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DIY Lemon Printed Cloth Napkins

Creating your own lemon printed cloth napkins is a fun and easy DIY project that adds a burst of sunshine to your home. Perfect for summertime! I love how adding a simple stamp to a plain cloth napkin can instantly give it more life and add a little fun into a season or holiday. In this blog post, I will guide you through the step-by-step process of making your own lemon printed cloth napkins.

Materials Needed

To get started, gather the following supplies:

plain cotton napkins: pre-washed to remove any sizing and ensure the paint adheres properly. (I made my own following this blog post on how to make cloth napkins with mitered corners.)

acrylic paint: yellow for lemons, other colors if you want to add accents or do another fruit

fabric medium: this makes any acrylic paint into a fabric paint. I used GAC900 from Dick Blick

paintbrush or sponge: for applying paint.

lemon and a small kitchen knife

scrap paper, newspaper, or a cardboard box: to place under the napkins and prevent paint from bleeding through

Iron and ironing board: for setting the paint

How to Make Lemon Printed Cloth Napkins

1. Prepare Your Workspace:

   – Lay down some newspaper, scrap paper, cardboard box, or a drop cloth to protect your work surface from any paint spills or if the paint bleeds through your napkin.

2. Create Your Lemon Stamps:

   – Cut a lemon in half and carefully with a sharp knife cut out the inside segments or flesh, but leave the membranes. Pat it dry with a paper towel. (I found that if you simply stamp the whole lemon it looks like a speckled circle and not necessarily a lemon.)

   – You could also carve a lemon stamp or use pre-made acrylic stamps.

3. Apply the Paint:

   – Pour a small amount of yellow paint onto a paper plate or lid of a jar. Mix in an equal amount of fabric medium. (Fabric medium changes any acrylic paint into a fabric paint. I love how this means I don’t have to invest in two separate sets of paint.) Use a sponge or paintbrush to apply a thin, even layer of paint to the lemon stamp.

– Practice printing with the lemon stamp on a sheet of scrap paper first. You will want to ensure that you like the look of the stamp and see if you need to carve away any more part of the lemon. To achieve the best stamp, carefully place it down and apply even pressure, lift it up with as little movement as possible to avoid smudging.

   – When you feel confident you like the stamp and know the technique, carefully press the painted lemon stamp onto the napkin.

4. Repeat and Create a Pattern:

   – Continue stamping the lemon design across the napkin, creating a pattern or random arrangement as desired. Reapply paint to the stamp as needed to maintain consistent prints. (I reapplied every stamp just to be safe)

   – You can also use green fabric paint to add leaves or stems to the lemons, either by painting them freehand or using a separate leaf-shaped stamp.

5. Add Details and Accents:

   – Once you have your base lemon prints, you can add extra details to enhance the design. Use a small paintbrush to add highlights, shadows, or even tiny lemon seeds.

6. Set the Paint:

   – Allow the fabric paint to dry completely. Follow the instructions on your fabric paint for the recommended drying time, usually around 24 hours.

   – Once dry, set the paint by placing a clean cloth over the painted areas and pressing with a hot iron. This step is crucial to ensure the design is permanent and washable. (See the bottle of your fabric medium for more precise instructions.)

7. Finishing Touches:

   – After setting the paint, your lemon-printed napkins are ready to use. Wash them according to the fabric paint instructions, typically in cold water on a gentle cycle.

   – Your handmade napkins are now a cheerful addition to your kitchen or a lovely handmade gift for friends and family.

When to Use These Lemon Printed Napkins

Creating lemon-printed napkins is a fun and satisfying project that brightens up any kitchen. I love the idea of putting these out during a summer cookout, hosting a summertime brunch with girl friends, or if they are a part of the tablescape for a summer solstice party.

I love cloth napkins and I find they are such a practical, eco friendly, and fun way to celebrate the different seasons. (Also a great way to use up fabric scraps!)

For my next set of napkins I’m considering making bold grapefruit or orange printed napkins for winter, or maybe carving a stamp and making a flower or fun shape to make an all seasons fun cloth napkin. Happy crafting!

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