Make Customized Napkin Rings

  • 01 of 09

    Make Handmade Napkin Rings In Your Oven

    DIY Ikat Napkin Rings. Home Made Modern

    Remember Shrinky Dinks?  This childhood toy has a sophisticated side when used to make these beautiful napkin rings that will dress up your dinner table for any occasion.  Your guests won't believe you made these yourself!  Read on for the simple step-by-step instructions and some tips for best results.

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  • 02 of 09

    Step 1: Gather Materials and Locate Images

    Print and Cut Out Shapes. Home Made Modern

    Before you begin, gather the following materials (sources for materials can be found on Home Made Modern)

    • 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of ink-jet compatible shrink plastic 
    • Computer
    • Ink jet color printer
    • Oven
    • Scissors
    • Hole Punch
    • Gold paint pen with a medium tip (optional)
    • Gold paint
    • Small paintbrush
    • Clear acrylic sealer (optional)
    • Suede cording
    • Small bottle with straight sides (like a spice bottle)

    First, you'll need to locate an image to print out on the shrink plastic.  For butterflies, birds, and insects--which would be perfect for a garden party or spring or summer event--try searching The Graphics Fairy for free images.  For pretty patterned napkin rings, such as the ikat ones shown on the previous slide, purchase digital paper from Etsy.  You can find digital papers in any pattern and download them to your computer for less than $3.  ​

    Tip: Look for images and patterns that are fairly simple and not too dark. This is because details are lost and colors darken when the plastic is baked.  For instance, navy would appear black after the plastic has shrunk.  Also, consider the size you want your finished product to be and make sure the images you download are large enough, as they will shrink by about 50 percent in the oven.

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  • 03 of 09

    Step 2: Cut Out and Create Holes in Your Shapes

    Punch Holes for String. Home Made Modern

    Next, simply cut out your shapes.  If you are making something like this butterfly, you will then need to use a hole punch to make holes on opposite sides of your image. If, however, you are making a shaped napkin ring, you can skip the hole punching, but make sure to read slide 8 for tips on sizing.

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  • 04 of 09

    Step 3: Bake Your Shapes

    Oven Panel. Tetra Images / Getty

    Now it's time to bake your shapes.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put it in the oven so that it heats up as well.  When your oven is ready, place one of your shapes on top of the parchment-lined baking sheet, close the oven door, turn on the oven light, and watch the magic!  Your shape is finished when it has curled, then completely flattened out.

    Tip: Every oven is a little different, so it may be a good idea for you to test a piece of shrink plastic to see how it reacts at 350 degrees.  If your test piece doesn't flatten out, you may need to increase your oven temperature.  Although the instructions on my package of shrink plastic said to decrease the temperature for larger images, I achieved better results when the plastic heated up quickly, which is why I instruct you to start them off on a hot pan. Also, it may be tempting to bake all of your shapes at once, but I would recommend doing one at a time.  This is especially true for the shaped napkin rings (see slide 8), which need to be shaped quickly before they cool off and harden.  

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  • 05 of 09

    Step 4: Paint the Edges and Back of the Shapes

    Paint Backs of Baked Images. Home Made Modern

    Once your shapes have cooled--which happens rather quickly--it's time to give them a finished look by painting the edges and backs with gold paint.  I used a gold paint pen for the edges for maximum control (I don't have the steadiest hands).  But if you feel confident, you can skip the paint pen, and just use a small brush and a pot of gold leaf paint to do the backs and edges.  When the paint is dry, you can spray the whole thing with clear acrylic sealer, but this step is optional.

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  • 06 of 09

    Step 5: Attach Suede Cord to the Shape

    Knot the Suede Cording. Home Made Modern

    Once the paint has dried, cut about 6 inches of suede cording and thread each end through the holes you punched before baking.  Tie small knots in each end. 

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  • 07 of 09

    Step 6: Adjust Cord

    Finished Napkin Ring. Home Made Modern

    Pull the cord so that the knots are taut against the back of the plastic, and adjust the cord so that it wraps around to the back evenly.  Try your finished napkin ring on a rolled cloth napkin to see how it fits, and if necessary, retie the knots to take up any slack, then cut off the excess from each end.

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  • 08 of 09

    Alternative Method: Shape The Napkin Rings

    Forming the Napkin Ring. Home Made Modern

    To create a shaped napkin ring, you first need to determine how big around and how wide you want your finished product to be and multiply those figures by 2.  

    Tip: I used a spice bottle that had roughly the same circumference as a napkin ring, and measured its diameter.  I used this figure to determine its circumference and multiplied that number by 2 (because the plastic shrinks by about 50 percent.)  For instance:

    (Diameter x 3.14) x 2 = pre-baked length of your shape

    Desired width x 2 = pre-baked width of your shape

    Cut a rectangle with these dimensions out of shrink plastic that has been printed with a pattern, then bake it.

    Immediately upon removing the shape from the oven, shape it around the spice bottle before it cools so that when it hardens, it will be a perfectly curved cuff.

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  • 09 of 09

    Set Your Table

    Spring Table with DIY Butterfly Napkin Rings. Home Made Modern

    Visit Home Made Modern for pretty pictures of how beautiful these napkin rings look on a spring table.  They add the perfect finishing touch to a table set with simple white plates, woven plate chargers, and cloth napkins.