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How to Print with Leaves on Cloth Napkins

by Jean Van't Hul
November 15, 2023

Learn how to print with leaves to make beautiful cloth napkins. They are the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table, or can be given as a holiday gift! This lovely and simple project comes from the Artful Year book.

Updated October 2023

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Enjoy the beauty of nature at the dinner table with these leaf-print napkins. These make a lovely gift for someone special and can also be used during the holidays to add a beautiful touch to any table setting.

This leaf-print activity comes from Jean’s book, The Artful Year: Celebrating the Seasons & Holidays with Crafts & Recipes.

leaf printed napkins pinterest
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

How to Print with Leaves


  • Newspaper or an art mat and scrap paper
  • Spoon
  • Fabric Paint
  • Large plate or acrylic box frame, for rolling out the ink
  • Mini paint roller
  • Leaves and ferns
  • Plain white or light-colored cloth napkins, or make your own
  • Brayer (hard rubber roller) or rolling pin
  • Iron
  • Ironing board


  1. Prep your work surface

    Prepare for leaf printing by protecting your work surface with newspaper or an art mat. Gather all of your materials.

  2. Roll your paint

    Put a couple of spoonfuls of fabric paint on the plate. Roll it around with the paint roller to coat the roller thinly.

  3. Paint your leaf

    Place a leaf, vein side up, on a sheet of newspaper or scrap paper. Roll the paint roller over the leaf to coat it evenly.

  4. Make the print

    Set the leaf, paint side down, on the napkin where you want the print. Set a clean piece of paper over the leaf.

    Roll the brayer over the paper-covered leaf to press it down evenly. Carefully lift up the paper and leaf to reveal your print.

    leaf print on napkin

  5. Repeat!

    Continue with the rest of your napkins.

    different leaf printed napkins (1)

  6. Let Dry

    Let the napkins dry overnight, and then iron them, following the instructions on the fabric paint bottle to set the paint. leaf napkin on sewing machine

leaf printed napkins (1)
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

More Thanksgiving Activities for Kids

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From The Artful Year, by Jean Van’t Hul, © 2015 by Jean Van’t Hul. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boulder, CO.

How to Print with Leaves on Cloth NapkinsHow to Print with Leaves on Cloth Napkins

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