Introduction: Pretty Thrifty Cotton Napkins With Muslin

About: Hi! My name is Andrea, and I live in Ontario Canada. I am a grandma, and a passionate DIYer whose imagination only stops when I’m sleeping. Too, I have a lifetime of creativity spilling out of me. And if I do…

If you need inexpensive cotton napkins for everyday, or in bulk, use muslin. And most any type will work. But in this project, we will use the unbleached kind.

In general, what you want in a cloth napkin is absorbency. And because muslin is 100% cotton, it is acceptable for use as napkins. That said, let's get past the "acceptable" part.

Because now, we are going to make cotton muslin napkins that are pretty, easy, and gorgeous.


Muslin or other absorbent fabric consistent with the napkin sizes you want to make. For reference, I used 20 X 20-inch squares before shrinkage.

A pair of scissors

A straight edge or ruler

A washable marker

Note To avoid shrunken napkins, pre-wash your fabrics before starting projects. Or you will need to factor in shrinkage before cutting them.

Step 1: Cut Muslin Cotton Napkins in Desired Shapes

Cut the cotton muslin in the shapes and sizes you chose. I cut 20 x 20-inches squares.

Note Standard napkins come in varied sized squares; between 14 and 24-inches. But if your fabric doesn’t allow for squares, don't be afraid to use what you have.

Step 2: Fold Fabric

First, fold the material in half, next, into quarters, and choose a fringe length you want.

Step 3: Measure and Mark Cutting Guidelines

Measure and draw a line in from the raw edges of the folded fabric. Or fold over and iron the edges at the fringe length you've chosen, and use the folds as a guide.

It’s the method I used and if you mark lightly, a pencil can work too. Marks will disappear after washing.

Step 4: Notch Corners and Slash Edges

Notch the fabric at the corners of the folded napkins through all 4 layers, to the marked lines or creases.

(b) Cut ¼ inch strips to the guidelines through all layers. Your cuts don’t need to be precise; washing will create a consistent edge.

Step 5: Make Fluffy Fringe in the Laundry

At this point, you can use your napkins as they are. But I guarantee you will like them better after they've tumbled through the washer and dryer.

Delightful and fluffy edges will emerge, and the cotton will ravel and curl a little more each time it goes through the wash.

There; you have it, pretty, easy, and gorgeous napkins fit for any occasion.

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your time.

For more cotton muslin napkin ideas, visit