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How To Paint Your Very Own Christmas Napkins

Over the past few weeks, we have talked about how creating your own gifts can save you a little money this Christmas and how to paint onto fabric using DecoArt products. This is a fantastic project for anyone starting out with fabric painting as it is very forgiving and there is little skill involved. You will quickly realise that painting onto fabric is completely different to painting onto a smoother surface like card or wood, but it creates a beautiful almost worn look.  
For this project, you will need: 
- A set of plain napkins
DecoArt Fabric medium 
DecoArt Americana Acrylic paints you may want.
- Fabric chalk/crayon
- Cardboard template 
- Scrap cardboard 
 
When choosing our napkins, we opted for plain cotton ones. We felt this was the best option as any pattern however subtle would detract from the pattern we were going to add. We opted for cotton as they were less textured than their linen counterparts. 
Preparations:
Before you add anything to your napkins, you will need to wash them using washing powder. Make sure that your powder contains no softeners as this would prevent the paint from adhering properly to the fabric. Once dry, iron each one ready to begin decorating.
 
Start by creating your template. As we wanted a specific size of heart, we created our own out of scrap cardboard.   
 
10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting
Using the fabric chalk, draw your template where you want to paint them. We chose to paint one heart in the corner of each napkin.  
Mix your paints:
Squeeze out your paint onto your palette and add DecoArt Fabric medium to each colour (2 parts paint to one part medium). Adding this medium will not affect the colour of the paint but will make the paints softer so they move with the fabric instead of peeling and cracking. It is also what makes them permanent and washable. 
 
10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting
 
Before you begin adding the paint, slip a piece of scrap cardboard under the layer you are going to paint on to prevent the paint soaking through to the layers or table underneath. Using the dotting tool, add your dot roses around the heart as we teach you in the Round Brush Starter kit
 
10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting
 
Still using the dotting tool, add dots to fill the space between the roses. We used DecoArt Hauser Dark Green but you could use any dark green you wish. 
 
Close up of red cotton napkin containing half of a painted heart made up of dots of green, leaves and roses
Once this is dry to the touch, using a lighter green (we used Hauser Light Green) and our No. 3 Round Brush, start adding 'leaves' to your heart around (and sometimes over) the dots you've just created to fill out your wreath shape.  Remember to leave a few gaps for the next layer of colour too. There is no technique to this, we just used the tip of the brush to dab on small leaf shapes.  You may find you wish to go over a few of the leaves as they do dry darker. 
10 steps to beautiful handpainted napkins. If you want to add a personal touch to your dinner table, click through to find out how simple it is to create your own with You Can Folk It. #handmade #tutorial #howto #painting
 
(Optional) Using your round brush and DecoArt Warm White from the Starter kit, as you did with the Light Green, add 'leaves' of white to create a snowy effect.  This is down to personal preference as you may find you would prefer to stick with different shades of green to fill out your heart.  
  
Close up of red cotton napkin containing a painted heart made up of dots of green, leaves in green and white and roses
Once you are happy with your first napkin, remove the cardboard and lay to one side in a safe place to dry. Next, repeat all the above process to complete the design on each napkin you need. The great thing about this project is that no two napkins will be exactly the same so if you do things a little differently on napkin 2/3/4, it doesn't matter, each wreath will be lovely in its own way. 
 
When all of your napkins are complete, leave them to dry for 24-48 hours to allow the paint to fully bond with the fabric. After this time, heat set them for 30 seconds. We have seen this done with a heat gun but we prefer to lay a thin tea towel over our napkins and heat set the design with an iron for 30 seconds.  
 
Red cotton napkins, folded. Handpainted with a heart made of leaves and dot roses. The napkins are sat in front of a light box containing the words Folk It
Why not tie up your napkins with a co-ordinating ribbon to give them as a gift this Christmas? 
If you have a go at creating your own painted napkins, tag us in your posts, we would love to share them! 

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