After borrowing from the tree in our front yard for my Painted Twig Vase, I couldn’t resist doing something with our tree’s leaves as well. These leaf stamped napkins were the perfect solution, and are one more way to bring a little nature inside your home this fall!
I know I pretty much always say “this project was so easy” but the fact is – they are! I don’t have time to put into a complicated DIY (hello, my bathroom remodel is going on a year) and I’m pretty sure neither do you. So if you’re looking for a simple way to “fall-itize” your table this season, these leaf stamped napkins are for you.
To start, tap into the little hunter/gatherer inside of you and forage for leaves throughout your yard or neighborhood. Grab a variety of styles and sizes – you never know what you’re going to like best!
Choose a leaf and turn it over so the more veiny side is facing up.
Dot craft paint on each leaf. I wanted to go with brown paint for this project but decided a little sparkle wouldn’t hurt, so I opted for a metallic brown paint.
Brush paint across back of the leaf using a brush. I found a roller doesn’t distribute enough paint, so a brush is your better option.
Turn leaf over and carefully position it on your cloth napkin however you’d like it.
Lay a paper towel over the leaf. This will ensure your rolling pin doesn’t get paint on it which could transfer to other spots on your napkin, making a mess of your project.
Firmly roll over your leaf, transferring the paint to your napkin.
Gently lift leaf from napkin – and you’re done!
I recommend practicing on an old cloth napkin prior to trying this stamping technique on your final napkins. This will allow you to test out a variety of leaves to see how they transfer, as well as get a good idea of how much paint to apply for the look you’re going for.
See! Wasn’t that easy?
I opted to use this leaf stamping technique on napkins, but it would also look beautiful on a runner or tablecloth. It’s the perfect to bring add a little fall to your dining room table this upcoming season.
Like this project? Check out the All Things G&D DIY Gallery to see even more!
I was trying to think of a way to decorate my new dining room table for the fall. I have a centerpiece idea, but this will be perfect for a runner!!!
Love that idea, Kelly!
I think linen or burlap place can be made or bought & this same procedure of leaf stamping can be done & would look nice on a dining or kitchen table.
What happens when you wash it? Any special instructions?
I’ve yet to use/wash these napkins, but I did send my tester napkin through the wash (regular wash and dry cycle) and it came out great! No fading or damage to the painted leaves at all.
I was wondering if the napkins are cotton or a blend and if there is a way to set the paint. Warm water wash?
The napkins are 100% cotton. They’re the cheap, basic dinner napkins you can find at Beth, Bath & Beyond. I didn’t do anything special to set the paint. I just did what I outlined in this tutorial and let them dry completely.
You can set the paint by placing a piece of cloth or brown paper over the painted design & hold the iron for a few seconds. You can also set the design by putting it in the dryer( by itself), for a few minutes. I prefer to use the method using the iron.
Love these Dusty! Gosh darn it, I love fun little napkins! Hope you don’t mind…gonna brag about these on my FB page this weekend. <3 Heidi
You are so sweet. Thank you so much, Heidi!
Very cute! I’d love to do this to a runner — Fall is our favorite time of year in my house! I noticed you used craft paint, and not fabric paint. Any reason why? Will it hold up the same with wear and tear and washing?
The craft paint I used said it worked on fabric so I went for it. It worked great! I can’t speak to wear and tear with this particular project since it’s the first time I’ve painted on fabric (that I can think of) and I don’t think I’ve ever used specific fabric paint. I sent my “tester” napkin through the wash (regular washing and drying cycle) and it came out great! No notice of wear or any issues from the wash.
Beautiful! I love that you didn’t have to buy a stamp to make this work. Pinning!
(clicked over from Centsational Girl)
Thank you so much, Cindy!
I wondering the same thing, but I see that the blogger isn’t answering. I researched this to death and yes, the craft paint will wash out of the napkins. You will have to use a paint made for fabrics.
Thanks for your feedback, Jackie. I can’t speak to long term wear (yet) but the craft paint has help up well through one wash and dry cycle. It even still has it’s little glitter and shimmer still on which I was happy to see. I’m sure fabric paint would also be a great option, although I have not worked with that.
If you use fabric paint, they say you can heat set it with an iron. After the project is dry, they say to put a scrap piece of fabric down, on the ironing board and put your project face down. On medium or cotton setting- iron back and forth for about 3 minutes. Leave at lest 48 hours before washing it.
Thank you for the info, Tammy! I haven’t used fabric paint so I can’t speak to how well it would work on this project, but would love to hear feedback if anyone give it a try.
I’ve been trying to decide upon exactly what I want to use to “personalize” napkins and aprons and dish towels, as well as just plain fabric I will attach to the binders of my favorite recipes…I know that I am going to do some with recipes and quotations, but your DIY project here has captured my imagination in the space of time it took to read it! We are selling our city warehouse to move to the country, (I have health issues and city life does NOT agree with me; over 12 years is enough!) and I’ve been toying with different ideas for a housewarming party weekend/ housewarming slumber party event. This project will be PERFECT for gifts for people who attend! I love to garden, my thumb is quite green, and all of our friends know how important green growing things are to, so using the leaves from the different trees and plants from the property we end up getting (as well as the plants I will be bringing with me from inside and out!) will be a very personal keepsake to give. My hands are already itching to make these! I’m thinking I will try the fabric paints for this…when I do, if you would like to see the results, I will happily give you feedback if you are still interested.
Thank you for sharing this project. I’ve seen many different ways to personalize fabrics, but your DIY instructions are very clearly written and the photos are instructional as well, so it is going to be the starting point for when I finally begin these projects. Thank you so so SO much!
Such a super thrifty idea yet the result looks stylish and expensive plus I’m so into anything autumnal right now Thank you for sharing x
What a great idea!! Thank you for sharing! http://www.lovesthefind.com/
Thank you so much!
I see that this was posted several years ago, so I don’t know that this will be seen. I bought several large paint drop cloths, in the hopes of making curtains, but went in a different direction. So, after seeing this, I think I’ll try making napkins, tablecloths, runners and placemats instead, using your paint idea. The drop cloths are a oat colored canvas and are machine washable. I washed them twice and the fabric softens more each time. I washed and dried them on a fairly high heat to guarantee maximum shrinking before I use them. The color is so neutral that I will be able to decorate them in a variety of colors based on which season or holiday I’m designing for. There are so many things I can use as templates, cookie cutters, leaves, actual stamps etc. The drop cloths are very inexpensive considering the amount of fabric and very sturdy. I got mine at Home Depot in the paint department.
Sounds like a great plan, Teresa! Enjoy your fun new projects!
I Love this project! I can’t wait to do it. I have a pair of solid pumpkin color napkins in mind to use with a pearly metallic white acrylic paint. I saw that there were a lot of comments about acrylic vs fabric paint and wondered myself- knowing that I’d always used acrylic paint on fabrics in the past. But- did look online just to check about the sustainability of the paint on clothing you will wash a lot. Apparently you can make any acrylic a bit more durable if you do have a color of acrylic in mind that you’d like to use but want to make sure it really lasts. A quick google search said- “You can definitely put your existing supply acrylic artist paints to good use on fabrics. … After all, fabric paint is just a special blend of acrylic paint. All you need to do is turn that existing stash of acrylics into fabric paint with little bit of Liquitex Fabric Medium or GAC 900 fabric medium”. I also personally have clothing with acrylic paint spots that won’t come out, as a good indicator, haha.
Just made two sets of these in about an hour. I used regular metallic acrylic paint. The napkins will probably be stained before the acrylic paint wears off, so I’m not too concerned about longevity. They turned out great, thanks so much for the idea and directions!
Great job, Carole! I hope you’re loving your new leaf stamped napkins!