Make Holiday-Ready Leaf Print Napkins

Spruce up your plain napkins with leaves from your yard.

Our dinner guests are always surprised that we use cloth napkins in our house. It's not because we like to be formal or fancy, it's just that after years of collecting the napkins, we've accumulated a sizable collection. Sometimes a plain white napkin just won't do for a nice, holiday dinner. Here's an easy way to add seasonal flair to any of your linens without having to buy a new set for the holidays.

plate with pumpkin, leaf print napkin, and utencils

Leaf Print Napkins

Use the leaves in you yard to decorate your table linens.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe


fabric ink, brayer, napkins, craft brush and leaves

Leaf Print Napkin Supplies

Supplies needed for leaf printing include fabric ink, brayer, napkins, craft brush and leaves.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

  • fabric ink
  • brayer
  • napkins (prewashed and pressed)
  • leaves (pick ones that are not too dry or brittle)
  • newsprint
  • plate for ink (not shown)
  • iron (not shown)

Position the Leaves

leaves on napkins

Position Leaves on Napkins

Positon the leaves on the napkins before you apply the fabric ink.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Start by positioning the leaves onto the napkins where you are thinking about putting them. This will give you a visual sense of what the napkins will look like before you apply the ink.

Appy the Ink

brush painting red ink onto leaf

Paint the Back Side of the Leaf

Add a generous amount of fabric ink to the backside of the leaf.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Apply a generous amount of the ink onto the back side of the leaves (where the veins are more prominent).  Apply the ink gently so the leaf will not tear.

Place the Leaf

leaf on napkin

Lay Leaf on Napkin

Lay the leaf on the napkin, ink side down.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Place the leaf ink side down onto the napkin.


hand holding a brayer

Run Brayer Over the Leaf

Run a brayer firmly over the leaf.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Lay a sheet of newsprint over the leaf and roll the brayer (or glass) to firmly, but gently over the leaf. Remove the new print and gently lift the leaf by the stem to reveal the print. Repeat if you want more than one print.

Set the Ink

ironing linen

Iron to Set Ink on Leaf Print Napkin

Use a dry iron to heat set the ink onto the napkin.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Let the ink dry overnight. Use a hot, dry iron to heat set the ink. Depending on the type of ink or paint you use, you may have to wait a few days for the ink to set before you wash the linen. Be sure to read the instructions on the back of the ink/paint.

Napkins with leaves printed on them

Festive Fall Leaf Print Napkins

Leaf print napkins are a fun way to add a festive touch to plain napkins.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

There's so many ways to use this technique to customize your linens for any occasion.

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