Teaching kids table manners can be frustrating for us parents. For kids, it can be downright boring. The trick? Get kids involved and give them a sense of ownership to make lessons easier for everyone. You can start with these super cute napkins kids can make themselves. They’d even make Miss Emily Post smile. Reservedly, of course.

Materials You’ll Need:

masking tape
fabric paint (we used Martha Stewart all purpose craft paint)
sponge paint brush
brown paper or newsprint
muslin or store bought fabric napkins


If you’d like to make the napkins yourself, start at step 1. If you’re using purchased napkins, skip to step 3.

The Art of Etiquette - DIY Napkins - (cool) progeny

Step 1
Cut a strip of laundered muslin roughly 12 inches by 12 inches. It’s okay if it’s not a perfect square.

Step 2
Sew a single stitch 1/2 inch in all from the outside edge all the way around the fabric.

Step 3
Place napkin on paper or newsprint. Tear off strips of masking tape longer than the napkin and make a grid on the napkin. Apply pressure to the tape to make sure it’s adhered to the fabric.

Step 4
Apply paint. We found it’s best to dab not brush. Once all the squares are filled in, let it dry.

Step 5
Remove tape.

Step 6
Admire your work!

Ways to adjust the project for younger kids!

  • Younger children can draw directly onto napkins with fabric crayons or markers.
  • Use a pencil eraser dipped in paint to create a confetti effect.
  • Make it a family project. Give each family member a napkin they can personalize themselves.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Cooper