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I do my best to avoid using disposable products, which is sometimes easy and sometimes complicated. One of the easiest to use, though, are cloth napkins, which I’ve used for about 12 years now. And what better way to keep your family’s napkins separate than making your own DIY beaded napkin rings?
Why napkin rings? Well, first of all, they look really pretty on a set table. But that’s not why I use them. (I never set a fancy table, not even on holidays.)
I use them because there are four people in our family and we use our napkins more than once before each washing. But, as much as we love each other, we don’t really want to wipe our mouths with dirty napkins used to clean someone else’s mouth. So each of us has a different colored napkin holder so we can tell them apart.
You can choose your own color scheme, but I just love rainbow colors! And six colors is perfect for a set of six napkin rings!
Watch the video to learn how to make DIY beaded napkin rings or continue reading the detailed step-by-step tutorial below!
- 30 wooden beads with a 3 mm hole* per napkin ring. I used beads with an 8 cm circumference, but you can use larger ones. Just make sure that the hole isn’t smaller than 3 mm or you will have trouble threading the elastic through.
- about 50 cm (20″) of 1 mm elastic cord* per napkin ring
- craft awl* (optional, for widening partially closed holes in wooden beads)
- sharp scissors*
Most wooden beads have irregularies. They won’t be perfectly the same shape (an effect that I personally like), and frequently the hole will be slightly obstructed, as you can see above to the right.
Most of the time, all you need to do is poke through the hole with a craft awl* to open up the hole completely.
Make DIY beaded napkin rings:
1. Select 30 beads with good holes. Separate them into a pile of 20 and another of 10. Then string the 20 beads on the elastic. I suggest keeping the elastic cord on its spool to keep the beads from slipping off the other end.
Here are the 20 beads strung onto the elastic.
2. Push the beads down the elastic so that there are 25 cm (10″) of elastic at the end.
Now let’s start weaving. If the tip of your elastic gets a little frayed, snip off the end with your scissors to keep it sharp.
3. Distance the beads away from the first four, then distance the 4th from the first three. (The elastic end is at the right in picture A.)
4. Stick the end of the elastic through the 4th bead, in the direction of the first three beads. (B)
5. Pull the elastic and it will tighten into a ring. (C)
6. Push two beads towards the formed ring and put a new bead from the pile of 10 onto the end. Then slip the elastic tip through the second bead, as shown by the arrow above. (D)
Here you can see how to put the elastic through in step #6. (E)
7. Pull the elastic and it will tighten into a sort of double ring. (F)
8. Push two beads down and put a new bead from the pile of 10 onto the end. (G)
9. Then slip the elastic tip through the second bead, as shown by the arrow above. (H)
10. Pull the elastic to tighten the beads. (I)
11. Repeat steps #8-10 until you’ve used all the beads threaded on the elastic, and there are only 2 beads left in the original pile of 10. (J)
12. Slip one bead onto the elastic end. (K)
13. Stick the elastic tip through the very first bead at the other end of the napkin holder. (L)
14. Slip the last bead onto the elastic end. (M)
15. Pull the elastic tight and tie a double knot. (N)
This next part is optional, but I prefer to do it just to keep the elastic more safely tied.
16. Cut the elastic off from the spool, if it’s still attached.
17. Stick the shorter end through one adjacent bead (blue arrow) and the longer end in the other direction, through three beads (red arrows) so that they meet in another point. (O-P)
It might be hard to pass the elastic through these beads for the third time. If so, pull the beads to stretch the elastic thinner inside their holes, which will help the tip of the elastic get through. (Q)
18. Tie another double knot and trim the elastic ends. And you’re done! (R)
Now make some more! I love my rainbow of DIY beaded napkin rings!
This way every member of the family, as well as guests, can have his or her own color and will never get her napkin mixed up with anyone else’s! And it’s also a whole lot more orderly than just piling napkins in a pile.
Even if you’re just learning how to sew, go read my tutorial on how to sew easy DIY fringe cloth napkins! This is a super simple technique that’s perfect for beginners, with no folding or ironing involved!
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