Sweet Laurel | Stars & Stripes Napkins

Stars & Stripes Napkins

Stars & Stripes Forever

Photos + Instructions contributed by Sweet Laurel

These summery linen napkins will look at home on your table all throughout the warmer months–seriously, is there anything that says ‘SUMMER!’ more than casual, soft-to-the-touch natural linen?–but with their subtly patriotic theme we think they’re perfect for the Fourth of July. These ‘Stars & Stripes Napkins,’ a modern, tie-dye-inspired take on the flag are perfectly on trend and add a touch of color & texture to your table. Best of all, you can make these in a few simple steps, using materials you probably already have at home in a cupboard. Laurel Morley of Sweet Laurel walks you through this DIY project that can be completed in under an hour, just in time for a relaxed summertime picnic.


Sweet Laurel | Stars & Stripes NapkinsPhoto c/o Sweet Laurel


  • 100% linen napkins*
  • Bleach
  • Cotton string (like the napkins, make sure this is 100% natural)
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Small paintbrush
  • Small bowl
  • Newspaper or poster board
  • Paper towels
  • Hydrogen peroxide

*Purchase at a home store or stitch up a set of them yourself, but make sure to check that fiber content, it’s very important that they are 100% natural linen, cotton or rayon. Bleach will not affect synthetic fabric.

Note: Bleach is a fairly common household item, but that doesn’t mean you should be casual about safety. Make sure to work on this project in a well-ventilated area, and be careful not to splash it on your skin, or it could become irritated. If you have sensitive skin, it may be a good idea to wear gloves during this DIY. Happy & safe crafting! 

Sweet Laurel | Stars & Stripes NapkinsPhoto c/o Sweet Laurel
  1. Lay out newspaper or poster board to protect your work surface, then a layer of absorbent paper towels to blot any extra bleach. Spread out the first napkin on the layer of paper towels. Pour a small amount of bleach into a bowl, have this and your small paintbrush ready.
  2. Pinch & wrap small sections of napkin with string to form cones; do two staggered rows of these. Lay out masking tape in regularly-spaced vertical stripes on the remainder of the napkin.
  3. Dip brush into bleach, paint in stripes. Use brush to dab bleach onto the wrapped cone sections. Try to vary the amount of pressure on the brush in places, and don’t paint all the way up to the edges of the tape. Your bleached areas should look as organic as possible, so try to leave them a little “brushy” and irregular! Let some small drips & splatters happen here and there, as well.Sweet Laurel | Stars & Stripes Napkins
  4. Set aside napkin and allow bleach to develop for 30 minutes. Repeat with remaining napkins, if making a set.
  5. Once the stripes are fully lightened, remove masking tape and cut away string to reveal beautiful, ‘starburst’     shapes. Rinse napkins quickly under running water to wash away most of the bleach.Sweet Laurel | Stars & Stripes Napkins
  6. Bleach can sit sneakily on fabric and continue to eat away at it if you’re not careful, so it’s important to properly neutralize it after rinsing to make sure the process stops. Hydrogen peroxide, another common household item, is perfect for this. Fill a bowl or sink with lukewarm water and add hydrogen peroxide (10 parts water to 1 part hydrogen peroxide is the ratio you want; for 1 gallon of water, this would mean 1 1/2 cups hydrogen peroxide), add napkins and let soak an additional ten minutes. Rinse again and hang up napkins to dry.
  7. Celebrate  in style with your new, customized set of linen napkins! They’re sure to be the “star” of any casual summer gathering.
Sweet Laurel | Stars & Stripes NapkinsPhoto c/o Sweet Laurel


Phoenix, AZ

Laurel Morley is a writer, photographer and recipe developer currently living in Phoenix, AZ. At her blog, Sweet Laurel, she explores a passionate quest to understand the intersection of experience and food, finds beauty in the mundane, and loves all things fresh, local and seasonal.

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