Painted Linen NapkinsBrush Painting 101

The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and there is definitely reason to feel excited. Spring is in full bloom and we are incorporating more and more bright colors into our projects and decor! If you want to mix things up, making a set of brush painted linen napkins could be just the DIY you need to fill up your creative soul this weekend. It is a fairly quick project and it is a lovely opportunity to play around with color. Let out your inner Picasso! 

Tools & Materials

  • Scissors
  • Containers for Paint
  • Fan Paintbrush
  • White Linen (1.25 yards makes four napkins)
  • Fabric Paint  


  1. Gather the tools and materials necessary, then pre-wash your linen. 
  2. To cut a straight line through the linen, locate a thread on the edge and pull it out of the fabric.
  3. Use the gap left by pulling out the thread as a cutting path through the linen. Repeat this process to cut four 20 x 20″ napkins. 
  4. Unravel all four edges of each napkin by about a 1/2 inch.
  5. Iron napkin, spread out on covered work surface, and mix containers of diluted paint. 
  6. Using a fan brush, gently brush varying paint colors in an upward motion. 
  7. Continue brushing paint onto your linens. Dilute the paint a bit more for more watery dyed areas.
  8. Cover your napkin with layers of irregular stripes and allow to dry before setting fabric paint with an iron. 


You should be able to find a good selection of fabric paint at your local art supply store. We specifically used Pebeo Setacolor brand of transparent fabric paint in Emerald Green, Turquoise and Moss Green. In step 4, we give instructions on how to make a frayed edge to your napkins, but this is optional depending on the look you are going for. To create more of a watercolor or tie dye appearance, you will want to generously dilute your paint – we made approximately a 50/50 mixture. Feel free to test out your brush strokes and paint mixtures on a scrap piece of fabric before painting on your linen. It might be fun to play around with different patterns and techniques! Make a set of painted linen napkins for your spring and summer dinner parties, or you can use this same tutorial to customize some DIY tea towels.  

Get Inspired

Stay tuned for a tutorial on those simple wooden bead napkin rings that you can pair with these painted napkins. Browse through all of our DIY home decor projects, or get dinner party ready with our tips on styling a fresh greenery table runner. We would love to see your take on this fabric painting technique, so share your photos with us on Instagram using #DIYDreamingWithLia. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for daily doses of pretty in your feed, or take a look at our membership page to join our creative community. See you there! ~ Lia & Team 

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