Decor Tips / DIY Projects

Green Decorating Tip: Make your own eco-chic napkins


I have to thank for this one and for the photo shown above. This is a simple DIY project that can give your old shirts new life. It is also a reminder that we don’t have to buy green to go green. The ultimate idea is to reduce consumption, either directly, by reusing your own items, or indirectly, bu buying products from manufacturers who reduce consumption on their end.

Now, onto the project:

Many of us have old cotton button-down shirts that we don’t like anymore, that have gotten too small, are outdated or that we want to get rid of for one reason or another. Instead of tossing them in the trash or giving them away, bring them back to life at the dinner table or the sink. Turn them into cloth napkins or dishcloths and reduce your need for paper napkins or disposable dishcloths. Cotton T-shirts also work well as dish cloths or cleaning cloths.

  • Step 1: Wash the shirts well and cut the fabric into uniformly sized pieces, about 12 inches square.
  • Step 2: Leave the edges frayed for an organic look or sew or iron in a hem for a cleaner look
  • Step 3: If you really like that clean look, give them a quick iron and voila! Brand new napkins!

Cost: Zero, zip, zilch, nada (especially if you wash the shirts by hand instead of in the washing machine)

If you have a shirt that you particularly love, you will get to enjoy the nostalgia of using it at the dinner table. Have fun with this one, and feel free to submit pics of your handmade napkins in the comments. I will post some of the best photos in the coming weeks.

About Author

I am a graphic designer by trade who has a strong passion for interior design and doing what we can to protect the environment. This blog and my other site, Green & Gorgeous, are my ways of giving back to the Earth.

1 Comment

  • Nikki
    August 11, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    Great idea- there are always lots of men’s shirts at Thrift stores – make sure you wash them first, so you’ll know the fabric is pre-shrunk and washable!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.