We have a fun and simple DIY wedding project for you today! This project involves something that everyone will see, use and appreciate – dip-dyed napkins! Sometimes napkins are the last thing on your mind in terms of wedding details. However, when you see how easy these DIY napkins are, you won’t forget to have them at your wedding reception, bridal shower or rehearsal dinner. They are so simple, yet are a huge hit! And, the best part is that they can be done way ahead of time – no sleepless nights needed! Do you remember this fashion inspired wedding details feature using paint from Elizabeth at Elizabeth Duncan Events?? She is back with photography from Sweet Tea Photography to show us how she made the napkins and guide us through the process. Take it away, Elizabeth…


What You’ll Need:

– Napkins or fabric of your choice
– Fabric dye (like Rit)
– Large bowls or buckets for dye bath
– Gloves
– Smock
– Water
– Salt, depending on the dye
– Drying rack


How To:

Select and pre-wash the napkins or fabric of you choice. White fabric will give you the best contrast. (Dye works best on natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk.) Be sure to buy extra fabric and extra dye if you are doing a large project (over 50 napkins or multiple linens). For this project, we used Rit fabric dye in teal, fuchsia and purple. Wear gloves and a smock, and work in an area with easy clean up. Remember, this is permanent dye!

Prepare dye according to package directions for large quantities of napkins or other fabric.

Since we were dyeing a smaller quantity, we used about 1/2 of the dye packet in 2 cups of water and a couple shakes of salt for the pink and purple to get concentrated colors. For the teal napkins, we used 1/8 of the packet and 2 cups of water for a more diluted color. As with any color mixing, it’s always better to start with smaller/lighter concentrations and add dye then to try to dilute down.

Immerse the fabric in boiling water. Squeeze out excess water. We folded the fabric into thirds vertically.

Dip the length of the fabric about halfway or 2/3 (depending on how much white vs. color fabric you prefer) into the prepared dye bath and remove from the dye immediately. Remember there will be some dye bleeding up, but don’t worry, it’s good and you want it to be like that!


Dip again, only immersing the fabric 2/3 of the way to the original dye line. Hold for 15 seconds and remove. For deeper color concentration repeat.

Dip again, only immersing the fabric 1/3 of the way to the original dye line. Hold for 30 seconds and remove. For deeper color concentration, repeat.

Dip the bottom inch or so of the fabric into the dye. Hold for 1 minute and remove. For deeper color concentration, repeat.

Rinse dyed fabric thoroughly in warm water that you progressively make colder, being careful to keep the water flow running down from white fabric to color so that the white stays white. When water runs clear, squeeze excess water and set aside while you do the other pieces. A vertical laundry rack in the tub worked well for us to line the napkins up and drip while we finished dyeing the others.

Once complete, wash like colored fabrics in the washing machine with mild detergent and line dry or air dry depending on fabric type. We used a cotton fabric, so we put it in the dryer. Iron as needed.

The great thing about using color is that a little bit goes a long way in terms of impact!


All photos courtesy of Sweet Tea Photography


So quick and easy right?! I love beautiful, bright colors and these napkins are just the perfect pop of color! Where will you be using your dip-dyed napkins? Don’t forget to check out all of our other wedding DIY ideas! Thank you so much Elizabeth for this great project. Be sure to check out her event planning company, Elizabeth Duncan Events.

Are you looking for more local wedding ideas? Be sure to look through our DC area wedding idea galleries and find wedding advice from local DC area pros. If that isn’t enough, check out our collection of local DMV weddings from the real world and the best DC area wedding vendors who make it all happen. You can also share your wedding announcement with the world!

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