Here is an idea for a diy keepsake or storage box using party napkins and decoupage. Napkin decoupage is a little tricky because the napkin usually has two layers, but the creative options are plenty because party napkins are so colorful and inexpensive, not to mention the ever changing party themes offered on the market. I used a psychedelic tie dyed party napkin with a triangle pattern layout that I think works great for showing off asymmetrical pattern designs, but you can also use a square, rectangular, or another pattern layout you would like.
(Empty) Cardboard computer/ printer paper box with lid – OR – diy storage box with lid
Spray paint – OR – Latex paint and roller
Party napkins – approximately one 20 count pkg dinner size square
Decoupage glue – I used Mod Podge matte
Sponge roller and small sponge craft brush
Rotary cutter with deckle blade – OR – scissors – OR – use “rip” method
Twine for handles
Colored ink pad
Clear wide mailing tape
Paint cardboard box:
Lightly paint a cardboard lidded storage box.
Open up dinner sized square napkins. Lay napkins in a pile on top of each other.
Update: Some napkin decoupage methods recommend pulling apart the two layers of napkins. Although I did not do this on my project, I would try separating the napkin layers and using only the printed layer if I did another napkin decoupage project. And it might actually be easier to separate the layers after cutting them into smaller sections. Of course that would depend on the napkin pattern, but that’s just an idea.
For rotary cutter:
If you are using a rotary cutter you can cut several layers of napkin at one time.
- Rotary cut napkin sheets into four squares
- Rotary cut each square down the middle triangularly.
If you are using scissors you may be able to cut several layers at once.
- Cut napkin sheets into four squares
- Cut each square down the middle triangularly.
For “Rip” method:
The rip method is simply ripping the napkins rather than cutting. For the rip method, lay a straight edge or ruler along the line you want to rip, hold ruler down and rip sheet upward. Try doing several layers at one time if you can.
- Rip napkin sheets into four squares
- Rip each square down the middle triangularly
Napkin decoupage is different from paper decoupage because napkins usually have 2 layers of paper. When you decoupage with napkins you typically need to do it in a “Three step” process.
In step 1 – you will lay the napkin piece down onto a layer of decoupage and then let the decoupage dry.
In step 2 – you will apply a layer of decoupage over the top layer of the napkin.
In step 3 – you will gently rub top napkin layer with damp fingers to smooth in all of the decoupage glue.
Step 1 – Lay down napkin layer:
- Using a sponge craft brush or sponge roller, apply decoupage to painted cardboard box in small sections and start laying down triangle napkin pieces lining each piece up to the next piece, but making sure to slightly overlap the pieces. I started on the inside of the box lid and worked my way outward and then upward. Continue up the sides of the lid, laying the pieces up and over the inner side and onto the outer side of the lid.
- Once the inside is covered, flip the lid and begin laying pieces up the outer sides of the lid, working toward the top of the lid.
- Continue to lay pieces down until fully covered. Let dry.
- REPEAT same process for the bottom part of the box.
Important: Make sure NOT to apply decoupage over the top of the napkin layer at this time. Let the under layer of decoupage glue dry before you apply decoupage to the top layer of napkins.
Step 2 and 3 –Apply decoupage and rub in
- Apply decoupage glue to the entire piece in sections.
- Dampen your fingers with water and GENTLY rub over each section, pressing down and smoothing the decoupage glue into the layer of napkin (do this while glue is still wet). A sponge roller works best, especially for larger applications.
Tip: If there are any spots that are missing napkin coverage, cut a very small triangle and apply it to missing section. Rub gently to smooth into the rest of the napkin layer.
- Let entire piece dry overnight
- Apply 2 more coats of decoupage glue, allowing dry time in between.
- Once completely dry, apply a coat of sealer.
To keep lid from sticking to bottom part of box, line the top rim of the bottom box with clear mailing tape, laying half of tape on outside of box and folding the other half of tape onto the inside of the box.
- To make twine handles, cut pieces two of twine about 8-10 inches long. To color twine, rub colored ink pad over twine.
- To make holes in box for handles, mark the sides of your box with a pencil or small pieces of duck tape. (I measure up about 5 inches and about 2-1/2” apart.
- Use a tool such as an awl, scissors, or needle nose pliers to poke a hole in the box.
- If needed, use a tool such as a pencil, large screw driver, or knife sharpener to enlarge holes.
Napkin decoupage is a unique way to decorate with decoupage.
Once applied to a cardboard, it creates a fairly heavy duty storage or keepsake box that will last for quite some time to come.