyed Lunchbox Napkin DIY |

I had some very well used cotton dinner napkins that had wiped many faces, at many meals. They looked, lets say, tired. But they were that wonderful well washed, good quality cotton that just seems to get better with use. I hated the thought of getting rid of them so I turned them into fun spring colored dyed lunchbox napkins.

These napkins are super easy to make and require no sewing.


Cloth dinner napkins in a natural fiber like cotton or linen
Fabric Dye
Something to protect the surface area from the dye
Containers/bowls to mix the dye in (one for each dye color)
Skewers, popsicle sticks or something else to stir the dye with (one for each dye color)
Plastic bags (one for each dye color)


Spring Dyed Lunchbox Napkin DIY |

1. Pre-wash your napkins if they are new. I used 2 dinner napkins that where 16 x 16 inches.
2. Fold the napkin in half and clip with scissors at the fold, marking the center.
3. Holding on to each side of the clipped center mark, tear the napkin in half, down the center.
4. Taking one half, fold lengthwise in half again, clip with scissors and tear in half again. Repeat with the other half.
5. You should now have four relatively equal squares with two torn edges and two hemmed edges each.
6. Clip just inside the hem with scissors and tear off hemmed edge. Repeat on second hemmed side. Do this for the remaining 3 squares.
7. You should now have four squares, each with 4 torn edges.

Spring Dyed Lunchbox Napkin DIY |

Following the manufacturers directions, prepare the fabric dyes. I used violet, lime, teal and orange from a tie dye kit I bought in the craft department. I added 2 cups of water to each packet of powdered dye that came in the kit. Each type/brand of dye will have its own instructions.

Spring Dyed Lunchbox Napkin DIY |

Then I added the napkins to the dye. I used 2 dinner napkins, torn into 4 lunchbox napkins each, giving me 8 in total. That meant 2 lunchbox napkins per color.

Spring Dyed Lunchbox Napkin DIY |

I used a separate skewer for each color to submerge the napkins in the dye.

Spring Dyed Lunchbox Napkin DIY |

Again, you will need to follow the directions of the dye manufacturer but I left the napkins in the dye for about 10 minutes. I used the skewers to stir the napkins around, making sure the dye reached in all the folds.

Spring Dyed Lunchbox Napkin DIY |

After about 10 minutes, I used the skewer to lift out the napkins and place them in a plastic bag. A separate bag for each color.

Spring Dyed Lunchbox Napkin DIY |

I tied off the bags and let the napkins sit for 6 hours. Then I rinsed the napkins under cold running water until no more dye ran off, being careful not to let the wet napkins touch the other colours. I then washed each colour separately in the sink with hot water and a bit of dish soap. Rinsed and hung to dry.

Spring Dyed Lunchbox Napkin DIY |

The lunchbox napkins fold up to just the right size to pop in my daughters lunchbox. They are also the perfect size for little hands to use at the table.

Spring Dyed Lunchbox Napkin DIY |

Spring Dyed Lunchbox Napkin DIY | 

I just love the way the colours turned out. A sand washed look that goes perfectly with the frayed edge.

There will be clean faces all around:)



  1. Hi Debbie,
    That’s such a good idea and lovely and bright for the kids just how they like it. My little boy’s school has a zero waste policy and sometimes he needs to have something to wipe his hands on so something like this would be perfect. Mel (byw)

    • Thanks Mel. My daughter was pretty excited when we made them. Choosing the colour to pack in her lunch has been fun for her. Anything to make packing lunches more fun, right:)

  2. Those are beautiful! I love that you were able to breathe new life into your old napkins.

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